Blocking 5 shots on a single shift is not a good thing

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

If your team is in a position to block five shots on shift that probably means that something went very, very wrong.

Late in the first period of their 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tanner Glass blocked three shots on one shift.

This sequence of events earned him a seemingly endless stream of praise from the NBC Sports Network broadcast. Just about everybody that was in screaming distance of a microphone loved the grit, jam, toughness and defensive ability (or whatever other hockey adjectives you want to use) that was on display.

And It wasn't just Glass that was giving up his body. As a five-man unit the Penguins blocked five shots during a one-minute stretch (Three for glass, two for Deryk Engelland).

There is just one major problem with it all: If a player is in a position where he has to block three shots on one shift, and if a team is in a position that it has to block five shots in one minute, that probably means something has gone very, very wrong.

That's pretty much what happened to the Penguins on this shift. And it eventually proved to be costly.

Let's go to the video.

The Penguins could not get the puck out of their own zone and allowed the Flyers to attempt shot after shot.

Along with the five blocked attempts, the Flyers managed to get one additional shot on net which comes out to six attempted shots in one minute. Keep in mind that the Flyers attempted just 16 shots during the entire period, meaning nearly 40 percent of their shot attempts for the period came on this one shift.

That's bad.

When it comes to the blocks themselves Glass and Engelland did exactly what they were supposed to given the circumstances. The Flyers were throwing pucks at the net, and they had an opportunity to get in front of them and prevent them from reaching Marc-Andre Fleury.

That's not the problem with this shift. The act of physically jumping in front of the puck and blocking the shots was fine. Putting themselves in a position where they had to do that because they couldn't clear the zone and advance the puck up the ice was the problem. It's something that's been plaguing the Penguins this season when Sidney Crosby's line isn't on the ice.

This wasn't a shift worthy of praise; this was a shift that deserved criticism. They only reason they blocked all of those shots was because they failed at what should have been their No. 1 objective -- moving the puck out of their zone and getting it as far away from their net as they could. They couldn't get the puck away from the Flyers, and when they did, they failed to successfully clear it.

The Flyers, on the momentum they built off of this shift, would go on to score the first goal of the game just 20 seconds later. In a game that was decided by one goal, that's a big deal.

A lot of things went wrong here, starting with the matchup itself.

The shift started for Pittsburgh with a defensive zone face-off. Flyers coach Craig Berube sent out his top line -- Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Scott Hartnell -- out to take the draw.

The Penguins, as the home team and having the luxury of the last change, countered in a rather curious manner sending out a collection of its worst players in terms of moving the puck: Glass, Engelland, Craig Adams, Brandon Sutter and Brooks Orpik (That's four of the Penguins' five worst players in terms of 5-on-5 Corsi Percentage this season, so you know those guys are going to give up some shots).

Sending them out there against Giroux's line is just asking for trouble.

How the Penguins allowed that to happen in a home game when they could supposedly dictate the matchups was stunning. Sidney Crosby's line, which is Pittsburgh's best, had just finished a shift and wasn't available at that moment. But there had to be better options than what was essentially a fourth-line going up against Philadelphia's best and one of the best players in the league (Giroux).

In terms of talent, it was a huge mismatch in the Flyers' favor and it showed once the puck was dropped.

Even though that particular line didn't produce in the first goal of the game itself, it did help lead to it with a dominating shift.

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