I slept well last night. Our boys won. They broke the 5 game losing streak. They scored 4 goals. That first period was a gem. The Predators gave us opportunities on the powerplay and we finally buried it. Failing to score on that 5 on 3 (luckily we did just as the Predators were getting a player back) could have changed the game’s momentum. In hockey, it’s not the opportunities that matter but rather capitalizing on said opportunities…a little like life. The second period was ok. We took the foot off the gas but still played a good period.
This article is about the third period.
We had 2 shots at even strength and 2 shots on the powerplay. Nashville had 14 shots on goal, 8 of which were within the Scoring Chance Zone.
Forget shots for a moment. Your eyes told you how the stats read. We played defense that entire period. We played to protect the lead.
We, in large part, went into a shell. We were fortunate Jonathan Bernier played well, especially his rebound control, and our defense didn’t allow too many second chances. But, this was the Nashville Predators. We weren’t playing an offensively gifted team (I recognize that 27 other team in the league are statistically more offensively gifted 5 on 5 than we are).
Why would the Kings play to protect the lead? Why wouldn’t they play the same game that got them the lead? This smells like Terry Murray. This reeks of a change between periods through instruction.
Nothing should have changed. I can understand playing a defensive game when there are a few minutes left in the game with a 2 goal lead and there is no reason to take chances but an entire period, especially when you know the other team is going to come at you hard?
That killer instinct, the one that cost us the playoff series against San Jose, the one that cost us the playoff series against Vancouver, the one that we have lacked for years is still present. When we take a 4-2 lead into a third period, we, like any offensively talented team (skill set, not system), must press forward and keep the defenders on their heels. Force THEM to make turnovers through an aggressive forecheck on both ends of the ice. Do not sit back, allow zone entries without resistance and rely on your defense and goalie to keep the lead. Don’t change a damn thing. Attack. It’s how you got there.
This bothers me.
It bothered me this morning and is still eating at me.
We should consider ourselves fortunate we played the Predators. That crap may not hold up against a better offensive team.