FanPost

How Ilya Kovalchuk Scored Goals: 2007 - Present

Editor's Note: User dr(d)evil went through the junk yard of watching Ilya Kovalchuk goals to get to the street of conclusions on how Kovalchuk has scored in recent seasons.  From there, dr(d)evil has a basis to suggest what the Devils should do with Kovalchuk on offense.  To reward the diligence in the research and a reasoned conclusion, it's now on the front page. I hope he/she doesn't mind I clarified the title.  Now go read it.

I reviewed all of Ilya Kovalchuk's goal video highlights on NHL.com.  These are my results:

(A1 = Kovy's team ahead by one, B2 = behind by two, T = tie score when goal is scored (hence, a go-ahead goal).  Poss = Kovy's team had possession in the offensive zone and was set up to some degree.  Rush = possession originated in the defensive zone and the team was not fully set up in the offensive zone.  TO = possession originated off a turnover in the neutral zone and was followed by a goal off a counterattacking rush up the ice.)

Date

Opp.

Period

Score

Rush/ Poss/TO

Position

Situation

One-timer?

11/12/10

Edm

OT

T

Poss

L FO dot

PP, OT

Y

10/24/10

NYR

3

B2

TO

In front

ES

Y

10/15/10

Col

3

B2

Rush

L FO dot

ES

N

10/13/10

Buf

OT

T

Rush

R FO dot

ES, OT

Y

4/20/10

Phi

1

T

Poss

R hash

PP

N

4/16/10

Phi

3

A1

Rush

NZ

EN

N

4/10/10

NYI

3

A5

Poss

In front

ES

N

4/2/10

Chi

1

T

Poss

Btwn hashes

ES

Y

3/28/10

Phi

3

B4

Poss

High slot

ES

Y

3/25/10

NYR

1

T

Rush

In front

ES

N

3/23/10

CBJ

2

B1

Poss

R FO dot

PP

N

3/13/10

NYI

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/12/10

Pit

3

B1

Poss

Near blue line

ES

Y

3/5/10

Cgy

3

B3

Rush

Top L circle

ES

N

3/2/10

SJ

2

B2

Poss

Near blue line

PP

N

2/12/10

Nsh

3

T

Poss

High slot

ES

N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/28/10

Phi

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/19/10

Tor

2

B2

Poss

L point

PP

Y

1/19/10

Tor

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/16/10

Car

3

T

Rush

Top L circle

ES

N

1/14/10

Buf

2

B1

Poss

L FO dot

PP

N

1/12/10

Ott

1

B1

Rush

R circle

ES

N

1/2/10

NYI

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/1/10

Buf

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/28/09

NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/26/09

TB

3

B2

Rush

High slot

ES

N

12/23/19

Bos

3

B2

Rush

R hash

ES

N

12/21/09

Mtl

1

T

Rush

In front

ES

N

12/17/09

Dal

1

B1

Poss

L point

ES

Y

12/16/09

FL

2

B3

Poss

L circle outside dot

ES

Y

12/14/09

NYR

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/12/09

Mtl

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/5/09

FL

3

B1

Poss

L hash

ES

Y

11/30/09

FL

1

T

Rush

In front

ES

N

11/27/09

Car

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/19/09

Bos

2

B1

Poss

Near blue line

PP

Y

11/13/10

LA

2

A1

Rush

In front

ES

N

11/13/10

LA

3

A4

Poss

L point

ES

Y

11/12/09

NYR

2

T

Poss

L FO dot

PP

N

10/22/09

Wsh

1

 

Rush

Btwn hashes

ES

N

10/22/09

Wsh

3

B2

Poss

L point

PP

Y

10/17/09

Buf

1

T

Poss

Btwn hashes

PP

N

10/17/09

Buf

1

A1

Poss

In front

ES

Y

10/8/10

Stl

1

T

Poss

L FO dot

PP

N

10/8/10

Stl

3

A1

TO

L FO dot

EN

N

10/3/10

TB

1

T

Rush

Bottom L circle

ES

N

4/11/09

TB

2

A1

Rush

L hash

ES

Y

4/5/09

Wsh

2

T

Rush

R hash

ES

N

4/1/09

Buf

OT

T

Rush

In front

ES

N

3/26/09

NYR

2

B3

Rush

In front

ES

N

3/24/09

Mtl

2

B1

Poss

L FO dot

PP

N

3/21/09

TB

2

T

Rush

Top R circle

PP

N

3/8/09

Cgy

3

A1

Rush

R circle outside dot

ES

N

2/28/09

Car

2

B2

Rush

Top L circle

ES

N

2/28/09

Car

3

A1

Rush

L hash

EN

N

2/26/09

Wsh

1

B2

Poss

Bottom L circle

PP

Y

2/24/09

Col

1

A1

Poss

Top L circle

ES

N

2/19/09

Phx

3

B1

Poss

In front

ES

Y

2/16/09

LA

1

A1

Poss

High slot

PP

Y

2/16/09

LA

3

A2

Rush

Top L circle

ES

N

2/15/09

Ana

2

A1

Poss

High slot

PP

Y

2/15/09

Ana

2

A3

Rush

High slot

ES

Y

2/15/09

Ana

2

A4

Rush

Top L circle

ES

N

2/11/09

Chi

2

B1

Rush

High slot

ES

N

2/10/09

TB

3

A1

Rush

Btwn hashes

EN

N

2/8/09

Phi

3

B3

Poss

High slot

PP

Y

1/29/09

NYI

3

B2

Poss

Btwn hashes

ES

N

1/21/09

Phi

3

B2

Rush

R FO dot

ES

N

1/17/09

Nsh

1

A2

Rush

Btwn hashes

ES

N

1/16/09

Tor

2

 

Rush

Top L circle

ES

N

1/16/09

Tor

3

 

Rush

Behind net

ES

N

1/10/09

FL

3

B4

Poss

High slot

ES

N

1/6/09

Pit

3

B3

Poss

Near blue line

PP

N

12/31/08

Car

1

T

Poss

L FO dot

PP

N

12/12/08

Bos

3

B4

TO

In front

ES

N

12/10/08

NYR

3

B1

Poss

In front

ES

Y

11/28/08

Nsh

3

B1

Poss

Bottom L circle

ES

Y

11/25/08

Tor

2

A2

Poss

R FO dot

PP

N

10/25/08

Bos

2

T

Poss

R FO dot

ES

N

10/18/08

Buf

1

T

Rush

In front

ES

N

10/14/08

Min

2

B1

Rush

In front

ES

Y

3/18/08

Phi

3

B2

Poss

L hash

ES

N

3/16/08

FL

2

B2

Rush

In front

ES

Y

3/13/08

Cgy

2

 

Poss

L point

PP

Y

3/13/08

Cgy

2

 

Rush

In front

ES

Y

3/13/08

Cgy

3

 

Rush

Btwn hashes

EN

N

3/8/08

FL

1

A1

Poss

L point

PP

Y

3/7/08

Min

3

B1

Poss

L goal line

ES

N

3/5/08

Car

3

B3

Poss

In front

ES

N

3/1/08

Bos

1

 

Rush

L hash

PS

N

2/26/08

Mtl

2

B1

Poss

Top L circle

PP

N

2/15/08

NJ

2

B2

Rush

Btwn hashes

ES

N

2/5/08

Phi

2

B1

Rush

In front

ES

N

1/30/08

Pit

1

A1

Poss

L point

PP

Y

1/12/08

Pit

1

B1

Poss

L point

PP

Y

1/10/08

FL

3

T

Poss

In front

ES

N

1/8/08

Phi

1

T

Rush

R hash

ES

N

1/6/08

Buf

3

A2

Rush

Top L circle

EN

N

1/2/08

Car

1

T

Rush

L hash

ES

N

12/29/07

Bos

2

A3

Poss

L point

PP

Y

12/27/07

FL

3

B2

Poss

Bottom L circle

ES

N

12/27/07

FL

3

B2

Rush

R hash

SH

N

12/23/07

Stl

2

B1

Poss

L point

PP

Y

12/20/07

Ott

2

B1

Poss

In front

ES

N

12/18/07

TB

3

A3

Rush

Btwn hashes

ES

N

12/15/07

Ott

1

B2

Rush

L hash

ES

N

12/15/07

Ott

3

B3

Poss

High slot

PP

Y

12/12/07

Bos

2

T

Poss

R point

PP

Y

12/5/07

NYI

2

T

TO

Btwn hashes

ES

Y

12/2/07

NJ

3

B1

TO

High slot

ES

Y

12/1/07

NYI

1

T

Rush

L hash

ES

N

11/29/07

Tor

2

B3

Rush

Top L circle

ES

N

11/21/07

Wsh

2

B1

Rush

High slot

ES

N

11/21/07

Wsh

3

A2

Poss

Near blue line

ES

Y

11/19/07

TB

3

B1

Rush

In front

ES

Y

11/16/07

Car

3

A2

Rush

NZ

EN

N

11/9/07

FL

3

A1

Poss

Btwn hashes

PP

Y

11/6/07

Wsh

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/3/07

TB

2

B3

Rush

In front

SH

Y

11/3/07

TB

3

B1

Rush

L hash

ES

N

11/3/07

TB

3

A1

Rush

NZ

EN

N

11/1/07

Ott

3

B5

TO

L FO dot

ES

N

11/1/07

Ott

3

B3

Poss

Top R circle

PP

N

11/1/07

Ott

3

B2

Poss

Top L circle

PP

N

10/23/07

Tor

1

T

Poss

High slot

ES

N

10/20/07

TB

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/13/07

NJ

2

B1

Rush

Bottom R circle

PP

N

10/13/07

NJ

3

B1

Rush

Top L circle

ES

Y

 

 

Of the 140 goals scored by Kovalchuk in the past 3+ seasons, 129 were listed on NHL.com highlights.  I'm not sure what happened to the other 11.  Of the 129 listed, I had trouble loading the video for 11 of them, and 6 did not let me know the score of the game at the time the goal was scored.  Still, from 118 goals for which I saw the video, this is the summary statistics:

Kovy scores more late in the game: 27 in the first period, 37 in the second period, 50 in the 3rd period, and 3 in overtime.

He didn't score that many garbage-time goals, but his team has been behind a lot: 14 with his team behind by 3 or more, 18 with his team behind by 2, 6 with his team ahead by 3 or more, 6 with his team ahead by 2. 

Almost half his goals (51 out of 118) tied the game or gave his team the lead: 25 with his team behind by 1 (10 in 3rd), 26 with the score tied (6 in the 3rd/OT), and 15 with his team ahead by 1 (7 in 3rd including 4 empty netters).

He scores as much off the rush as off of puck-possession: 56 were scored after lengthy possession in the offensive zone by his team.  55 were scored off the rush, where possession originated in the defensive zone.  6 were scored off of neutral zone turnovers by the opposing team.

On the powerplay, he scored 31 goals after his team set up in the offensive zone, and just 2 off the rush.  Of those 31 scored after setting up, 17 were off of one-timers.  14 of those one-timers came as a pointman, and just 3 came from the level of the hashmarks/faceoff dot or closer to the net. 

Of the 14 powerplay goals which were not scored off a one-timer, just 5 came from the point.  The other 9 were scored around the faceoff dot or the hashmarks.  On these, he often made a deke to give himself some space or took advantage of an unusual amount of space given to him.

Of 73 goals scored at even strength which were not empty-netters, 43 were off the rush, 5 were off turnovers in the neutral zone, and 25 were after setting up in the zone.  Of the 25 after setting up in the zone, 12 goals came off one-timers.  Of the 43 scored off the rush, 8 were on one-timers, 7 were on breakaways, and most of the rest were on 2-on-1s or 3-on-2s where Kovy got the puck and either rushed it into the zone himself or got it in the zone, made a move, and then snapped a shot off.  Some of those shots came from around the top of the left circle or high slot, but more often the shot came from just above the faceoff dot or near the left hashmark.

In conclusion:

On the power play, Kovy has had a ton of success scoring from the point.  14 of his 33 PP goals came off of one-timers from the point, and 5 more came from the point without being a one-timer.  9 more goals were scored because Kovy was either given the space to walk in closer or deked around a penalty killer to give himself space.  There is no suggestion that Kovy should be anywhere but on the point on the power play.

The review also doesn't suggest that Kovy needs a fellow superstar to send passes his way in order to be successful on the PP.  Most of the primary assists on the powerplay one-timers were from guys like Todd White, Toby Enstrom, and Mark Recchi.  Hossa did not figure as prominently in Kovalchuk's powerplay goals as one might think.  What's more important is that the player on the right-wing half boards be a smart player with good vision and that there's traffic in front.  Elias would seem to fit the mold of set-up man for that situation perfectly, but I feel that the Devils are probably failing to draw the PK forward on the right side away from Kovalchuk to give him the space he needs to launch his shot.

At even strength, Kovy scores about 2/3 of his goals off the rush and just 1/3 after lengthy puck possession.  He doesn't need great linemates to feed him with great passes, but he does need players of a similar mindset who will rush up the ice with him and drive the net.  He can beat one guy, but he does not beat two often, so it's imperative that his linemates draw defensemen towards themselves.  We have often seen him pull up on the left wing boards on the rush and look for a trailer because no one is driving towards the net and he is facing two defenders at a time.  He needs his 3-man line to move up the ice as a unit.  Once he crosses the blue line, the other two drive the net and he is often given a 1-on-1 situation with a defender to create some space for himself and get a shot off from near the faceoff dots or hash marks.

I don't believe that Kovy is doing a lot differently from what he has always done.  He is launching one-timers from the point and is aggressive on the rush.  It's hard to say whether he is looking to pass more often than before, but in reviewing the goals he scored, I was surprised by how much space he had at times.  It seems that as a Devil, he has not been given the same kind of space he usually has.  I attribute that to a failure of his linemates to draw defenders to themselves to give him adequate space.  I don't think his linemates need to be fantastic passers or snipers themselves, a la Heatley, Savard, or Hossa, but his linemates do need to have an aggressive mindset, skate hard and force the defense into difficult decisions.  Kovy should have the puck on his stick on the rush, but he is most effective without it when his team sets up in the zone.  In the offensive zone, his linemates must be able to hold onto the puck, make some moves to threaten a shot, and then find him because he does a good job of finding open spots when the puck is away from him.

I think Kovy will snap out of his funk and find the form he had in Atlanta, but his teammates need to learn to utilize him better.  On the rush, they should give the puck to Kovy immediately - he rarely scores off a good pass on the rush.  In the zone, they need to hold onto the puck themselves and be more patient in looking to pass it to him.  With the impending return of Langenbrunner, I think he should play with Zubrus and Tedenby at even strength because those players are better suited to playing off the rush than the rest of the forward corps.  Unfortunately, I don't believe Zajac is the right fit as Kovalchuk's center - he is much better suited to playing in the corner.  In the long run, the Devils need to draft/develop/acquire a speedy center to play with guys like Kovalchuk and Tedenby.  A left-handed center and right-winger able to make passes across from the right side to the left-wing Kovalchuk is probably best.

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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