Thursday, August 9, 2018

SSS Part Eight - March 10th vs MIN

- March 11 vs MIN - 

Edmonton lead for most of this game, but it wasn't pretty and things really went off the rails in the third period(10-2 high danger chances via NaturalStatTrick). Leon certainly didn't get the worst of it via the numbers, but we'll have to get through that net-front cluster. The linemates were Cammaleri and Lucic, this was right around when McLellan started to really come under fire for the utilisation of veterans up the line-up in a post-deadline seller atmosphere. I will say that these wingers were effective everywhere but offense for Draisaitl, and perhaps the audition itself for McLellan was simply 29 out on his own and he didn't want to do two things at once.

Just a small nitpick here, Drai recognises this play early and hustles back, but doesn't actually have position at any point on his man. This is likely because he sees the play already being thwarted, but in a way that doesn't change where he should be because it's gonna go behind the net if it's not going in front and he gets beat there too. Again, though, he picked up his feet and was involved supporting the puck when it was turned over and pushed up the wall.

This is another short clip but of a different kind. Bear gets beat fairly clean here, and this play puts one of those dots on our shot map but Leon's not liable. Him and Lucic body the Wild and get the play on its way.

Granlund worms around Ethan Bear here, Drai gets there right on time and some deft handling and puck relay later they're up and get a chance that I viciously cut off before you'd get the viewing satisfaction. Sorry.

Another example of the non-mandatory net-front man effect, luckily Leon notices when this puck gets past Larsson along the boards and, our angle is bad for saying this definitively, but it sure does look like Draisailt neuters this chance at the dying moment(Larsson  has a hand on the attacker too; doesn't quite work chronologically though) . He(Leon) then gets inside position to relay the puck to Nurse, who - I don't know to what degree this is coaching - betrays his typical confidence and dumps the puck in early after he's already got the backpressure to quit moving their feet. Mike Cammaleri should have taught him that shoot-in fake. Speaking of him, when Mike turns this puck over it's actually a four-on-two but you wouldn't know it by the reactions of some. The puck gets past the backhand of one of the Wild mid-transition though, and Nurse sees this and steps in. (Yes!)

We're into the dreaded third frame now, and only briefly does the puck exit after a DZ FOW and after various kerfuffling while our subject is playing up high, there's a moment where he sees the puck get around Larsson but doesn't quite start stepping quick enough to actually make a clean intercept that surely was possible, and Nurse takes a penalty dealing with the striking Parise.

Leon ends up first guy back after Bear steps in during the neutral zone skirmish, and walls off the forechecking Koivu, quite literally providing cover for Ethan to move the puck up, then Lucic gets two nice touches in a row and Draisaitl arrives in the offensive zone with the puck on his stick ready to make another excellent pass and does. Beautiful stuff start to finish.

This is just a tragic shift that starts with a goalie playing the puck on a hard rim that the defending team has the first man and a half and a year on, which is one of those things that slowly chip away at my hockey-brain and will eventually lead to my demise.

Leon thinks he has something before Nino swats the attempt, and the Wild try a (double?) tip play that ends up behind the net. We don' have eyes on it,but just by my counting I think Leon may have been able to contest the point shot itself if he stopped quick but he likely looped back. We can't see so we don't know.

Nurse gets a little hasty on a hard rim so it just gets to the Wild's point man, and a small sequence later gets away with one on a stuff-in play (the Wild are very coached but very clean and prolific with their set plays in the OZ, there's never *just* a point shot) Darnell makes another play too hard for his forward but eventually, eventually the hockey forces always deliver mercy and the puck leaves the zone.

That's the last of them, in a game of prolonged turtling against a team that punches above its weight offensively. The Wild really aren't a team with that many weapons, so their average 5v5 scoring is actually kind of impressive, especially if you've got an eye for the peculiar like I do and notice all the tricky little plays they pull.

Check back here for some non-Leon project stuff I've got in the works, there'll likely still be daily posts but not necessarily always this series.

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