Slow the Jets Down
Quite simply put, Winnipeg won game 1 because of their play in the neutral zone. They were getting hammered in their own zone for most of the night, as shown by the 48 shots they allowed. However, when they had a chance to escape they did so, and with speed.
They didn’t flip the puck up the ice, and go for the change. They picked up speed at the blue line, and attacked the Predators defense. With speed and some space, guys like Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Patrick Laine go to work, and usually eat up other teams.
Those three skaters combined for 221 points in the regular season…they know what they’re doing.
That being said, Nashville must control the neutral zone for the rest of the series. Winnipeg only had 19 shots in game 1, however, their neutral zone play was so strong, that they were able to capitalize off of great chances that they produced.
This one isn’t pretty, but it just goes to show that good things happen when you fly through the neutral zone with numbers…
Winnipeg is just too good for that kind of effort in the neutral zone.
If Nashville waits until they enter the zone to finally pick them up, it’s way too late.
Good neutral zone defense kills a rush. No rush means no real chances. I like the way that sounds