Stevie Why has a good post this morning about Lavs' plan to beat the Lightning's trap. The Lightning sit all five players in the neutral zone in an awkward and uncomfortable display of dental damn on ice- nothing gets through. They capitalize on the mistakes of eager opponents before transitioning to an odd-man rush. Lavs' plan, which was met with some boos in Tampa, was to hold the Flyers back and essentially wait for the Lightning to make the first move. At that point, it was up to the Flyers to not turn the puck over. It's boring as hell to watch, but it worked.
Another thing Lavs did, a play that almost worked on Sunday, was send a forward in motion along the far side of the ice. When the Flyers were trailing the Kings in the final seconds of Sunday's game, Lavs pulled the goalie and set Carts in motion during a blue line faceoff. The Flyers won the draw back to the defense and hit a streaking Carter, who had a full head of steam into the offensive zone. The play resulted in two scoring chances in about seven seconds… all from a faceoff that started outside of the Kings' zone.
Last night, they employed a similar technique, which was evident on the first play after the Flyers took a 1-0 lead. Mike Richards won the faceoff back to the defense, then slowly skate towards Brian Boucher. The Flyers passed the puck toward the near boards while Richards looped in the defensive zone. Matt Carle skated along the boards, then threw a no look pass backwards to a streaking Richards, who wound up slicing through the Lightning's zone and ended up behind their net.
Besides the power play, it is almost impossible to draw up a "set play" in hockey- there are just too many moving parts. Lavs does it on a nightly basis. Genius.
Hop it for full highlights and the video of Richards' play. Or read Stevie Why's full recap. The choice is normally yours- today, you do both.