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06-17-2011, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
You can get sort of the same result by having a high-quality DEFENSIVE third line that plays against the first or second line of the other team and shuts them down. This gives your first or second line a better matchup in most cases.
You are absolutely right that teams can employ an ultra-defensive 3rd-line; I mentioned that Vancouver did it last year. While Martin may employ that in the future none of the Habs' centres under contract/RFA are good enough in the faceoff circle to really thrive in such a role.

When Moore-Lapierre-Pyatt were buzzing about on the ice and shutting down the Washington and Pittsburgh offensive juggernauts in the 2010 playoffs, either Cammalleri or Gionta got an easier matchup. And they profited by scoring.
Moore-Lapierre-Pyatt took away defensive minutes that probably went to Gomez' line but Plekanec was employed in the toughest situations in the 2010 playoffs in terms of the percentage of defensive zone faceoffs.

As you can see here, looking at the DEF FO W (defensive faceoff won) and DEF FO L (likewise, but lost). Those number are for whether the team won/lost a faceoff when the player was on the ice, not whether the individual won/lost. We all know that the main effect on faceoff win% is the centre but the purpose of these stats are for telling where a player began a shift, not who is good at winning faceoffs.

Plekanec was on the ice for 92 Defensive Zone Faceoffs and 45 OZF
Gomez was on the ice for 69 Defensive one Faceoffs and 88 OZF
Moore was on the ice for 55 Defensive Zone Faceoffs and 44 OZF

Like I said, an ultra-defensive 3rd-line can work (Vancouver proved it over the season) but it doesn't seem to be the way Martin employed his three best centres in those playoffs. I can see the Habs going to that type of 3rd-line in a year or two when Eller is ready for top-6 minutes and Gomez is traded, but right now the personnel aren't there for the Habs to employ it.

Last edited by Roke: 06-17-2011 at 03:49 AM.
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