There aren’t many better feelings in sports than preparing for a situation and then executing exactly what you prepared for during a game. The Golden Knights pulled this off last night in the 2nd period against the Ottawa penalty kill.
Before every game, the Golden Knights go through a few video sessions to get them ready for what they will see out of the next opponent. They go over things like neutral zone setups, faceoff plays, forecheck systems, and other generally unexciting concepts. Typically, these are more of review sessions than anything as most teams in the NHL run one of a few similar systems.
Every once in a while though, they’ll catch something they believe they can exploit.
We had a plan on the Nic Roy goal. We were watching video and they’ve given up a few of those breakaways to other teams so great play by that unit to capitalize on that. -Mark Stone
While studying the video, the Golden Knights recognized a weakness in the Senators penalty. In two of their last three games, they had allowed a player to get in behind the entire defense on a power play entry.
The power of film study before a game is real.
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) December 18, 2023
In both instances, before Vegas pulled it off, the Ottawa defensemen on the blue line left a gap up the middle of the ice. If the puck carrier can get an angle around the first forechecker, there is potentially a lane for a teammate to head to that open area and be instantly sprung for a breakaway.
So we thought, well let’s take a shot at it and it worked out and we finished. Good play by Nic Roy. -Cassidy
As Ben Hutton carried the puck up the ice, they were presented with the exact same look they saw on video. Roy sprung into the open space and Hutton put the puck on his tape just barely beating Josh Norris’ defending stick.
The rest is history. (And now, so is the coach behind the Senators’ bench.)