: Pre-Game Talk:
2011 WCSF -Round 2- (5) Nashville Predators 2 vs. (1) Vancouver Canucks 4
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05-06-2011, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Spring Hill, TN
It goes back to the PP for me. If you don't have traffic in front, you're not usually going to score, especially if you don't have any snipers on the roster. We do not have one of those. We do have a few guys that will stand in front of the net ala Holmstrom. Hornqvist and Fisher will both do this. So why are they both out there at the same time is my question? Why are they playing the perimeter trying be the playmaker when they have no business doing so? Playmakers should be playing the point and/or the half boards and/or behind the net, guys who crash the net and set up screens should be, well, right on the edge of the crease annoying the heck out of the goalie.
While watching Detroit the other night, Holmstrom carried the puck into the zone, passed it to one of his teammates and headed right to the front of the net. In doing so he was marked by a defenseman. If you park a guy in front of the net the other team will either mark that player with a defenseman or leave them alone. If they are left alone, any sort of rebound will usually get picked up and put in by the player in front. If they are marked, then it's a 4 on 3 creating more space for the other 4 players on the PP to maneuver thru. Vancouver is successful against us because we play the perimeter way too much and they shut down any of the passing lanes. 4 guys to defend 5 players is easy if the 5 are on the perimeter. It's simple geometry. 3 guarding 4 is another story, especially if the 4 can move and control the puck well.
This has been an issue for years. Too much perimeter play on the PP, no one in front of the net. I love Hornqvist but seeing him behind the net trying to pass or make plays is a complete and utter waste of time because 9 times out of 10 he's losing the puck. Same thing with Fisher. We should park either Fisher and Hornqvist in front, have 2 of either Legwand, Erat, Wilson and SK out there with them to be the playmakers and go from there. If we don't want Wilson, looks like Dumont or O'Reilly would fit the bill as the playmakers as well. The playmakers also have to be willing to pull the trigger. If they don't, they're as useless as anyone else.
The other thing we haven't done the last two games is get the puck deep and Vancouver is killing us in the transition game. If we get it deep with speed coming in on them, we can effectively forecheck them but if we barely get it past the blue line, a forecheck is pointless. Need to skate harder and get it deeper. We need to be more physical. If we're going to lay a body on someone, lay it on them, don't just bump into them. I get tired of our guys pulling up right as we're about to hit them. This is the playoffs boys, hit the opponent and hit them hard. Give them a reason to fall down and flop around on the ice.
At some point, the lines need rearranging too because the ones we're fielding right now aren't working. Sorry for the captain obvious but Trotz shifted Erat to play with SK and Fisher, moved Hali up to play with Ward and Legwand and while that worked against Anaheim, it doesn't work against Vancouver. And while we've shutdown the twins for most of the series, we haven't figured out how to counter Kesler.
The sad thing is, the best lines for us have been the 3rd and 4th because they crash, the check, they are relentless. Our top 6 has been soft, slow and non existent. While I don't think the answer is play the 3rd and 4th lines more, it may be an interesting option to light a fire under the top 6.
All that said, it's not over til someone wins 4 games and while it seems hopeless and futile, we still have an all world goalie that has kept us in it til now. If we can get a few guys to finally step it up, we've got a chance. We've got 60 minutes to make a point. Don't let us down boys, don't let us down.
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