The “Little Things” Can Make a Big Difference in Winning

michael banner 2When watching hockey we know how simple it is, the team who scores more goals than the other team wins the game. But what some may not realize is sometimes it’s the little things that go into a play that brings success. There’s more to hockey and scoring goals than passing and shooting. If a hit or a forced turnover doesn’t happen, that goal might not occur. 

Let’s watch some film and see some examples. In Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Caps had a 4-0 lead in the third period but the Vegas Golden Knights began pressing. They broke the shutout and cut the deficit in half. The Capitals needed an insurance goal to take the stranglehold in the game. In this sequence below notice how T.J. Oshie created the play. First Oshie gets the puck and sees defenseman Colin Miller coming from behind. Oshie sees Nicklas Backstrom behind him, gets rid of the puck and pushes away Miller. Backstrom pounces on the puck, gives a cross-ice pass to Michal Kempny for the goal.

Now let’s look at one of the biggest goals in Capitals history. One that rejoiced every Capitals fan on this planet and one that Penguins fans will be seeing in their nightmares for years to come. We all know the lovely poetic narrative of Sidney Crosby turning the puck over to Alex Ovechkin who got the puck up to Evgeny Kuznetsov to beat Matt Murray and send the Capitals past the Penguins.

Before that miracle happened it was the pressure from Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov that caused Crosby to turn the puck over to Ovechkin. Look at the beginning of the video. It happens fast so don’t blink!

Sometimes little things like puck luck happen. An opportunity falls right into your lap. You see a loose puck and pounce on it. This happened twice during the Capitals first and final wins of the playoffs by Lars Eller. During Game 3 in Columbus with Washington staring at a 2-0 series hole and in the middle of double overtime, “The Tiger” came through to keep their hopes alive. Devante Smith-Pelly came down the ice, dished the puck to Brett Connolly. Connolly shot the puck and Sergei Bobrovsky thought he stopped it. He didn’t.

It’s little things like this that helped the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup. When you watch hockey this season rewatch the goal and see how some of these plays are created. As pointed out earlier, there’s a lot more to scoring goals than passing and shooting the puck.

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