Playing without the puck is one of the key indicators of elite IQ. It’s one thing to create time and space with the puck, but it’s another to do it without the puck. What specifically can you do to create time and space without the puck?
The middle lane drive.
Watch how this Philadelphia Flyers goal by Kevin Hayes from the 2020 playoffs gets created.
Most are familiar with the concept on 3-on-2’s but it can be applied in a variety of situations.
This applies to exiting the zone, controlled breakouts, and (the situation illustrated above) attacking against odd numbers. This allows players to build speed under the puck and pull defenders out of position.