This was a pretty exciting night, some upsets, some high scoring games and some games we all expected. This will be a new edition, and this does not mean “top plays” as in top goals, or passes it means the top plays as in what lead to the goal. I will break down about 3-4 games and highlight how that goal happened and the important aspect/teaching point.
Game 1: Predators vs Sharks; 5-4 Sharks won. This was a crazy game from start to finish. The Sharks opened up with three first period goals and the Predators score 4 unanswered goals after that. The one play I will be highlighting is the fourth goal for the Predators and Sharks. The 4th goal for Nashville came off the stick of Rocco Grimaldi, all he did was outwork the defense man get inside position on him and bury his chance. Hard work, desire for the puck, is all you need to be successful. Fourth goal for San Jose came off the stick of Joe Pavelski but the play started with Joe Thornton taking a hit to make a play, Burns filling in, making a questionable pass, Sharks forward staying with the puck and instead of Pavelski going hard to the net he stays in the soft area in the high slot, bangs it home.
Game 2: Canadiens vs Oilers; Oilers won 5-2. I am going to highlight two Oilers goals here and their first two, for one reason puck movement and simplicity. You probably here time and time again, do not force passes and use the perimeter, open the ice and get the defense man to open up and move. The Oilers did exactly that on their first goal. It started with a good fore check/terrible play by Canadiens defenseman. #91 for the Oilers came in hard forced a turnover, held it for a second, created space, Draisaitl popped behind the net, McDavid slid to the hash marks on the other side of the goal, Benning foot inside the blue in the middle of the ice, it was bang-bang, #91 to Draisaitl to McDavid to Benning for a goal. Simple, open the ice and create space. Goal #2 for the Oilers is my favorite, McDavid is so good at this, not forcing anything to the middle staying wide and creating offense that way. A lot of kids and players nowadays like to come down on a defenseman and go to the middle thinking they will beat him that way, all defenseman are programmed to push you wide and ride you into the boards, McDavid does exactly that, goes wide and uses his speed to blow by the hit. All young players out there, you have a slower defenseman on the ice, use your speed and go wide, just like McDavid’s play and the Oilers second goal.
Game 3: Coyotes vs Red Wings: Red Wings won 5-1. This was a game the Coyotes probably expected to win. They have been playing pretty decent hockey this season, a lot better than years past but the Red Wings scored three quick goals and it was game from there. The Red Wings first two goals will be highlighted though. The Red Wings first goal is like a dream come true watching it, it was so slick and perfect. Pass from the defenseman to the forward swinging through the neutral zone, one touch pass to the supporting forward there with him, back to the forward with speed up ice and the Red Wings Anthony Mantha, used his speed, pushed the defenseman back, Frans Neilsen, forward two pushes the defenseman back to the goal, leaving Mantha on a 1 v 1 vs a forward, all he does is keep his feet moving, shooting off his stride cross the body of the goalie. Goal #2 is a coaches dream, Red Wings on the power play, puck gets moved from the right side to the left side, shot from the point Justin Abdelkader slides right in front of the net, takes the goalies eyes away and shot beats the goalie clean. Red Wings up 2-0. Watch up until 2:00 minutes to see the highlights.