On Thursday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, hosts Tyler Yaremchuk and Mike McKenna were joined by Jon Goyens, coach of the QMJHL Cape Breton Eagles. The coach analyzed the strategic aspects of the Conference Final matchups, which have been surprisingly lopsided. Goyens showed that the Florida Panthers’ adjustments on the forecheck cut down the Hurricanes’ chances on the rush; without high-danger chances, Carolina could not solve Sergei Bobrovsky as they were swept 4-0.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Jon, a week ago we sat here and got set for what we thought would be a couple of long, grueling conference finals. Well, it’s a week later and one team, the Florida Panthers, is already through to the Stanley Cup Final. Last week, it was all about the key battlegrounds, and I wanted to ask you what the Panthers did so well in this series.
Jon Goyens: It was obvious going into it last week that their success would be about the forecheck, the forecheck, the forecheck. The one area of the forecheck that could have hurt Florida was the one that they drastically improved on: getting caught in odd-man rushes.
On special teams, it was obvious they won that battle at 4/14 Florida against 2/14 by the Hurricanes. Their shots from the slot were cut down by 4 per game, but at the end of the day, limiting odd-man rushes was an important tweak to the Panthers’ forecheck. Early in the playoffs, they were so aggressive everywhere. They were continuously pinching or getting caught in situations where they were hoping and poking to trap the puck. This was continuous; Florida was one of the worst teams in terms of odd-man rushes against.
You look at last night’s game, and when they lost a faceoff they would reload their forwards and get back. They cut their odd-man rushes against by half. In fact, last night, they gave up just one. You want to win a playoff series and you’re only giving up one odd-man rush in a close out game? Then you have found a recipe for success on the forecheck.
You can watch the entire episode now…