sniper wrote:I think when you play teams like the Devils you have to beat them at their own game. Stay patient and don't give them any easy scoring chances. Make them earn everything they get. Look at the goals they scored. Saturday 2 on the power play after killing off the first 6 or 7 and one because Orpik was standing out by the blue line and left his man alone. Sunday two 2 on 1 chances and another power play goal. The power play goals will happen now and then, but had they stayed more disciplined saturday and not given up 2 on 1's yesterday the Devils only score 1 goal each game. 1 total if Orpik stays with his man Saturday.
To be fair to the Pens, NJ does a good job of forcing those errors.
I like to think of errors in two categories: forced and unforced (like tennis). Examples- Unforced: Malkin throwing a behind the back blind pass cross ice high in the offensive zone, resulting in a turnover and odd-man rush against. Forced: 2 guys hounding Martin into his own corner, on his backhand and he turns it over up the boards.
sniper wrote:Playing against the Devils this weekend reminded me of playing against Montreal a couple years ago in the playoffs. The Pens are a better team than the Devils and were far better than the Canadiens. They just play stupid against them. Limit the mistakes, keep the third forward high and force them to earn their goals. That's what the Flyers did against Montreal the year they beat us and Washington. Montreal couldn't score against Philly. When they were forced to earn their goals they couldn't do it. NJ's offense is 3 players. Clarkson, Kovalchuk, and Elias. Elias isn't getting any younger. The rest of them are Pascal Dupuis. This isn't a team capable of scoring a large amount of goals. The skill level simply isn't there. The penguins gave them their chances.
Yes, but again it comes from forced errors. I think you are on the right track somewhat, just at the wrong exit. Where the problems seem to come is that these teams play a style intended to thwart the Pens (forcing the Pens to the perimeter in the offensive zone, taking away cross-ice passes from Malkin/Crosby who seemingly will NOT stop trying them, pushing aggressive forechecks at the Pens D when the Pens F start drifting up ice trying to "create", etc). The Pens either by coaches or players, often WILL NOT make adjustment. So if things don't go well right off... or they can't grab goals via skill.... things can get out of hand quickly.
sniper wrote:If I was a coach I'd try weird things against teams like the Devils. I'd tell Crosby or Malkin to stay at the offensive blue line when NJ got the puck just to see what they would do. Would they leave one D man back to watch whichever one was there and play 4 on 4 in the offensive zone and take the chance of the Penguins getting the puck and getting it to Crosby or Malkin against their lone D man? Would they be too worried about getting beat and leave both D men back and negate pretty much any offensive attack they have? I'd try it just to see how they react. If they take 4 on 4 and leave me 1 on 1 with my superstar against their D man I'll take it all day.
I don't know that it needs to get weird. I'd like to see a simple adjustment in the offensive zone: make it your intentional efforts to plant guys in front of the net, or to get guys slicing TO the net. Force the defenders to HAVE to account for action in their slot, so as to alleviate pressure from the perimeter. This opens up more breathing room along the boards, and if you see a forest of sticks in the way of your cross ice pass? Pass it to the wide-open point man (who must be wide open if all the defenders are collapsing the box) for a shot into that forest. These are tactical adjustments intended to use a teams' chosen tactic's strengths against itself. Ala a boxer that is keeping his hands high to protect his face---> means you should be punching his body until he decides to no longer cheat protecting his face.
As for neutral zone issues, I think those are resolved when the Pens play more disciplined in their breakouts. Which, remarkably is when they solve most of their own-zone/neutral-zone problems with ALL teams.