If you’ve been watching the semi-finals lately, particularly the Phoenix/Nashville series, you know that Rinne has given up as many goals in to two games against Phoenix as he did in five games against Detroit. If you’re like me, you’re thinking “Where was THIS version of Rinne when we played him?”
Well, he was right here…
Hudler scored that goal by crashing the net. Phoenix has been doing that constantly for two games now and are being rewarded for it. Rinne is completely rattled out there. He’s slamming his stick after goals and turning the puck over on routine plays. He’s giving up huge rebounds and there tends to be a Coyote there to bury it. He gave up huge rebounds against Detroit, too, but instead of going to the net, guys like Franzen tended to glide away from traffic for some reason.
Datsyuk scored this goal because he forechecked and pressured the Nashville defense. Phoenix has been doing that for two games now and has forced dozens of turnovers. One right after the other. Where was this crappy defense when Detroit played them?
Better question: Where was this Phoenix-level of forecheck when we were playing Nashville? Why weren’t we crashing the net when we played Nashville? Detroit had the ability to beat Rinne clean about once per game, but in order to win, they really needed to get dirty. They were not willing to do that, hence the long summer.
There are other factors, of course. Nashville seems to be playing like they already accomplished their main goal of beating Detroit while Phoenix seems intent on going further. There’s also the lack of hilariously absurd good luck going Nashville’s way. No more dump-ins grazing off of 2 sticks before hitting off the post and going in. No more centering passes to no one deflecting off a dozen skates before landing on the tape of the only open skater on the ice. Nope. Can’t win 16 playoff games relying on luck. Can’t win 4 series hoping to always draw lazy teams.
Watching Phoenix match our offensive output in just 2 games sucks, but it’s also a good thing if our team is taking notes. Remember this next year, guys. When cute doesn’t get the job done, get your hands dirty.