Performance Skating Playbook | LAK vs. COL (September 2019)

Welcome to our new Apex Skating digital series, Performance Skating Playbook, where we analyze the tactical in-game movements used by today's NHL players and tomorrow's future pros.

Today we have a great goal by Aidan Dudas with the LA Kings versus the Colorado Avalanche during the Irvine pre-season rookie tournament. Beginning 5v5, the defense executes a quick read to the left side of the ice followed by a quick look-off. Then going back to the strong side where there is less D coverage, it gives Dudas more time to get into a better scoring position and get a solid shot off which results in a goal.

An alternate play is to shoot the puck at the top of the umbrella (a riskier tactic because the D has to try and thread the puck through traffic). It is a good option if the defensive coverage is up higher in the zone. Use your edgework to create a deceptive change of direction which will allow traffic to open up in order to put the puck on net with accuracy.

Our second analysis from the game is a great play by Bowen Byram with the Colorado Avalanche. The play begins 5 on 5 with a delay on the zone entry, and the Right side D receiving the puck. The ice opens up for the swinging forward because Colorado does a good job of collapsing 3 players onto the net. LA has to match man to man thereby opening up a huge shooting lane for the player to loop out of the corner through the slot for a shot on the net. Byram executes an excellent counter-move by laterally shifting his body weight from left to right and back to left using his edge work to create space and his body position to protect the puck as he accelerates to the top of the slot for a shot on goal.

The first alternate play begins where the defense can walk the blue line and get a quick shot off on the net, with good traffic in front for tip-ins, screens, and deflections. For the second alternate play, the skater that shoots the puck thinks that there is good traffic in front of the goalie. But if you look closely the goalie has a clear sight of the puck because the traffic is all to the left of him (this gives the shooting player a lower probability of scoring in this situation). If the player can delay again in the high slot and hit the far side defense or power turn back toward the middle of the ice, this creates a great additional scoring opportunity.

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