In Game 7 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final, three of the five goals came from one-touch plays near the net. As the series pitted two of the best defensive formations in the NHL, players had to take advantage of the narrowest of openings to score.
In the first period, with a defender on his back, Ryan O’Reilly tipped a shot to end a Blues offensive drought. And in the third period, Brayden Schenn and Zach Sandford attacked the low-slot deceptively to score from far-post one-timers, putting the game out of reach of the Bruins.
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The net-front is where shots score at the highest rate; it’s also the most heavily guarded area of the ice. Defensive systems are built to neutralize attacking threats in that zone, but clever attackers can find ways to bypass its barriers to score. They time their arrival to the net with the passes of teammates and the puck is on and off of their stick before the opposition can react.
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