Playoff Playbook: Shutting the game down
How CGY & DAL neutralize transition play
Two games into the Calgary-Dallas series, we’ve only seen three goals - one at 5v5, one at 5v4 and one into an open net.
Offensively, almost nothing is happening.
That’s just the way Darryl Sutter and Rick Bowness like it.
Of course, CGY and DAL players are bringing 100% intensity to every shift, but why is the end product of their collective effort properly soporific?
It’s all about defensive structure.
The Stars and the Flames both employ a safety-first system.
Against quick transition plays, the priority is to get three players back and above the puck, into something close to a 1-1-3 in order to prevent odd-men rushes.
Against slower-developing regroups, the idea is for F1 to pressure the puck carrier and for F2-F3-D1-D2 to clog the middle and force a dump-in (or better yet, a NZ turnover).
Through Games One and Two, there have been few NZ turnovers and fewer odd-men rushes still.
1.1: DAL Track & Retrieval
DAL is up 1-0 in the third period and is committed to running out the clock.
CGY makes a successful DZ retrieval and beats DAL’s F1, but F3 Joe Pavelski (DAL16) retreats early to join the Ds. Meanwhile, F2 Roope Hintz (DAL24) tracks the dot lane and forces the puck carrier into a dump-in.
1.2: DAL Retrieval & Breakout
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