Heading into Game 3, Erik Haula, James Neal, and David Perron had been fairly flat in the Stanley Cup Final. Then Game 3 happened, and second line struggle has turned to second line disaster.
We have to put pucks in, you have a little bit of time, you think you can make a play, have some room to skate, and then it gets clogged up pretty quick. For us, we have to simplify. It’s something we talked about. But I just think we’re just not there. We’re a second late on pucks. Or support. We’ll fix it. -James Neal
In 180 minutes of hockey, the trio has a combined three points (1 goal, 2 assists), just 10 shots on goal, seven shots blocked, seven missed shots, and a whopping -9 rating. All three are under 45%, they’ve allowed 12 high dangers chances while creating just three, and worst of all, they were on the ice for all three goals in Game 3.
It’s big, obviously the matchups. We did a really good job getting lines out there when we needed to. -Jay Beagle, Washington forward
It was glaringly obvious that the second line was having trouble creating any real threat. Neal’s laser of a goal in Game 2 is the line’s only goal, and it took an incredible individual effort rather than team play to score it. Plus, even that lost its luster after Don Cherry pointed out Neal’s shot was slightly deflected off Washington’s Michal Kempny’s stick.
They’ve had their moments, and yeah, we know they’re going to get chances. The more we can keep them off the scoreboard and frustrate them as much as possible. -John Carlson, Washington defenseman