Another One That Got Away
Put another one in the “Great Losing Effort” category. We skated well, had intensity (except for the early stages of the 3rd period), but lost. Missed chances, untimely penalties, and though mistakes are fewer, they invariably happen at exactly the wrong times.
Make no mistake, Chicago is a very good team and they got a great effort from Huet. However, we also made Huet look good by putting a lot of pucks right in his breadbasket.
Defense — Chicago puts a lot of pressure on, and we were able to respond well for the most part. A little lack of energy early in the 3rd had us scrambling.
PK — PP at end of 2nd was a fluke. Still good effort all around.
Offensive Possession — We are able to move the puck in the zone and keep it there for long periods of time. Point shots getting through and more havoc being created. But see Minus below . . .
Plus Players – Modin, Peca, Mason, Russell, Tyutin
Clearing — Too many clearing passes are ending up on the opposition’s stick, or pucks are being taken from us in our own zone. Take a page from Russell’s book on how to decisively get the puck out of the zone. Nash’s surrender of the puck gave them the winning goal.
Spacing and Time — We are holding the puck in the zone for a long time , but are not getting any efficiency out of it. Except for the point play, which has been very good the last two games, our passing down low and in the middle has not been sharp. We have gotten in the habit of bunching up, not creating space, and firing passes that we have to spend time getting to, rather than being on the stick. This gives goaltender and defense time to adjust. Also need to have our sticks on the ice when in the crease.
Finishing — Goes without saying — we are not being accurate with our shots.
Minus Players — Nash & Huselius. Nash was working hard in the offensive zone, but seemed a step slow, took a bad penalty and made the key turnover. Huselius is showing a tendency of late to skate in circles a la Zherdev. He needs to get back to being more decisive with the puck and fire some more shots.
A disappointing loss, but the caliber of play is certainly better. 3rd game in 4 nights showed in the early 3rd period. If we keep winning 2 out of 3, we will be OK, but need to start cashing in on chances.