IZO in today’s NHL includes all five players moving to create offense, recover pucks and extend plays. For years, coaches have worked on 2 and 3 man cycling and only incorporated the D as an outlet off the cycle. But in today’s game we see the D active in all areas and aspects of the offensive zone.
In a story I wrote earlier in the year for TCS, I studied the game in which the Tampa Bay Lightning put up 34 shots on the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2nd period. In that game, the Lightning D were so active and often extended plays that allowed them to have sustained IZO and tire out the Blackhawks.
In reviewing every 5 on 5 goal from this years Stanley Cup Playoffs, I came to the conclusion that every NHL team’s D did 6 things consistently to extend IZO. The 6 were as follows:
- D coming down the wall and beating opposition to the rim.
- D coming down the wall and pinching.
- D putting the puck to space for the F’s to recover.