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The Penguins 4th Line Did a Thing: Telestrator

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On Saturday night in Toronto, the Penguins 4th line played well enough to not only avoid giving up a goal, but they also cycled for a full shift, allowing a line change to happen, where Patric Hornqvist then scored a goal. Here's how.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

If i told you that the Penguins 4th line with Craig Adams and Zach Sill on it were to take a shift starting in their defensive zone AND i were to tell you that it would end well, would you believe me? You're lying if you say you are.

Saturday night in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre against the Maple Leafs, the Penguins 4th line of Adams and Sill, centered by Nick Spaling, took the ice for a shift starting in their own end.

Not only were they able to escape the defensive zone, but they generated an offensive zone cycle against the Leafs defensive pairing of Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly, and able to eventually generate a scoring chance that resulted in a goal from Patric Hornqvist.

Here's how:

  1. Nick Spaling starts the shift off by winning the face-off in the defensive zone
  2. Paul Martin retrieves the puck from the corner and plays it along the boards to Zach Sill near the blue line
  3. Sill taps the puck along to Adams, who has a large area of ice open to his right and in front of him
  4. Adams sends the puck to the corner, where Jake Gardiner goes to get the puck
  5. Adams ties up Gardiner long enough for Sill to come into the area and play the puck to Spaling
  6. Spaling quickly shoots the puck on net, but it deflects off of Morgan Rielly and the puck heads towards the half wall
  7. Paul Martin steps up on the puck, allowing it to stay in the offensive zone.
  8. Rielly is tied up by Spaling, and when Rielly tries to come away with the puck it is knocked loose and behind the net by Sill
  9. Spaling takes the puck behind the net, cycles back to Sill, who then cycles to Adams
  10. Adams pins the puck along the boards to avoid losing it to Peter Holland. When Adams re-gains possession, he loses it when dumping it deep, back to Rielly.
  11. Rielly tries to clear the zone, but doesn't get enough on the puck, and it is kept in by Martin.
  12. Martin's keep-in serves two purposes. It keeps the puck in the zone, and also allowed Adams to come off the ice for Patric Hornqvist.
  13. Jake Gardiner tries to rim the puck around the boards in an attempt to clear the zone.
  14. Christian Ehrhoff keeps the puck in and attempts to put a shot on goal, but misses wide.
  15. Hornqvist drives the net, and finds himself in perfect position in front of the net, uncontested.
  16. Goal.
My hopes for the 4th line of the Penguins do not have high expectations. But if they can continue to make plays like this, even if they are against opposing 4th lines, it will give the Penguins options. Being able to tread water, and have Mike Johnston counter with either the Crosby line or the Malkin line, more often than not, it will result in good things.