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Small Plays

Irwin's 'Small Play' leads to 5-on-3 goal for Sharks

Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 12:50 PM / Small Plays

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Irwin's 'Small Play' leads to 5-on-3 goal for Sharks
Visa presents "Small Plays," which looks at the little things during a game that turn into big results.

Visa presents "Small Plays" which looks at the little things during a game that turn into big results. Here is a recent example from Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.

Irwin forces Kopitar into costly penalty: In dire need of a Game 6 victory to keep their season alive, the Sharks got a huge lift in the first period on a small play by rookie defenseman Matt Irwin. San Jose was already operating with the man advantage when Irwin disrupted Anze Kopitar's clear attempt. Irwin approached Kopitar aggressively along the boards, forcing Kopitar to make a quick decision before bracing himself for a collision. Kopitar committed a delay-of-game penalty on the play, putting the Sharks in prime position to open the scoring. With 35 seconds remaining on the ensuing 5-on-3, Joe Pavelski fed Joe Thornton with a perfect seam pass for the game's first goal, which ultimately helped San Jose stay unbeaten this postseason at HP Pavilion and force a Game 7 in Los Angeles. Thornton's goal was the team's League-leading 10th home power-play goal of the playoffs, and it was made possible by Irwin's opportunistic play on Kopitar.

Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres