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Maple Leafs, Blackhawks share an Umbrella



If there was one thing that could be salvaged from the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Boston Bruins on Saturday October 25 it was witnessing a different powerplay setup than the usual 1-3-1 that has taken the NHL by storm.

Here’s the play I’m referring to from early in the first period.

Leafs PP Umbrella 1025

Toronto initially sets up the 1-3-1 with Dion Phaneuf at the point, Phil Kessel parked on the left side, Cody Franson on the right. Tyler Bozak mans the slot and James van Riemsdyk plays the slot man.

PP - Leafs 1-3-1As the play continues, around the 20 second mark, Bozak curls at the top of the zone and instead of taking position at center, skates right to the strong side goal line. 

Bozak Curl

The umbrella set up key is to ensure having a skater on the strong side as an option for the winger to go down if there’s no option at the point.

Phaneuf is at the top of the zone, the spot signifying the importance of defensemen to have the ability to walk the line and launching pucks to the front of the net. Slap shots are nice and all, but getting pucks in front of the goal with two players in front offers rebound pressure and distinct skill. Shooting into the defending forwards legs will only mean a shorthanded situation the other way, an undesirable result.

Walk the line, defensemen, walk the line.


PP - Leafs Umbrella

Wondering if this was only the Leafs first line? Nope, here’s Nazem Kadri, Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson (yeah, Clarkson – and he’s going to the net too!) in the same set up.

Lupul sneaks down to the goal line with Clarkson, while Kadri and Jake Gardiner station on the wings, with Morgan Rielly along the blueline. The amount of space opened in the middle of the ice is shown very nicely here with some potential for passing lanes or clear shots to the net.

PP - Leafs Umbrella2

A clear takeaway from both set ups for the Leafs, is the first unit with two right hand shots along the wing (Kessel and Franson), while Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri as left handers man the second unit boards.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Western Conference finalist Blackhawks showed the same formation. Checking in on the game in St. Louis on Saturday night, this was the Blackhawks power play.

Chicago sets an excellent example of player rotation during the man-advantage as well while Jonathan Toews shows the strong side support skating right through the crease to become an option down low.

The crossover occurs with the pass down to Toews who slides up the half boards, while Patrick Sharp rotates to the top of the zone, while Patrick Kane darts from the left side, down to the right, beside the net – the space Toews vacated.

Kane Dash

Kane gets the puck back along the goal line and moves up the boards like captain Toews did only moments ago, and they both rotate positions.

JT Kane switch

Both the Leafs and Chicago are using an umbrella, with the Leafs still learning to implement the setup and they look sloppy adopting changes in power play philosophy.

Chicago meanwhile seem to have smoothed out the set up and seem to look more naturally, controlling the puck and rotating in the offensive zone. Here’s the game versus Ottawa the following day back at home.

There’s a perfect image of the umbrella in this game.

Chicago umbrella vs Sens 1026



So what does this mean? Are they the only teams using this setup?

Watch the Leafs opponent tonight, in this snippet here and see how the slot man backs up down to the goal line as the puck gets to the point.



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