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Key Play Breakdown: Quick movement makes the Wings’ PP 1-for-1 on a tough night

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at New York Islanders Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings got badly outshot and outplayed on Saturday night against the Islanders and still ended up with a point and a shootout loss. I’m grouchy about how bad the Wings played and I’m grouchy about the six straight penalty calls, so I’m going to cheer myself up by breaking down a pretty Red Wings goal.

The Setup

Detroit is on the power play thanks to Cal Clutterbuck interfering by playing Justin Abdelkader’s dropped stick away right as the Wings’ forward is trying to retrieve it. Dylan Larkin wins the offensive zone faceoff to back to Gustav Nyquist, who immediately feeds it to Dennis Cholowski; The Wings establish the setup as Cholowski feeds it to Nielsen on the near-side half-wall

The Finish

Nielsen handles the puck to let things develop a little further before threading a pass to Vanek leaving the immediate net-front to get set up for a passing play. Without hesitation, Vanek bumps the Nielsen pass directly to the slot for Dylan Larkin. The pass isn’t placed well enough for Larkin to get a shot off, but he’s able to control it with his skate and push it off to Gustav Nyquist low in the opposite side faceoff circle all alone for the quick snapshot in to open the scoring for the night.

Credit Where Credit is Due

This is a well-executed power play setup for the Wings, as all five skaters get in on a goal that takes just eight seconds to score.

Dylan Larkin’s clean faceoff win is a big key, but immediately after, you’ll notice that he takes up position to prevent Scott Mayfield from being able to pressure Neilsen on the pass from Cholowski, buying time for the play to develop. After that, his quick thinking and strong positioning on the controlling the pass from Vanek and feeding over to Nyquist is real good work for Larkin.

I like this setup with Vanek where he’s a goalie screener to the point where the man with the puck is in a shooting position, but reads effectively when the angle isn’t right and immediately transitions with a quick step to the net-side player ready to either immediately feed it out front or create confusion by pulling the puck behind the goal. His pass isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be when you have puck movement this quick.

I’m also really happy to see Nyquist remain hot of-late. He’s been doing good work all season and he’s getting rewarded on the scoresheet for it.