Bob Cole Divisional Quarterfinals: Philadelphia vs. Winnipeg
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04-11-2012, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Now that we've looked at all the forward matchups, it's time to look at how they will work.
Matchups will eventually doom Winnipeg
It doesn't take any great knowledge to realize that my offense revolves around the offensive ability of my right wings. Top to bottom, I believe they are the best right wings in this entire draft. In order to effectively check the 4 strong right wings I have, a team needs to have good checking ability on left wing. This is Winnipeg's biggest problem. Their only left wing with any checking ability is Ace Bailey. I'll wait for Winnipeg to confirm this, but I cannot help but think that he is going to be the one assigned to check Gordie Howe. Their first line is the only line that I could see reasonably going up against my first line and having any sort of remote success. Doing this takes away a lot of the offensive ability of the line, which is its second best offensive line.
As a result, the 2nd line of Winnipeg is going to be relied upon a lot to score goals. But, they are not going to be able to score very effectively. The strength of the 2nd line is undoubtedly at center with Joe Malone. This line is going to be facing a tandem of either: Moore-Primeau, Graves-Stanfield, or Fleming-Linden. We're fine with any matchup. Three strong two-way centers that will be able to play good defense against Malone, limiting his effectiveness. That will leave Rick Tocchet and Bert Olmstead to do more work in terms of creating offense instead of just digging for the puck and getting it to Malone. Winnipeg's 2nd line will also struggle mightily in their own zone. If they get caught and pinned by one of my lines(which is certainly possible considering the talent on the 2nd line and the forechecking ability between Graves and Stanfield on the 3rd with Hyland's goalscoring), they'll be lost. None of those guys were good two-way players, and will struggle to keep up defensively with my 2nd and 3rd lines, who are adept at playing in both zones when need be.
We're not going to worry about trying to matchup up any lines against Winnipeg because we don't think it's necessary with our team composition. We'll let Winnipeg pick their poison. Don't want to match any lines? Okay, let Howe and Dye wreak havoc on Olmstead, Hadfield, and Secord who are power forwards, but offer nothing in terms of defensive ability, with Bailey providing the only defensive support. Match the top line against Howe? That leaves Dye and Hyland to attack those 3.
Overall, this is how the matchups are going to look:
Bailey, Olmstead, Hadfield, Secord vs. Howe, Dye, Hyland, Wharram
Kennedy, Malone, Weiland, Hunter vs. Nieuwendyk, Primeau, Stanfield, Linden
Kariya, Moore, Graves, Fleming vs. Fleury, Tocchet, Bondra, Boucher
His left wings cannot check my right wings. Our right wings are going to dictate the play and the matchups and force Winnipeg to do what we want to do because of our depth. On the other side, my centers should be decent(Nieuwendyk) to very effective(Primeau) in terms of checking any four of Winnipeg's centers. My left wings(which include my best defensive forwards) should be very effective in countering the offense of Fleury and Bondra specifically. Winnipeg is at a severe disadvantage in terms of matchups.
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