Stick-y business: NHL playoffs a showcase for savvy stickwork on offense and defense

Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski (16) blocks a shot from Seattle Kraken right wing Eeli Tolvanen (20) as goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) watches during the third period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in Seattle. The Stars won 6-3. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Preventing goals in the NHL playoffs is just as important as scoring goals. Many would argue it’s more important More than half the work happens before the puck gets to the goaltender. Sticks in passing and shooting lanes do the work – and sometimes cause harm with deflections. It also works on the offensive end when nifty deflections can make shots impossible for even the best goalies to stop. Savvy stickwork has been on prime display in the first two rounds this year from Joe Pavelski’s tip-in goals for Dallas and Carolina’s top penalty kill to Seattle’s shot blocking.