The St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks drop the puck on Game 1 of the Western Conference Final Saturday night. The series features a lot of interesting match-ups, including the playoff leaders in deflection goals, Tomas Hertl and Jaden Schwartz. Hertl is tied with teammate Logan Couture for the playoff lead in total goals with 9, while Schwartz ranks 3rd with 8 and perfectly placed deflections have played a big part in the offense each player has created.
Both players have scored lot of goals and lots of deflection goals but that’s where the similarities end. Below, are animations that show where each player has scored their deflection goals. The blue-to-white line is the shot that was deflected, the white to red line is the deflection that found the back of the net. With Hertl, all 3 of his deflection goals came off point shots with a mix of high-slot and net-front tips.
As for Schwartz, all 4 of his deflection goals have come off shots from the right side in the offensive zone – 3 from the point and that clutch, late 3rd period game-winner against the Jets from the right corner.
So, when the puck drops Saturday night, keep an eye on these two players as they look for find soft spots in coverage in front of the net. A well placed deflected shot may end up being a turning point in the game.
(Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)