Absorbing the Avalanche
STL's neutral-zone adjustment
After being blitzed in Game One, the St. Louis Blues add a wrinkle to their neutral-zone forecheck to contain the speed and skill of the Colorado Avalanche.
STL stun the home crowd and wins Game Two handily. In Game Three, the Blues hold their own at 5v5 until two late empty-netters.
Instead of continuing with the classic 1-2-2 NZ forecheck, STL now shows an aggressive variant of the 1-1-3. In contrast to TBL or TOR’s 1-1-3, however, Blues defensemen take advantage of F3’s help to step up and force a turnover rather than form a passive wall at the line.
By being more patient early on and more aggressive later, STL confuses COL skaters who are used to being angled off rather than attacked directly in the NZ. In addition, F3’s early backcheck gives him more space underneath COL’s coverage to work with in case of a change of possession.