The annual Every Goal series will run Monday to Thursday through July and August, remembering every goal scored by the Canucks, player by player. Today, we take a look at Manny “Patch” Malhotra.
Odd as it may seem, Malhotra was an even more proficient, or at least efficient, goalscorer in 2011-12 than he was in 2010-11. Though he may have dropped from 11 goals down to 7, he did it with less ice time at even-strength while starting even fewer shifts in the offensive zone. He scored at a rate of 0.55 goals per 60 minutes of even-strength ice-time this season, up from 0.47 in 2010-11. Considering his role was almost purely defensive, starting only 88 of his even-strength shifts in the offensive zone all season, the fact he increased his goal rate is impressive.
It all sounds pretty good when you put it that way, but Malhotra didn’t have a particularly good season. He received less ice time because he was bumped down to the fourth line. He didn’t receive many offensive zone starts because he wasn’t particularly useful offensively. And while it’s nice to get 7 goals from a fourth liner, when that fourth liner is getting paid $2.5 million per season, you hope for more.
That said, Malhotra was still effective in his role as an enabler. No one else in the NHL came even close to his 13.2% offensive zone starts, the two closest being his linemates Dale Weise and Max Lapierre. Thanks to them, the Sedins and Burrows led the league in offensive zone starts, so at least a few of that trio’s 72 goals can be attributed to Malhotra and co.
But this isn’t about their goals. This is about Manny’s goals. Here are all 7 goals Manny Malhotra scored this season.
Dan Hamhuis gets the ball rolling on Malhotra’s first, anticipating a Ryan Wilson outlet pass up the middle and forcing a turnover. The play nearly ends second later, as Jannik Hansen makes a pass to Malhotra that would be in the back of the Avalanche net if not for a good pokecheck. But Malhotra doesn’t quit on the puck, chasing it into the corner and throwing it down the wall. Seconds later, he’s rewarded for his persistence by being cast as the toe in in a lovely tic-tac-toe. He even gets to victimizes Ryan Wilson a second time.
Malhotra victimizes another defender for his second. This time it’s Douglas Murray, who learns the hard way that being the size of a Canyonero has its drawbacks when Malhotra banks a puck off his cuboid body for the goal.
Most of the time, Malhotra is the one doing the dirty work so Kesler can score, but here the script is flipped, with Kesler fighting off a man and muscling a puck to centre and Malhotra burying the puck into an empty net.
I love Malhotra’s work on this goal. He gets a nice centring pass from Mike Duco, but the only reason he’s available to receive it is the little juke he makes when he engages with Eric Brewer in front of the Lightning goal. He fakes right, then when Brewer goes for it, Malhotra puts his stick down on the opposite side and refuses to be moved. With inside position on Brewer, he’s able to direct Duco’s pass towards the net, then even fight Brewer off for the rebound.
Here’s another instance of Malhotra outmuscling a man in front, as he gets position on Justin Falk and makes himself available for a feed from Kevin Bieksa. Like the goal preceding this one, there’s nothing much the defender can do to prevent Malhotra from getting his stick on the puck, but unlike the goal preceding this one, Malhotra only needs one crack at it, redirecting the puck into the net.
Impressive as Malhotra’s work on the last two goals may be, they’re nothing compared to this beauty. Just as he did versus the Lightning, Malhotra makes like a wide receiver, faking left then going right, streaking to the net as Maxim Lapierre carries the puck in along the far wall. Then, still in football mode, Malhotra dives out to reach Lapierre’s saucer pass, tipping it into the Leafs goal with his body fully outstretched.
Malhotra and Lapierre connect once again on Malhotra’s seventh and final goal of the season, a sick wrister from the dot that beats Jonathan Quick off the far post. I can’t for the life of me understand why Mitchell and Voynov give Malhotra and Lapierre so much room entering the zone. They back off the two like they’re goal-scorers, and then it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn’t it?Tags: Every Goal, every goal 2011-12, Manny Malhotra