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October 23, 2019

In the  4 – 2 loss to the Bruins on October 23, 2019, the Leafs allowed 64 puck entries into their zone, 45 by shoot ins or dump and chase, and 19 by the Bruins with puck possession. That is way too many puck entries into our Dzone to expect a win. 23 shots resulted from these entries, with 3 goals scored, 2 on shoot ins and 1 on puck possession carry ins over our blueline.

Getting only 23 shots and 3 goals on 64 puck entries seems like a low percentage of shots and goals, 34% re shots and 4.7% re goals but it’s not really. Obviously the more entries to our defensive zone the opposition has in total the more likely an unlikely defensive  breakdown or turnover is to occur.

The other goal scored against us was a power play goal.

So, an important part of any teams’ systems or strategies are to limit the number of Dzone entries 5 on 5. How? Here are 10 ways:

  1. By having more puck possession time in the Nzone or in our Offensive zone
  2. By not blind or hope passing behind the play in our offensive zone
  3. By having no turnovers or cute high risk turnover plays in the Nzone or just inside their blueline
  4. By stopping their team from gaining the red line so they can’t shoot the puck in without an icing call
  5. By not pinching at their blueline unless we can win the puck or push it forward
  6. By playing high level compete in the Nzone finishing checks to slow them down and taking ice position in front of them
  7. By having F3 high in our offensive zone unless there is a great scoring opportunity to limit odd man rushes
  8. By backchecking hard to get in front of their player not just in the vicinity
  9. By not aggressively forechecking and committing 2 players down low unless there is a 50 -50 puck, so we have 5 back to play inside hockey defensively as they try to break out
  10. By having our defencemen step in front of their one touch stretch passes just outside our blueline to prevent easy shoot ins

The relatively less number of entries into our Dzone, the relatively less shots and therefore goals against, but all players must think and play intense defence when we don’t have the puck. Not all the Leafs are doing that consistently. The result is 64 Dzone puck entries and a 4 – 2 Loss.

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