A new day has dawned, and the bad taste left after Game 1 is gone. We have taken our initial hits, and know what we need to do. This is not an insurmountable task — we have beaten the Wings 3 times this year, and played a strong 1st half on Thursday.
We are about to hop in the car and head North — blue hair, blue fingernails (wife only), jerseys, t-shirts and full regalia in tow. Should be a huge presence from the CBJ fan base tonight.
Keys for tonight:
1. 60 minutes of effort, not 50, 40 or less . . .
2. Simplicity and persistence — keep putting the puck deep, stay in the zone, force the puck to the net. It will eventually go in. If we have the puck, Detroit doesn’t.
3. Defensive pressure — we started giving Detroit way too much space, much like a cornerback giving the receiver a 10 yard cushion off the line. We have a great goaltender — rely on him to stop the puck, and create opportunities through pressure.
4. Let Mase see the puck — be mindful of clearing lanes and getting the puck out of the crease.
5. Tempo — we need to dictate tempo, not Detroit.
6. Control the neutral zone — we let the Red Wings possess the neutral zone on both sides of the puck. Take it back. When our defense sets up camp in the neutral zone, we frustrate their offense and create odd man rush opportunities for ourselves.
As with all seven game series, a split for the road team is the goal for the opening pair. We can do that tonight, and get to the friendly confines of Nationwide all even.
Hitch is right, this is a great time of year! The Joe will be rocking with CBJ blue tonight! Go Jackets!