Well, I can’t say I didn’t warn you all. From the beginning I didn’t like this matchup and I thought this series would likely go 7 games. Now we have no other choice. It’s do or die time and we will be lucky to even get to the 7th.
With that said, I don’t want to be overly negative. I am sure you can find other outlets that will cherry-pick moments from the game (or series) and use them to sandbag which ever player they feel needs to be the scapegoat.
As we have been doing all series we will focus on the goals, or in this case goal. The purpose of which is to identify what causes a score change, be it a turnover, a defensive breakdown, etc. There’s no slant, no ridiculous opinions, just cold hard facts. The lone goal (empty netter not worth our time) was scored by just that, a defensive breakdown.
Here in image 1 we are seeing the play start to develop. Everything is in decent shape. McDonagh is burning a hole through Matt Stone. Mitchell has Spezza. Girardi is the safety vale and Feds has Greening.
Ah, but in image two is where everything goes to poop. Mitchell can’t keep up with Spezza on the backcheck and decides to release him and make a play on Stone. McDonagh doesn’t pick up Spezza and elects to stay with Stone as well. It’s not the end of the world, but McDonagh doesn’t have his stick in the passing lane. Girardi stops skating altogether and is just gliding, which will put him a step behind Spezza.
Instead of angling Spezza (green line), he just glides along the drawn red line. Spezza uses that mental lapse to split our defensemen and bury one past Hank. Really the only guy who played that sequence right was Feds, who was able to catch Greening and lift his stick. Kudos to Feds, that is a text book defensive play from the weakside forward.
Of course none of this means we should be pointing fingers at any of these guys for the loss. Ultimately the boys had more than enough chances to make a goal like this irrelevant. Unfortunately they just couldn’t get it done.