PO GDT Sharks vs Predators Game #3
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04-17-2007, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chattanooga, TN
At the beginning of the game, the Sharks were finishing every single check on our d-men.....granted we did weather the storm that first period, but the continual pounding of our d-men over time took its toll, much as the way in boxing that you see the result of early body punches in the later rounds.
The whole third period they cycled endlessly on us...it was as if our dmen had nothing left in the tank to do anything about it. The Sharks basically used their 18 lbs average weight advantage perfectly by grinding us down over time. Once they were able to get the lead and just keep putting the puck in deep, we were toast. Our puck moving defensemen were just not up to the challenge of breaking up the cycle, then getting the transition game going, because by the time we finally got possesion of the puck, it was time to just dump it in and get a change because everyone was gassed.
The main culprit of our undoing, of course, was taking the 7 straight penalties that led to us being on the penalty kill 40% of the 2nd half of the 1st, and 50% of the entire 2nd period. It is no coincidence that we did not score another goal from the time Suter scored the first one at 11:53 in the first for the rest of the game as our own version of the Battan Death March to the box began at 14:06 and continued for over 20 minutes.
By that time, San Jose had it clearly in the bag despite it only being 2-1, as the entire remainder of the game was spent in our end of the ice.
Could a conversion by Arnott on a breakaway have made a difference....absolutely, but, to be honest....Arnott has about as much aability to score on a breakaway and a deke as Smithson, Hordichuk, and Tootoo do.
When Erat went down in the mid portion of the 2nd [coinciding with the end of our parade to the box] our guys were so gassed or so out of synch from sitting on the bench for long stretches that we really missed Erat's ability to help move the puck, and we were basically down to a two line team against a team that was rolling 4 lines and being able to chip it in deep, cycle endlessly, and establish the forecheck........not a recipe for late game heroics, if you ask me.
Why is Kariya invisible in this series?
I just think he matches up terribly with the Sharks. They have good speed, but at the same time, have the size and strength to cancel out his game, as they are able to keep up with him.
Last night, initially they were matching up the Thornton/Cheechoo line against him....but after our first score in which Kariya's line's passing ability just made Nabokov look silly.....Wilson made a subtle switch which most people don't seem to have picked up on......now it was the Marleau/Guerin line which was mostly matched up with him and Legwand and totally nullified there speed and puckhandling [having Tootoo now on the line instead of Erat certainly didn't help in the puckhandling department].
I would venture to say that the absence of Radulov and loss of Erat....coupled with the long parade to the penalty box made it virtually impossible to recover and reassert our game in the last bit of the second and the entire 3rd periods, despite the excellent job by our penalty killers and Vokoun.
Fortunately Wednesday the score starts over at 0-0...but Wilson certainly has the blueprint to put the final nail in our coffin if we can't stay out of the box.
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