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The puck-moving talents of Jeff Petry were on display versus the Canucks

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The defencemen was orchestrating effective transitions in every way possible against Vancouver.

Montreal Canadiens v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Jeff Petry continues to be a superbly effective piece in the Montreal Canadiens’ transition game. Thursday night, against the Vancouver Canucks, he displayed almost every play in the book of a solid puck-moving defenceman in today’s NHL:

  • Wheeling the puck out of the zone, hanging the forecheck on the net as he accelerates behind it;
  • Finding his forwards in the middle of the ice through quick, and sometimes difficult, passing plays;
  • Creatively using his skates to move the puck when his stick was tied up by the opposition;
  • Tying up his own man in a one-on-one battle, letting a nearby teammate take possession when he couldn’t make a play himself;
  • Supporting his pressured winger on the boards by accelerating out of the zone through the middle of the ice to become an immediate pass option;
  • Joining the rush as a fourth attacker, controlling his speed, trailing the play to arrive deceptively for a shot on net, and;
  • Creating speed above the puck to help his offence gain the zone after a failed attempt on a neutral zone regroup.

It wasn’t a perfect night for the defenceman, but his confidence was there. He seems to never have felt rushed, played the game smoothly, and prepared his plays the right way; giving good example after good example of how to fuel a team’s offence from the back end.

It’s what we have come to expect from Jeff Petry, who is on pace for a career year, not only point-wise, but also in his ability to use his many skills to continuously affect the play in a positive manner. He is evolving into a consistent, calm force, and even more so now that he sits in the right chair behind Shea Weber.