What Went Wrong: Failed D Zone Coverage Forces Mason to Make Save

In the first two parts of this series, we’ve looked at plays that resulted in goals. Today, we look at a play where we owe Steve Mason a nice thank you for stopping a quality scoring chance that should never have occurred.

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Via Flyers.NHL.com

The play begins with 4 Flyers holding the defensive blueline and forcing a dump in. Given the Flyers position, this should have been a retrieve and exit. But sadly that’s not what happens.

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Via Flyers.NHL.com

The Flyers win the race to the puck, and it’s rimmed back to Medvedev. So far, still decent.

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Medvedev awkwardly takes the puck on his backhand, and this is where things start to go south for the Flyers.

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Pastrnak ends up with the puck that Medvedev lost control over. Notice a subtle misplay in the orange circle by Sam Gagner, he had started skating for a zone exit prematurely, now he’s caught just a bit out of position.

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Now things really head down, Luke Schenn over commits to his man, allowing Loui Eriksson to cut into the slot for a one timer untouched. Sam Gagner isn’t even close to the play to help out if a puck trickles through either.

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Via Flyers.NHL.com

Luckily for the Flyers, the puck doesn’t settle for Eriksson, which allows Mason to make the save. Ryan White clears the rebound.

Final Summary: The fluky bounce on Medvedev during the initial clear attempt played a big part in the quality of the chance. So, to lay blame on the unit as a whole, is a bit unfair. Sam Gagner’s premature exit of the zone is concerning, while I understand his desire to want to exit with speed in the hopes of creating a breakaway or an odd man rush, he needs to wait a split second more to be sure Medvedev can handle the puck. Luke Schenn makes a huge mistake by going for the hit on Pastrnak. Behind the net, Pastrnak wasn’t a threat to score, and if Schenn held his position on the goal line by the post; there’s no passing lane to the slot, White can engage Pastrnak on the backcheck while forcing him to the corner. This would nullify any hope of a scoring chance.

This is the hidden minus; where Corsi picks up something that plus/minus doesn’t. Mason bailed out Schenn by making the save with help from the lack of a cleanly handled pass. However, this isn’t a play the Flyers can get away with and expect to not give up goals. It may have started due to a fluky bounce, but the recovery wasn’t up to par. Schenn especially owes Mason a stick tap, or beer, or coffee for bailing him out on that one.

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