Hey… this systems stuff actually works! We talk a lot of theory here on the blog, but I also like to show what our systems look like in action from time to time, and the Leafs had a text-book execution of our Post-Up Regroup, which led to a goal by Kadri. Let’s take a look at some of the key points of the Post-Up Regroup:
1. Defensemen pick up the puck in the NZ and drag skate to open ice
2. Both wingers position themselves on the boards at the far blue line for an outlet pass
3. Center reads the puck movement, and provides middle support to whichever winger receives the pass
4. If the opposing Defenseman “bites” on the winger, he can touch pass to the center swinging through
5. Center enters the zone wide, far-side winger drives the net, close winger becomes the trailer
A few years ago, I did a quick video dissection of Joe Pavelski’s over time goal against the LA Kings. This video shows perfect execution of one of the Attack Triangle options we outline in the Coaches’ Training Course and in the Playbook. Here’s a quick summary of how it works on this play:
How the Sharks used the Attack Triangle on this Play
1. F1 drives the puck wide, while reading the gap of the strong-side defenseman
2. F2 realizes he has an inside lane to the net, and drives straight through the middle, pulling the weak-side defenseman with him, and opening up space in the high slot
3. F3 (Joe Pavelski) reads that the weak-side defenseman has been driven low, and that there will be space in the high slot, so he fills that space
4. F1 reads loose gap from the strong-side defenseman, and sees that the weak-side defenseman has been driven deep, then feathers an “area pass” to the open ice in the high slot
5. F3 walks in, picks up the pass, and snipes the game winner!
During the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, I did a video dissection of Ryan Carter’s game-winning goal against the New York Rangers. The video got quite a few hits that night, and I had a number of requests to dissect the play from the defensive point of view. People wanted to know what went wrong, and what the Rangers could have done differently to prevent the goal. So I put together a follow up video, showing how I would have beaten the 2-1-2 Forecheck the Devils were using. Since we’re ramping up for the new season, I thought it would be a good idea to brush up on beating the most commonly run forechecking system, the 2-1-2.
2-1-2 Stack vs Spread
There are two types of 2-1-2 set-ups; the “stack,” where the first two players enter the zone on the same side of the ice, the first player hits and pins, the second player takes the puck (this is the set-up the Devils use in this clip). In the “spread,” the first player attacks the puck carrier, and the second player eliminates the D to D pass.
How to Beat the 2-1-2
The first step to beating the 2-1-2 is for the puck-side defenseman to determine whether the opponent is using a stack or a spread. If he reads stack, he MUST get the puck to his weak-side partner, no matter what it takes! That’s where the open ice is, and that’s where the highest likelihood of a successful breakout lies. If he reads spread, he’ll need to beat his strong-side attacker, either with a misdirection or a reverse pass to the centerman, then break out the strong side.
What went Wrong?
In this clip, you’ll see the Rangers defenseman was more worried about jockeying with the Devils’ first man in, than he was about getting the puck to the weak side. Because of this, he ended up with poor body positioning, and got bombarded by the Devils’ aggressive forecheck. The 2-1-2 worked out in text-book fashion for the Devils, first man hit and pinned, second man picked up the puck and hit the third man coming into the slot for the game-winning goal.