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Keith Yandle Proves Secondary Assists Are Still Important

Keith Yandle proves secondary assists still matter.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

We talk a lot about primary points nowadays. Primary points, for those who don't know, are a combination of goals and first assists only. Oftentimes secondary assists get looked down upon as a less important aspect to a goal. That's not always true, though, and Keith Yandle proved that with the Rangers' third goal against the San Jose Sharks in a 4-0 in win Madison Square Garden Monday night.

Thankfully the Jesper Fast goal was about more than just Yandle's initial play to make it happen. It also incorporated some great stuff by Chris Kreider, speed by Fast (pun not intended) and some puck luck.

Let's get to the clips!

The play begins with Yandle grabbing the puck behind the net, and immediately being pressured by Mike Brown and Tomas Hertl. Brown pursues Yandle from behind while Hertl goes to choke off Yandle's escape lane. To this point, it should be noted, the two Sharks circled in red here did nothing wrong. They're pressing hard on the forecheck and against a lesser skilled player this would probably result in a deep turnover and an opportunity to get San Jose back into the game. That doesn't happen, though, because Yandle is awesome.

Yandle takes a hit and still manages to get a perfect pass off to Kreider who is wide open on the side boards. You really cannot understate how great of a play this is by Yandle. He grabs the puck, is immediately pressured, has the wherewithal to see an open teammate and the skill to get the puck to him. From the last slide to this one (where Yandle has already passed the puck) a single second has passed in the game. That's how quick this play developed and having a guy who can turn that one second from "uh oh" to a goal is invaluable.

Kreider takes over the reigns here; also handling pressure and taking a hit to move the puck to a streaking Fast. Note that Fast isn't even in the picture. You can't see him but he's already near the blue line moving towards goal. Yandle, because of his play, has two Sharks forwards caught behind the red half-circle while Brent Burns is focused on Kreider, also leaving him behind the play.

Kreider makes a perfect bank-pass off the boards (ironically what teammates use to spring him more often than not) which leads Fast into the offensive zone uninhibited. The final two Sharks defenders are behind the red line. Fast -- who is easily one of the fastest players in the league -- doesn't need more than this one step lead to take control. But it also cannot be understated that if Kreider's pass isn't perfect, this play turns into nothing. Kreider is often talked about for being a legitimate sniper (he is) but his vision and passing is underrated, too. As shown here.

Fast corrals the puck at the opposing blue line and breaks in, making a beeline for the middle of the ice. The final Sharks defenseman (I can't see his number) takes a straight line approach to the net and still can't catch up with Fast.

The defenseman can do nothing on the final defensive aspect of this play but flail his stick. Fast, using his speed, gets to the front and makes his move. I'm not going through the goal because it was a luckyish goal, but this entire play isn't completed without Fast's speed.

If you want, watch the whole play here. Also, visit and subscribe to

Basically, this is a great play from start to finish. But if Yandle doesn't make that brilliant play to pass out of pressure nothing comes from this at all. The secondary assist, still valuable after all.