LeBrun: Victims of Lightning’s previous qualifiers provide a warning of what happens next

Denver – Adjustments are coming. Recovering Kings have two days off to adjust the game plan.

Game 1 requires extra time, but let’s not kid ourselves; The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning.

That’s fine. They were crushed 5-0 in the opening game of the playoffs by the Toronto Maple Leafs and were defeated 6-2 by the New York Rangers in the Eastern District final opener.

I think we know how these two series ended.

This does not mean that bolts can go this well forever and expect to escape over and over again. Especially when they now face their strongest opponent to date, the exciting Avs team that is at 13-2 in this playoff.

But it is a guarantee that modifications are coming. That’s what John Cooper and his excellent coaching staff are all about in Tampa.

Don’t expect any panic either.

That’s something that struck me on Thursday in a conversation with New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant – how he described Lightning’s adaptive behavior after a 2-0 loss in their series.

“The most important thing about our series – they were obviously modified; we might have surprised them a little bit with the way we were playing – but I think they were really patient,” Gallant said. the athlete Over the phone. “It wasn’t just one line. Their whole team was really patient. That experience from the last two and a half years of winning all those shows. That’s a big thing. And Coop tweaked his lines after the second game, you know? They put that check streak on. He is the biggest difference in the series, but they get to trust him.

“But I think they were patient.”

Galant repeated the word “patience” several times. Imagine that you are losing 2-0 in a series and 2-0 in Game 3 and that you are the team sitting at the back who are patient, and have enough faith in their game – despite these circumstances – to believe that you will eventually force their opponents to make mistakes.

“They weren’t trying to force it,” Gallant continued. “They weren’t trying to play a penalty shootout match with the talent and skill they have. They didn’t want to play that game with us. They were really patient. We were a young team that made some mistakes. They were trying to open the way in a wide open match despite the skill they have. They played a real defensive and safe match, and it paid off.”

This is the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion, what is that. Knowing what kind of game it takes to win, even if it means being very defensive despite having all those offensive skills.

“Confidence, right? They’ve done the same to us,” said Florida Panthers coach Andrew Bronte. the athlete By phone Thursday. “They sat. When we played with them last year (in the playoffs), they probably didn’t respect us that much, but it was probably the funniest hockey I’ve ever been in. They played openly with us. They kind of got away with it – I thought we beat them.”

“This year, and a part of it might have been losing (Bryden) Point, but they were just waiting for us, sitting there, letting us beat ourselves up. The patience they had in every match…we obviously let them go ahead in every match which allowed them to have fun. With more patience, too. That was the key. Because if we could take the lead, maybe that would force them to open up.”

And that’s exactly what Tampa Bay will be ordering now. Bolt needs to find a way to slow down and thwart Avs’ high-flying machine that fired 38 shots on target in Game 1.

The solution is not to skate up and down and exchange chances with Avs. Bolts know it. And they might know it because they almost got caught doing it with the Maple Leafs in the first round.

“In the Toronto series early on, I think they played more openly and tried to take on Toronto,” Brunette noted. “And then I think they figured out: ‘Maybe we can’t. We’d better be more patient. Let’s press it. Which I especially saw in Game 7. Which they then brought into our series.”

About Foliage Series. I asked Avs head coach Jared Bednar Thursday about a video study from Tampa’s three inaugural series and what can be learned from it all.


Mitchell Marner reacts as Andrei Vasilevsky and Victor Hedman celebrate their first-round victory. (Nick Turchiaro / USA Today)

“I would say we learned a lot,” he said while in the media. “I mean, we’ve looked at all of their playoff streak. That’s where we’ve been spending the bulk of our time, going into this. We’ve seen the success Rangers have had in Game 1 and 2 – we also looked at the reasons we felt they weren’t having much success with Continuation of the streak Tampa seemed to be getting stronger and stronger in a bunch of different areas.

“They are really comfortable playing in those very scrutiny games. I think a more controlled and controlled game on their part would prefer them. There are certain things that we have to do, I think, in order to be successful, and one of the teams we looked at closely, I spent a lot of time working on it. On it, it was the Leafs. It was obviously a great series. It was a dynamic series.”

Why the great interest in this series Bdnar?

“I see a lot of similarities in the Leafs’ play, the people, with our game,” said Avs’ head coach. “And some of the things they do with their pucks in their attacking strategy, their structure, their tactics, whatever you want to call it, there are a lot of similarities. We learned that from playing against them this year. So they have a lot of success. It’s hard to score that goal at the time. Fitting against (Andrei) Vasilevsky and Tampa, the way they’re defending. But they had some really strong pushes… which we looked at really closely.”

Let me take it further than Bednar was prepared to. I think he closely watched the first-round game movie of the series for two main reasons:

1) What were the Leafs doing in an offensive and transitional form that allowed them to score three or more goals per game over Vasilevskiy in the opening six games of that series?

2) What modifications did Tampa make to win Game 6 and 7?

With that in mind, and knowing how the Bolts swept the top-scoring NHL team in Florida and came back to beat the Rangers as well, Avalanche understands the team they’re playing against here.

It’s a team that has learned to sacrifice this time of year.

Young offensive tackle Boyen Byram said of Lightning after Game 1. “They make you win everything. They do a good job of blocking the ice. They stay inside the points and defend hard. They have a lot of big D down low they play physically. We have to. Just keep the disc moving. Keep moving our legs. Make sure we get the disc behind. And I think our pre-check was really effective tonight, so let’s stick with that.”

Three years ago, Bolts would have reacted to losing Game 1 by getting out of their game plan and forcing them to attack.

This is not who they are anymore.

“The evolution of their team and how offensive it was, it’s kind of a tutorial for us, as I’ve said many times,” Brunett said. “They switched to the same offensive power five years ago or even three years ago, but they’ve learned how to push buttons and close things. What’s remarkable is their resilience in putting their bodies to the test, blocking shots, and doing whatever it takes.”

“We had clips of (Stephen) Stamkos blocking three shots in one shift,” the brunette added. “Only they understand what it takes to win and how to win and how badly they want it. It makes it very difficult. And obviously they are still a really talented team.”

Perhaps the final compliment came from Galant.

“Although Vasilevsky did well in our series, he didn’t have to be great because of the way his team played on defense and patient hockey played in front of him,” he said.


John Cooper (Kim Clement/USA Today)

It is the tip of the cap for Cooper and its modifications.

“That’s what they can do. He’s a great coach,” Gallant said. “He did a great job. You have to give him credit. They’re making minor tweaks in series.”

Modifications are coming. But Avs know that.

Buckle up, we’re in a master class of two excellent head coaches trying to cheat each other.

The next step is yours, Mr. Cooper.

(Top photo by Stephen Stamkos: Ron Chinoy/USA Today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.