Last night on the CBC we got to hear about Montreal’s excellent system based play at great length thanks to insightful hockey savant Glenn Healy. I figured I’d do a frame by frame breakdown of the only Montreal power play a goal was scored on in order to demonstrate why the Canadiens are so effective on special teams.
In this first frame you can tell the Habs have a man advantage by the three on two developing in front of their goaltender Carey Price. Personally if I were an NHL coach I would try to generate offense when I had an extra player on the ice but who am I to criticize legendary coach Jacques Martin?
Matthew Lombardi shoots over Brian Gionta or maybe a regular height player who’s laying down (it’s hard to tell even on replay). Two Habs are in the slot covering nothing and Carey Price is dizzy from the cigarettes.
In this frame a few seconds later the Habs have doubled their defensive zone presence. Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul have both skated by the puck laying in the crease. Matthew Lombardi has already finished being depressed about wasting a scoring chance when he thinks "but what if nobody at all tried to get that puck?".
Note All Star Goaltender Carey Price laying spread eagle in the net thanks to a MATTHEW LOMBARDI wrist shot. Guess somebody spent their offseason hitting the gym.
In frame three note Mike Komisarek turning to leave the zone as Lombardi roofs it over the still horizontal price. Note P.K. "-2" Subban on his knees covering nobody and the Montreal forward in the top left circling in case Lombardi can’t score in an empty net and the puck goes right to him. This is excellent systems based play directly from Martin’s playbook.
Finally Jacques Martin’s plan comes to fruition. Fans are standing and cheering, there’s a spotlight on a Leafs player and Carey Price and people in Montreal bars are trying to hide their loser jerseys as quickly as possible. All according to plan.
I won’t spoil the final score for you, and to be polite I’ll just say I hope these Leafs can recover from this well run power play to have a chance at skating with the Cup Contender Montreal Canadiens.