Before the series even began, the Winnipeg Jets head coach detailed one of the most important aspects of the game for the Golden Knights.
Play as fast we can. To do that, your D have to get back, your forwards have to get back and help out, make that first outlet pass. Don’t be looking for second or third options, you have to make that first option and go. -Rick Bowness, Jets coach
To start the game, the Golden Knights were all over the Jets on the forecheck, forcing critical turnovers that could have led to the game’s first goal. Vegas’ forwards pressured the puck deep in the offensive zone and Winnipeg’s reads were not fast nor correct.
Here are two examples from the first four minutes of action.
Roy throws the puck into a good area where the goalie cannot go back and retrieve it and then gets on his horse to go pressure it. The key is the challenge on the second pass from Kolesar. He flies into the zone to push the second defender off of the play, leaving the puck available for Roy to move it to Howden for a Grade A+ chance.
Pietrangelo’s hesitation starts this play by taking the ice in front of him and allowing Vegas to have all five skaters near the blue line when the puck is dumped in. The puck is sent in hard this time, once again keeping it away from the goalie. Stephenson zooms into the zone to force the initial pass back, then Stone is there to pressure the next one. One simple stick check win by Stone, and now Amadio has a wonderful look.
It looked like this type of pressure would be there all night. But then, it stopped, and it really never started back up.
I wish I could tell you (why it stopped). Maybe frustration. Obviously our forecheck has to be better, that’s a key part of the game. They’re not an overly physical group back there but they move the puck well. So, we’ve got to find a way to put it in spots where they dont have time and space. -Mark Stone
Connor Hellebuyck had a lot to say about why the Vegas forecheck was ineffective much of the rest of the night. As you’ll notice in the two clips above, Hellebuyck stays in his crease forcing the defensemen to make the first play. That was not the case on many dump-ins as the game wore on.
When Hellebuyck was able to play the puck, it often caused Vegas’ forecheck to show up late to challenge Winnipeg’s breakout. The first pass from Hellebuyck to either defenseman relieved pressure from the initial forechecker leading to a domino effect of less and less pressure on each ensuing pass.
Here’s an example of how it looks.
Amadio is in position to forecheck here, but because Hellebuyck plays it, he’s unable to pressure the defensemen, then Kessel is not yet there to challenge the next pass, and Marchessault’s not far enough into the zone to challenge the final pass out.
The next problem came with the movement of VGK plays through the neutral zone.
I think we were a little bit stationary going through the neutral zone so you are not one top of them and you are getting it and then chipping it in rather than doing it in one motion. And then our D can help on the forecheck 5-on-5 a little more to be on top of them starting with better gaps. -Bruce Cassidy
From there, it tends to snowball in the wrong direction. The less often the forecheck is effective, the fewer chances a team like the Golden Knights will get.
Our forecheck game has been effective specifically against this team earlier in the year. I know things have changed but when we’re good we’re on top of teams. It shows in the chance totals, the shot clock, a lot of different things and we weren’t that team tonight. -Cassidy
The good news for the Golden Knights is that it won’t take a ton of adjustments to get the forecheck going again. They proved they could do it early in the game and they just need to do it more often over the course of the 60 minutes.
If they do, the game will look a whole lot different. If not, it’ll likely be a 2-0 deficit when they hop on the flight up to Manitoba.
One friggin game, come on! Relax. We will be fine. As always on here, over reacting about one game. Man, some of you must have very stressful lives, if this is the way you react to adversity? We actually came out flying and hitting last night. Had two grade A chances in the first minute. Had we found the back of the net on one or both of those , totally different game. So chill, the boys will come back strong in game 2!
knights fan in minny
its pretty sad the boys lose 1 game some people on here think the sky is falling a lot of experts chimed in on last nights game it sure seemed like the jets first line never came off the ice
THE hockey God
first games are always critical games in playoff series,game two will determine
whether the team is made up of bunch of pretenders and wanna bees, and losers like in current white house.
and forechecking wasn’t only thing missing in game one; it’s like the whole team
was standing around watching reruns of leave it to beaver.
This is Satan.
Shut up the hockey god. Your opinions and observations are useless. The city of sin is no place for a sissy like you. This is my town. Satan could have destroyed you with his bare red scaly hands several years ago but I have decided to let you breathe just so I can torture you slowly by destroying the world around you. The people in the White House answer to me and have been following my plan. I am pleased with their changes. I have been watching you the hockey god. Your fond memories of what you perceive to be a better world when Leave It To Beaver was in syndication has long past. Satan is winning. What side will you choose? You reject me but I have given you the gift of transsexuals and sex changes which you have thoroughly enjoyed. Satan will guarantee that the Golden Knights will advance to the second round. Satan keeps his promises. God will promise you a Stanley Cup and not follow through and tell you that he works in mysterious ways.
Satan has spoken.
knights fan in minny
the rubber room awaits you nut job
This is Satan
Check out my hot bitch.
Satan has spoken
knights fan in minny
how about those horse teeth on your bitch you better get her out in the pasture you whack job
THE hockey God
believe , let us pray
Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God! I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn’t doubt but believes what he says will happen: He can say to this mountain, ‘Be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it will be done for him. That’s why I tell you to have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for, and it will be yours.”
Ken I know your hands are tied but you put out good info but with the nut jobs running the site there are less postings. Today you have 8 postings on an interesting subject because half the postings are non hockey nonsense people including me are staying away from posting.
Tim, including me. Better not to post, than risk getting a sharp poke with a big stick.
…and I tried poking my OWN stick in response, but that was NOT productive….