In Thursday’s edition of Daily live face-to-face, hosts Tyler Yaremchuk and Mike McKenna were joined by QMJHL Cape Breton Eagles coach Jon Goyens. The coach analyzed the strategic aspects of the conference final matchups, which were surprisingly unbalanced. Goyens showed that the Florida Panthers’ adjustments to the forecheck reduced the Hurricanes’ chances on the run; without high danger odds, Carolina couldn’t solve Sergei Bobrovsky as they were swept 4-0.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Jon, a week ago we sat here and prepared for what we thought were two long and grueling conference finals. Well, it’s a week later and one team, the Florida Panthers, has already qualified for the Stanley Cup Finals. Last week it was all about the main Battlegrounds, and I wanted to ask you what the Panthers did so well in this series.
Jon Goyens: It was obvious that going into it last week, their success would be tied to forechecking, forechecking, forechecking. The one area of the forecheck that could have hurt Florida was the one they vastly improved on: getting caught in odd-man rushes.
On special teams, it was obvious they won that battle at 4/14 in Florida to 2/14 at the Hurricanes. Their shots from the slot machine were reduced by 4 per game, but ultimately limiting odd rushes was a big adjustment to the Panthers forecheck. At the start of the playoffs, they were so aggressive everywhere. They were constantly pinching or getting caught in situations where they were hoping and pushing to trap the puck. It was continuous; Florida was one of the worst teams in terms of rushes against odds.
You watch the game last night, and when they lost a face-off, they would reload their forwards and come back. They halved their rushes against an odd. In fact, last night they only gave up one. Want to win a playoff series and only give up one odd man rush in a closing game? So you’ve found the recipe for success on the forecheck.
You can watch the entire episode now…