1. Red hot Martin Erat (Preds RW #10) and all-star defenseman Dion Phaneuf (Flames D #3) are chasing the puck into the corner. Phaneuf (6'3'', 210 lbs.) is bigger and hits much harder than Erat. Who, however, will be faster into the corner and around the boards?
2. Predators offensive players, including Jerred Smithson (#25) are breaking toward the net.
4. Predators offenseive guys are still driving to the net. Smithson is closer, but has a man on him. He is going to find space by going to the net, backing up at a critical moment, as traced out by the dotted line.
5. This predator has a straight shot to the front of the net and takes it, in the hopes of tying up the defender there and getting traffic in front.
anatomy of a play" on why defensive speed is so important).
7. Look at Smithson hit the breaks hard and start to inch backward toward the open whole where he used to be... sneaky sneaky.
9. Look how much space is between Smithson and Phaneuf now. I don't think Phaneuf knows he lost his man.
12. Now it is Erat who has found the open space, leaving Phaneuf a few feet lower closer to the net.
Two keys to this play in my opinion. First, the hard work and quick staking of Erat to get the puck in the corner and beat Phaneuf. Second, and probably more importantly, the ability of Smithson to find the whole in the defense and thus be open for an opportunistic pass. That's all for this installment. Lets' go Preds!