What a week in the playoffs. Upsets and game sevens – it doesn’t get much more exciting than this! In this week’s Learn from the Pros segment, we take a look at a goal by Montreal’s Mike Cammalleri. Cammalleri’s goal helped hoist the Canadian’s past the Penguins in their seven game series.
[0:27] Penguin’s #58 Kris Letang mishandles the puck skating out of the zone. Montreal’s #46 Andrei Kostitsyn steps up on the play and chips the puck forward.
[0:30] Kostitsysn’s step up creates a quick odd-man rush against the Penguins. Quick transitions from defense to offense can be some of the most difficult to defend. This is why you hear high-level coaches like Mike Eaves preach about having a quick transition game. These quick transitions exploit the time it takes for an offensive player to “switch gears” to a defensive mindset and position – often creating lucrative scoring opportunities. By changing directions on the play quickly, defensemen are often caught unable to set a proper gap – leaving even more space for offensive creativity.
Kostitsyn makes a quick pass to Montreal’s #14 Tomas Plekanec – but here is where the play gets interesting. Instead of passing and driving to the net, Kostitsyn immediately opens his body to face the puck. By opening his body, he not only puts himself into a powerful shooting position, but he non-verbally tells Plekanec he wants the puck back. The simple quick passes force the Pittsburgh goalie to move from side-to-side staying square to the puck and never get completely set in his stance.
[0:31] This freeze-frame of Kostitsyn’s shot shows some awesome technique to bury the one-timer. You can see how low he gets in his stance (look at the back leg almost all the way to the ice). This allows his stick to get maximum flex and helps him get a lot of power on the shot. Looking at his front foot, it is facing the net. This subtlety helps direct the energy of his motion and follow-through directly toward the net – maximizing the efficiency of the shot.
It is also important to note here that Plekanec continues to drive to the net until he is sure the puck has gone in. He didn’t stop and admire his pass, he kept going to the net in case a rebound came out to him.