Game 2 Preview
Both PIT and EDM had a bounce back in game 2 of their series. Is it destine to happen for TOR? Here is my argument against a TOR bounce back:
Neither CHI or MON should be in the playoffs. CHI made a big splash in the first game of their series scoring like the Blackhawks of old. Their issues don't lie in scoring goals, but preventing them. If they get into a track meet they have a chance, except that EDM can play that game too (evidence was last night's game). It could be argued that MON would have passed CBJ for the last playoff spot in the East. They had a shot to make it into the post season last year and just didn't get over the hump. In my assessment, neither CHI nor MON are playoff caliber teams and were on the outside looking in.
One would argue that by their 9 seeding, the CBJ was also an outsider. However, based upon their points in the standings they controlled their own destiny. If they had continued to win they would hold a playoff spot. With the mounting injuries and struggles to score however, it was likely that they would have conceded that spot at some point base upon the AHL roster that was being utilized. The time off has provided health and rest. That hasn't helped their scoring woes, but has restock the blue line.
As mentioned in yesterday's post, this TOR team looks eerily similar to last year's 1st round opponent TBL. Columbus similarly shut down top-heavy scoring and capitalized on opportunistic scoring chances. Will history repeat?
In Game 1 Jones played a heavy game. He seemed to push guys around easily and throw some weighty checks. The scoring was once again anemic, but offensive pressure was applied. Not having the scoring touch puts significant pressure on the defense and goaltending, causing them to play a perfect game. But the Jackets have played solid defense, including the forwards, and Korpi was up to task.
It did surprise me how the team defense looked up to mid-season form even given the long break.
Do you stay with Korpi? This seems like a silly question given he made is playoff starting debut and hung a shutout on the star-studded offense of the Maple Leafs. There are those who have argued that Elvis should have gotten that start.
My theory is that the CBJ defensive system props up the goaltending. Don't take that to mean that the tandem in the Union Blue isn't good, they are, but the system keeps high danger chances to a minimum. Pucks are being put on goal from the perimeter with a large amount of shots being blocked (18 blocked in Game 1). Ask Bob how he feels about the CBJ defense. Of the top 50 goalies in the league this season, Sergei has the second highest GAA at 3.23, greatly inflated from his 2.87 average with the CBJ just one season prior.
One common theory is that in the playoffs you stay with the hot hand. Removing a goalie after a shutout performance in Game 1 may be a mistake. The exception is if you had a plan to use both in the series from the start and communicated that plan to the team ahead of time. That may be Torts' move in Game 2. We won't have long to see what he does as game time is 4 pm this afternoon.
Good Luck and GO JACKETS