VIDEO: This is the best way to protect a one-goal lead

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The best way to play defense in the NHL is to play offense.

I'm not talking back-and-forth, run-and-gun hockey where you're exchanging odd-man rushes and scoring chances with your opponent. I'm talking consistent puck possession and making the other team defend its goal. No team is scoring from 190 feet away and without possession of the puck.

If I'm a coach in the NHL (ha!), my team's philosophy is "the best way to protect a one-goal lead is to make it a two-goal lead." But sometimes you don't even need to do that. Sometimes you can just run out the clock by playing a two-minute game of keepaway and not let your opponent even get a sniff of the puck.

That's what the Vancouver Canucks did on Thursday night as they sealed their 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars.

The Canucks were lucky enough to get a power play with exactly two minutes to play, and that was the result. It really gets hilarious about a minute in. The Stars, completely exhausted, try to chase the puck around and get possession so they can pull their goalie and at least have an outside shot at maybe tying the game.

But they never got it. They went the final two minutes of the game without touching the puck. Not even long enough to get a failed clearing attempt. They simply never had a puck touch in the final two minutes.

The Canucks seemed to have no intention of shooting (except for Ryan Kesler -- what the heck was he thinking even attempting a shot in that situation?). They instead just owned the puck, never allowed it to leave the Dallas zone and defended their one-goal lead with one of the best power plays of the season.

Sure, it would have been more impressive had they been able to play keepaway if it were during a 5-on-5 situation, but it's still a smart strategy and the perfect way to play defense.

By playing offense.

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CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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