Performance Skating Playbook: NHL Movement Analysis - January 2020

COL vs. NJD (1-4-20) | Blake Coleman (New Jersey Devils)

The play begins with 40 seconds remaining in the Colorado Avalanche power-play, with the face-off taking place in the New Jersey Devils zone. After a shot attempt by the Avalanche is turned over, Blake Coleman quarterbacks the Devils breakout and leads the offensive rush.

In a display of exceptional athleticism, Coleman rushes the puck the entire length of ice, exhibiting excellent forward skating mechanics with the use of a single-hand puck carry and the use of his off-arm to generate rotational torque through the core.

As Coleman enters the Avalanche zone, he releases a rapid shot from the hash-marks that goes top shelf past the Colorado goalie for an unbelievable short-handed goal.

COL vs. NJD (1-4-20) | Mikko Rantanen (Colorado Avalanche)

Off of the neutral zone face-off draw, the puck is won back to Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche who leads the offensive rush into the New Jersey Devils zone. At the blue line, Makar uses a deceptive heel-to-heel movement to relieve defensive pressure from Travis Zajac. As Makar moves up the half-wall, he squeezes through a pinch attempt made by defenseman Damon Severson.

Makar continues to move down the wall and executes two successive heel-to-heel movements to fake a centering pass to Gabriel Landeskog, which also draws the attention of three Devils players. Makar sends the pass to the high trailing player who is left undefended. Mikko Rantanen receives the pass, navigates through traffic, and puts the puck in the back of a wide-open net.

EDM vs. TML (1-6-20) | Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

 The play begins with the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs playing 4-on-4 in the third period and a turnover at the Oilers blue line. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leaves a drop pass for Connor McDavid and McDavid leads the attack for Edmonton.

Using his trademark linear crossover maneuver, McDavid crosses the Maple Leafs blue line and sets up a fake pass using his stick position and eye contact, quickly before initiating an evasive backhand-to-forehand counter-move against defender Morgan Rielly.

McDavid cuts laterally to the outside to beat Rielly before moving back inside across the slot. In a display of exceptional athleticism, McDavid utilizes one final deceptive stickhandle to freeze the Toronto goalie before scoring short side in a contender for the play of the year in 2020.

OTT vs. DET (1-10-20) | Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings)

With the Detroit Red Wings on the power-play, defenseman Filip Hronek sets up Dylan Larkin to lead the offensive attack. Just as Larkin approaches the red line, he initiates a deceptive head fake to relieve pressure from Ottawa Senators forward Chris Tierney who steps up to challenge him in the neutral zone.

As Larkin gains the offensive zone, he utilizes an additional counter-move with the use of lateral crossovers to gain separation from Senators defender Ron Hainsey. Larkin accelerates wide and cuts through the seam between Hainsey and Connor Brown before sliding the puck in the back of the net.

PIT vs. COL (1-10-20) | Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Bryan Rust initiates the offensive rush for the Pittsburgh Penguins by driving up the middle lane and advancing the puck into the Colorado Avalanche zone, allowing Dominik Kahun to retrieve the loose puck along the half wall.

Just as Kahun collects the loose puck, he initiates a rapid two-foot deceleration in order to create time and space for a trailing Penguins player. Evgeni Malkin quickly receives the pass, initiates a delay move with the use of a forehand toe drag, and shoots far-side which results in an incredible goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

PHI vs. STL (1-15-20) | Justin Faulk (St. Louis Blues)

With the St. Louis Blues on the power-play, Robert Thomas makes a pass down low to Alexander Steen. Steen then maneuvers the puck around Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers who dives toward the puck in an attempt to break up the play.

Steen anticipates the dive and pulls the puck laterally while simultaneously accelerating his feet using a heel-to-heel movement to open up his hips and passing options to the slot. Steen executes a razor-sharp pass that connects with Justin Faulk who puts the puck in the back of the net for the Blues.

CHI vs. MTL (1-15-20) | Zack Smith (Chicago Blackhawks)

The play begins down low beneath the goal line with Matthew Highmore of the Chicago Blackhawks making a pass up to the short-side defenseman from the half-wall. Slater Koekkoek receives the D-to-D pass and throws the puck toward the net.

Zack Smith navigates toward open ice using excellent backward skating mechanics and leverages his center of mass positioning and weight shift to make himself available for a tip-in. Koekkoek's shot from the point connects with Smith's stick that goes top shelf past the Montreal Canadiens goalie.

WPG vs. CHI (1-19-20) | Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks)

The play begins with Erik Gustafsson of the Chicago Blackhawks holding the blue line and sending the puck back down behind the goal line in the Winnipeg Jets zone. Patrick Kane retrieves the bouncing puck and initiates a heel-to-heel movement behind the net before making the pass up to Ryan Carpenter who sets up in the right side of the slot.

Carpenter receives Kane's pass and immediately sends a one-touch pass across the crease to Brandon Saad, who is left completely undefended. Saad scores and sets up Patrick Kane for his career highlight of a thousand points in the National Hockey League.

OTT vs. BUF (1-28-20) | Jean-Gabriel Pageau (Ottawa Senators)

With the Ottawa Senators on the power-play inside of the Buffalo Sabres zone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau makes a centering pass, which is received by Brady Tkachuk. Tkachuk uses a one-touch pass to set up a wide open Thomas Chabot.

Chabot shields the puck with his body and executes a heel-to-heel movement before turning rapidly and throwing the puck at the net. As the puck makes its way through traffic, it is deflected by Pageau's stick, giving the Ottawa Senators the opening goal four minutes into the first period.

LAK vs. ARI (1-30-20) | Alex Iafallo (Los Angeles Kings)

With the LA Kings and Arizona Coyotes tied at two goals each entering into overtime, the Kings initiate the attack with Alex Iafallo receiving the breakout pass. As Iafallo gains the Coyotes zone, he initiates an evasive two-foot deceleration and sets up Anze Kopitar with a drop pass.

Kopitar draws both Coyotes defensemen out of position, leaving Iafallo unmanned. Iafallo receives the cross-ice pass and puts the puck in the net to complete his first career hat trick in the National Hockey League and winning the game for the LA Kings.