Pat Maroon sends his team to the Conference Finals! And they did it using my favorite faceoff play. We call i “Around the Pile.”
On this play, the wings line up on opposite sides. You can see Maroon (lefty) lines up on the wall while Thomas (righty) lines up in the middle.
First of all, look at the both of them before the puck is dropped. They are READY. TO. GO. Faceoff body language is such an important part of the game as it’s the prerequisite to faceoff intensity. And faceoff intensity drives possession!
I’ll break it down by each Forward player here:
Thomas’ job as the inside W first is to bump the opposing winger as the puck is dropped. If it’s a clean win to the D, he’s the pick that gives the defenseman time. With a loss, he now just becomes F3 as he’s already skating back towards the blueline. And with a win, if the puck is laying behind the center, he takes it “around the pile” and then towards the net.
Maroon’s job as the outside winger is to be on his toes. If it’s a lost draw, he’s F1 and hard on the D going to get the puck. With a win, his job is to bump the outside D, and then if possible set another pick with the inside D who will typically be coming beneath his center to try and pick up Thomas coming around the other side.
On this play, Maroon doesn’t need to set that second pick as the Dallas defenseman is late getting over. But the Blues execute their jobs and end up scoring the goal that kept their season alive. Great job, and a great play!