slappybrown wrote:They spend the entire time in their end
this is the big thing. regardless of +/-, goals scored, goals against, etc., when they're trapped in their own end, it puts strain on your goalie and defensemen, it facilitates momentum shifts, leads to penalties...you get the idea.
the eyeball test says they suck. the stat test says they really suck. the hockey nerd test says they aren't a huge deal, but yeah, they still kind of suck these days.
And to add to this note, part of the reason the Pens' game has become so poor defensively, GAA has risen, and games have been sloppy run-n-gun is that the "flow" of the opponent's game isn't disrupted at all except for the odd shift where Geno or Sid go full Autobot grind mode and simply will. not. be. denied. possession of the puck. This phenomenon is often referred to as the Pens "not being hard to play against". And it's correct.
While 3rd and 4th lines don't *need* to contribute goals (it's nice if they do), what they *need* to do is contribute in the way of making the other team WORK (especially defensively), and break up their (opponent) flow, as well as wear out their D (by good cycling/forechecking) AND frustrating their offensive players (by good backchecking, in-your-face grinding defensive zone, CONTESTING pucks defensive zone).
It's apropos that we talk about this as tonight's game is against Philadelphia. These matchups are prime examples of what I am talking about. Outside of the emotional idiocy demonstrated by the Pens...
When the Pens get the possession game working, the forechecking/cycling as it should (and this means 3rd/4th liners)--- they expose Philly's paltry D, give them fits in their (PHI) end, as well as stunt the Flyer's offensive game.
When the Pens are failing at it, the Flyers are able to easily clear their zone, as well as get the Pens in trouble in the D zone. The Flyers game is good hard work by the F in the offensive zone, cycling, puck possession and good positioning.
This is why one of the strategies of HCDB to get action going behind Philly's goal area.. is a good idea. It means the Pens are then cycling well, possessing well, and keeping Philly from exposing the Pens in their own end.
Where it usualy falls apart on HCDB's end is that he is outcoached by HCPL, and Dan simply doesn't make sweeping adjustments well in games. So when HCPL figures out Dan's tictac-for-teh-day, a couple tactical switches later, the Pens are struggling and HCDB has no answer.