Malkin’s Roadblock Clears The Way For Paul-Mart

Evgeni Malkin’s been up to something all season that hasn’t really been discussed much.

With a faceoff in the offensive zone to the left of Brayden Holtby, Evgeni Malkin once again pulled off a little subtle interference play that allowed Paul Martin to get a clear shot on net that lead to a goal.

Geno steps into the winger responsible for pressing Paul Martin and taking his time and space away.

Because Geno eliminates that winger, Crosby can essentially win this faceoff to himself, dish it to Martin, and set up the goal.

Take a look at Geno in the circle there. He’s tying up his man. Crosby wins the puck to himself and follows the arrows to dish it off to a waiting Paul Martin, who wastes no time in blasting the puck on net.

Here’s the reverse angle. Geno ties his man up so Crosby can win the draw.

I also drew a little yellow circle around Chris Kunitz here just so we can appreciate the immediate path to the net he takes. One of the reasons why Brayden Holtby is so confused on this play is he had a face-full of Chris Kunitz prior to the shot being taken.

Here is the view just prior to the shot being taken. Geno still has his man tied up, Kunitz is standing right in the path of the shot.

If you look closely at Holtby, he’s forced to lean slightly to the right, just off of his angle, to see around Chris Kunitz. It’s no surprise that Paul Martin’s shot finds its way into the net on the opposite side, where Holtby left a hole from his little peek-job here.

A Non-Stretch Pass, Stretch-Pass Goal

Earlier this month we showed how the Penguins were taking their stretch pass and adding a little wrinkle to it that gave them better, faster entry into the offensive zone.

Well if you thought that one was good, wait until you get a load of this.

Beau Bennett and Evgeni Malkin combine for a fantastic breakout right in front of the Capitals who are anticipating a stretch pass.

I like to call this play the “hook and ladder.”

Matt Niskanen has the puck. He’s going to make a long, beeline pass to Evgeni Malkin across the ice.

The Capitals are running a pretty tight 1-2-2 here and there isn’t a lot of room.

The Penguins stretch pass is on tape. The Capitals are anticipating it. They will flood to Evgeni Malkin expecting him to try and burst into the zone here.

They’re wrong.

The black line is the path Bennett will take through the neutral zone.

It’s a brief stroll through the woods before he attacks with open space.

Instead of skating FORWARD with the puck, Malkin’s going to drift back and utterly confuse the Capitals.

Geno is going to pass this puck to Beau Bennett who is:

A. Coming with speed through the neutral zone.
B. Got a wide open parted red sea to skate through.
C. Coming with a head of steam against flat-footed defenseman.

The Penguins have been doing this all year. So, if you’re a Dan Bylsma detractor that really enjoys citing a “lack of adjustments” in your axe-grinding, you might wanna start looking at stuff like this.

The Penguins stretch pass is on tape. Everyone knows they do it, and they still do it when appropriate.

However, the Capitals are playing the Penguins here to prevent speed and easy zone access, and this small wrinkle starts what the Capitals were specifically trying to prevent.

Take a look at the space Beau Bennett has as he heads to the circles in the offensive zone. A good, hard wrist shot with a slight deflection later and it’s two-nil to the Penguins.

A final note, the Corsi numbers last night were heavily in the Penguins favor. If you look strictly at even strength, the Penguins launched 50 shots at the net to the Capitals mere 29. If you remove blocked shots, the numbers go even more lopsided with the Penguins registering 40 attempts at the net to the Capitals mere 16.

Check back this season for more of the FF Telestrator!