Why It Worked: The Two Man Crease Crash
The Buffalo Sabres debuted a new forechecking scheme to kick off the Terry Pegula era, and it’s one that has the potential to be a real pain in the butt for defending players. The scheme, which I’ve dubbed the two man crash crease, will be explained below via the use of crudely-rendered MS Paint drawings.
(key: Yellow dots represent Sabres players, green dots represent defending players, and the black dot represents the puck)
The play is set up by one forechecker going right to the net while the other dishes the puck up the half wall to the incoming point man.
The point man puts a hard shot at the net while the forward of the two forecheckers down low streaks across the front of the crease. The best case scenario at this point is the point shot going in (especially if it’s Tyler Myers shooting from his office). If it doesn’t, one of two things can happen.
The stationary forechecker either tips the puck in, or corrals the close rebound and puts a shot on net.
The other option is the streaking forechecker collects the wide rebound and shoots on what is possibly a wide open net.
Executed properly, this scheme does three things: creates a number of shooting lanes, raises holy hell (the phrase I’ve been using to describe it for a week now), and drives the goaltender batty. And nothing benefits the attacking team more than a distracted goaltender off his game.
This may be a pretty common sense play, but it seems to be new ever since the Sabres started consistently forechecking with two skaters instead of one. Of course, defending players can disrupt the play at any moment, but it happens a helluva lot faster on the ice than it does on the internet. Keep an eye out for it and think of the words “raising hell” every time it happens – the words just fit.