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Turning Defense Into Offense

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Do you want to see the Pens' transition attack in action?

Look no further than Phil Kessel's goal in the second period of Pittsburgh's 4-3 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena.

The three points are: defend, read and attack.


Pittsburgh was in the defensive zone when the Canadiens generated a 3-on-1 opportunity. Olli Maatta was the lone defender. Before the Habs could make some pass plays with the puck, Maatta stick checked the puck away to negate the scoring chance.

With the puck jarred loose, Kessel immediately sensed a scoring chance and began darting up ice. The puck ended up on the tape of winger Carl Hagelin, who knew Kessel was northbound.

Hagelin quickly turned and fired the puck in Kessel's general direction.

Kessel retrieved the puck off the boards and sped around defender Ryan Johnston. Kessel had a clear path to the net.

With Johnston breathing down Kessel's back stride-for-stride, Kessel settled the puck, pulled it to the backhand and then lifted a backhander above the outstretched blocker of goaltender Carey Price.

Kessel finished the play, but it was Maatta's defensive play that began the whole sequence. Maatta fittingly was credited with an assist.

What started as a strong defensive play, thanks to a quick read, aggressive counter-attack and execution, ended with the luminous red light.  

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