The Canadiens power play could use more "zipper" plays

The Canadiens power play has been a big part of their goal scoring woes, and a simple fix could be easily available.

The recent scoring woes of the Montreal Canadiens are well documented, and have been discussed at length. One of the areas that is really failing to help them put up more goals is the power play. Clocking 17.6% on the year, they're not the worst in the league, but they are also far from the best, as that is good for 20th overall.

One of the things we've seen a lot less of in recent years, and that I believe could boost their numbers with the man advantage, is the "zipper." Early in his career, Andrei Markov was a near-master of the zipper move, and would often be seen tapping in gimmes on the back door after coming down from the point.

I pulled an example from back in 2014 that shows how effective it can be when a defenseman - or even two - decide to make their way down from the point. This play happens so quickly, I can break it down with two gifs.

Francis Bouillon gets the puck at the point, but has no shooting lane, so he sends it back down low to Tomas Plekanec. Plekanec has a look at his options before sliding it down to Alex Galchenyuk at the side of the net. Markov is just roaming the point, biding his time, and sees this as his time to strike.

All of the Avalanche defenders are fixated on the side of the ice where the puck is, so Markov can sneak down from the point undetected. Galchenyuk sees him, fires a nice pass over, and Markov gets a freebie as a result.

When you have good puck movement on one side of the ice like they do here, it causes defenders to get a little bit of tunnel vision. They want to disrupt that movement, and as a result you get a wide open lane for the zipper. When it works, the zipper creates an extremely easy goal for the defender coming down.

It can be risky if the pass fails, but it's a calculated risk as long as one defender remains at the point. Worst case scenario, if the pass is intercepted, it is probably cleared down the ice by a defender. I honestly can't think of a better remedy for the Habs power play than to start using that zipper play more often.

I'm obviously not an NHL coach, and don't have any experience structuring an NHL power play, but this seems like a no brainer to me. With P.K. Subban struggling mightily to find open shooting lanes lately, his bomb of a slapshot has been mostly neutralized. They need to be more effective on the power play, and I believe that this is one way they can achieve that.

After all, they really need to start winning, and you can't do that without goals.

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