Game 70 @ St. Louis: Montoya Performance & Neutral Zone Play

Travis Hrubeniuk
March 18 2014 07:17PM

Angry Buff

In a game that ended with pure insanity, the St. Louis Blues put on a clinic of how to play in the neutral zone, control possession, and simply grind a team on the second half of a back to back out of the game.  It was this kind of play that ultimately led to the penalties, frustration, and shenanigans that we saw in the end.

Zone Entries

5 vs 5

Player

Successful Entries

Shots (From Entries)

Shots/Entry

Controlled Entries

Shots (From Control)

Shots/ Controlled

% With Control

2

Pardy

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

N/A

5

Stuart

2

0

0.00

0

0

N/A

0%

7

Ellerby

1

0

0.00

0

0

N/A

0%

8

Trouba

2

0

0.00

0

0

N/A

0%

9

Kane

7

2

0.29

3

2

0.67

43%

12

Jokinen

4

3

0.75

3

1

0.33

75%

14

Peluso

1

0

0.00

1

0

0.00

100%

15

Halischuk

2

0

0.00

1

0

0.00

50%

16

Ladd

6

4

0.67

4

3

0.75

67%

18

Little

4

2

0.50

2

1

0.50

50%

26

Wheeler

8

2

0.25

4

2

0.50

50%

28

Cormier

1

1

1.00

1

1

1.00

100%

33

Byfuglien

6

3

0.50

3

2

0.67

50%

39

Enstrom

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

N/A

40

Setoguchi

5

0

0.00

1

0

0.00

20%

44

Bogosian

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

N/A

58

O’Dell

1

0

0.00

1

0

0.00

100%

67

Frolik

4

1

0.25

2

1

0.50

50%

JETS

54

18

0.33

26

13

0.50

48%

OPP

74

29

0.39

41

21

0.51

55%

OZF

15

2

0.13

DZF

18

8

0.44

 

Observations

  • The Blues really did put on a neutral zone clinic.  They controlled an excellent percentage of their entries, and did a terrific job of forcing the Jets to dump the puck in.  They also did a fantastic job of ensuring the Jets weren’t able to track the puck down once they dumped it in, which led to minimal offensive production or sustained pressure.  Regardless of your feelings towards the Blues, they are a very well structured team.  They’ve been my Stanley Cup favourites for two years now, and it’s only getting harder to imagine them not making that run this year.
  • You don’t have to look further than the lack of shots generated off of defensive entries to see how effective the Blues really were.  When none of Trouba, Bogosian or Enstrom was able to control a single entry OR have a single successful dump in, you know something was going on.
  • The kind of defensive structure implemented by the Blues tends to be a real pain in the rear to players like Evander Kane.  Kane relies quite heavily on his speed to break into the opponent’s zone and create offense (we saw that happen & result in a goal when the Blues had a momentary breakdown) and when he doesn’t have the room to do so, we see him work a quick chip and chase to himself with near perfection.  Teams structured like the Blues set themselves up perfectly to prevent that chip and chase from happening, thus we see games like the one last night and Evander is pretty much shut down.
  • It only compounds the problems for Evander when his right-winger is basically useless.  Devin Setoguchi provided next to nothing on the night.  I’ve tried to find defenses for the guy, but his play has been inexcusable when you consider what the Jets gave up to get him.
  • It’s scary to think of what this game would have looked like if not for Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd.  The two led their respective lines throughout the game, and were two of the best at producing offense.  I’ve loved Dustin Byfuglien’s play lately as a forward, and the point production (some of which has come with him playing D) is only a bonus.  If this is how he can play on a regular basis up front, I’ll be slightly more accepting of the move.
  • Fifteen offensive faceoffs, two shots.  That’s not including power play situations, which only make it look worse.  That needs fixing.  Fast.

Montoya Performance

Despite a rather ugly first goal, I thought Al Montoya held his own once again in the Winnipeg net.  Not to keep beating a dead horse, but I seriously think the goaltending responsibilities should be Montoya’s for the remainder of the season, regardless of when Pavelec comes back.  He’s earned it.  He’s been the better of the two, and we all should know by now what the Jets have in Pavelec.

Goal

Situation

Why It Went In

Where It Went

1

Sustained Pressure

Out of Position

Open Net

2

Penalty Kill

Beat Clean

Right Pad

 

Quick Explanations


This goal was just a cascade of ineptitude on behalf of the Jets.  Defensive breakdowns from nearly every player was followed up by poor positioning by Al Montoya, resulting in a wide open net and an easy Blues goal. 

This goal was generated die to some rotten luck for the Jets.  Nobody’s fault really, just a bad bounce and a relatively easy goal for the Blues.

Things to Watch For

The Jets still sit 6 points out of the final wild card playoff spot, and their insignificant chance of making it becomes smaller by the day.  Regardless, up next the Jets take on the Colorado Avalance, who the Jets have played very tightly to this point in the year.  Here are a few things to watch for heading into Wednesday night’s game:

  1. Can the Jets take advantage?  Although none of them will admit it, this matchup has to serve as a bit of a “let down” game for Colorado.  Head coach Patrick Roy is making his first return to Montreal Tuesday night, and emotions will certainly be running high for the entire squad.  If the Jets can jump on them early, Colorado may just not have the legs to get back into the game.
  2. Can Buff keep this going?  Dustin Byfuglien has played pretty damn well over the last few games.  Can he keep it up?  If the Jets want to keep their miniscule playoff hopes alive, they will need him to.
  3. Will it go to overtime?  Three of the four matchups between these two teams have gone to overtime this year.  The other was won by a single goal.  You have to think this one could be somewhat similar.  At this stage of the season, the Jets have to be okay with guaranteeing themselves at least one point, but they seriously need to win games.

Final Thought

In case you haven’t already, you should probably check out the latest episode of the Jetstream Podcast.  We welcomed Trevor Maughan from Arctic Ice Hockey and talked a lot about the current struggles the Jets are going through, some of the traumatic events that have occurred in the hockey world recently, and plenty more. 

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