|Fun with 1-3-1: How the Lightning beat teams in the neutral zone||05.09.11 at 3:56 pm ET|
WILMINGTON ‘ It’s spoken about as though it’s legend: the vaunted Tampa Bay 1-3- 1. It’s the key to Guy Boucher‘s success, and the reason why the Lightning are in the Eastern Conference finals. It can make opposing teams crumble ‘ just ask the Capitals. It sure is something.
But, um, what is it?
Since it seems it will be a matter of days before the Lightning and Bruins actually meet in the conference finals, there’s plenty of time to explain.
The 1-3-1 is a neutral zone scheme employed by the Lightning, and it seems to be a variation of the popular ‘trap’ system. Teams that play a trap style put one man on the puck, backed by essentially two guys behind him, and two defensemen back. Think of it as a 1-2-2 for the sake of understanding the differences.
In the 1-3-1, there is only one man hanging back, with three guys between the guy playing the puck and the last defenseman. For a fantastically in-depth look at Tampa’s 1-3-1, check out this lesson from the Japer’s Rink blog in DC.
The purpose of the 1-3-1 is to push the play toward the boards. If the first guy can do that, the three skaters in front of the man back (or ‘free safety’ as the blog likens it to), can make it very difficult for the team bringing it through the neutral zone to find seams. If turnovers can be created as a result, suddenly the team bringing the puck through the neutral zone is in big trouble.
‘If you get caught flat-footed I think you are playing into their strength,’ Claude Julien said after Monday’s practice. ‘If you create turnovers you are obviously going to pay for it so those are two of the main things you have to be careful about when they play that system.
‘When I say we saw Montreal sit back, but I think they sit back even more. And they are even deeper so the one thing they do is once they turn that puck over they counter quickly. It’s going to be really important that we minimize those and obviously you have to create some speed through the neutral zone because standing still you’re a dead duck.’
We’ll have more on the 1-3-1 and which Bruin could be instrumental in the 1-3-1.
|Claude Julien: Adam McQuaid ‘should be back’ for Game 1 vs. Lightning||05.08.11 at 12:42 pm ET|
Though the Bruins are going to be without center Patrice Bergeron (concussion) for at least the beginning of their Eastern Conference finals matchup with the Lightning, they will likely see one player return from injury. On Sunday, coach Claude Julien echoed general manager Peter Chiarelli‘s comments from a day earlier, telling reporters that the team expects to have Adam McQuaid back in the lineup.
“McQuaid should be back for the start of the series,” Julien told reporters. “Things are looking really good for him.”
McQuaid has been out for the Bruins since leaving Game 2 of the conference semifinals in the first period. The rookie defenseman went head-first into the boards after tripping over his stick on an attempted hit on Flyers forward Mike Richards.
|How Zdeno Chara shut down Flyers and why it matters against Lightning||05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET|
Before their Eastern Conference semifinal series, there was lots written and said about how much trouble the Bruins would have stopping the high-powered Philadelphia offense.
After all, the Flyers led the East in the regular season with 259 goals, behind only Vancouver and Detroit in the entire NHL. Against Buffalo in the first round, Philly scored five goals in three of its four wins and four in the other, all against Ryan Miller, one of the elite goalies in the sport.
But the Bruins didn’t blink, after allowing three goals ‘ two in garbage time ‘ in Game 1, the Flyers scored just four the rest of the way in getting outscored 20-7 in the Bruins sweep.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said every Bruins player understood what was expected in “the system.”
“It was big,” Chara said. “I thought eventually in Games 3 and 4 they started to find a way of creating speed through the neutral zone. But I thought the first two games, we completely took that away from them.”
Danny Briere, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk scored in Game 1. Van Riemsdyk accounted for both Philly tallies in Game 2. Andrej Meszaros scored a harmless goal in Game 3 and Kris Versteeg scored in Game 4.
As much as Bruins fans will soak in the feeling of avenging last year’s playoff collapse to the Flyers, Bruins coach Claude Julien made it clear that he won’t let his team do the same for very long as the Tampa Bay Lightning await in the Eastern Conference finals beginning at TD Garden next week.
“Well, it’s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year,” Julien said of last year’s 4-3 Game 7 loss to Philadelphia after a 3-0 series lead. “Even though we tried to turn the page, we were reminded everyday in this series. And it’s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series.
“I thought we played extremely well. It’s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it’s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.”
The Bruins have won eight-of-nine since falling behind the Canadiens, 2-0, in the opening round.
|Adam McQuaid skates, doing better||05.06.11 at 5:56 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid took the ice Friday morning, according to coach Claude Julien. McQuaid has been out with a sprained neck since leaving Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in the first period after crashing head-first into the boards attempting to hit Mike Richards.
“He’s getting better,” Julien said of McQuaid. “He skated this morning, and things are looking positive.”
Shane Hnidy filled in for McQuaid in Game 3, playing 2:38. He will be in the lineup again for Game 4.
|Claude Julien: Bruins ‘not sitting comfortable by any means’||05.05.11 at 1:46 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien has had to note time and time again that his team is not the same club that blew a 3-0 series lead against he Flyers a season ago. Now up three games to none on Philadelphia, Julien stressed following Thursday’s practice that the B’s are by no means relaxing with the lead.
“This is a group that feels like it has to continue playing the way it has been, and we’re a determined group right now,” Julien said. “We’re certainly not sitting comfortable by any means. We never have, whether it was the last round or whatever.
“We have the right mindset, I think, as we speak, and we know the [importance] of tomorrow’s game and what it means. We’ll be prepared for that.”
The Bruins can sweep the series Friday at TD Garden. Should they eliminate Philadelphia, the B’s will host the Lightning in Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer, who began skating this week for the first time since sustaining a knee injury on April 9 in an AHL game, still isn’t ready to return to the lineup. At any rate, he’s just happy to be back on the ice. On Thursday he practiced with the team for the first time since the injury.
“It’s good to get back out there. It’s been long couple of weeks sitting by and watching, but it’s good to get back out there skating and skating with the guys especially,” Kampfer said Thursday. “It’s definitely a perk. It’s moving ahead, but it’s always slow [progression] at this time.
“I’ve still go to talk to the doctors and everything. I’m just kind of cleared just to skate around to test and see how everything is. The flow drills are I’ve been cleared for, so I’ve got to see the doctors again before we make any decisions.”
As for how he feels out on the ice, Kampfer said that he still feels “the occasional pull,” but that he “wouldn’t be out there if everything wasn’t OK.”
Kampfer spent about a day and a half on crutches after a knee-on-knee collision with a Springfield Falcons player while on an assignment to Providence to get some playing time. General manager Peter Chiarelli figured at the time that the rookie defenseman would be out for “at least two weeks,” and just less than a month later, he remains out. Coach Claude Julien likes the progress he’s seen, but doesn’t expect to see Kampfer being in a position to jump in the lineup if need be just yet.
“We had no contact in our drills, so [Thursday] was a very good skate for him. We’re moving forward as we’re being told by our medical staff,” Julien said after the practice. “He’s looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it, but he’s not ready.”
Had Kampfer been healthy, it’s possible he could have played in a pair of playoff games to this point. He was going to be healthy scratch for the start of the playoffs, but with Zdeno Chara missing Game 2 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens and Adam McQuaid out with a sprained neck, Shane Hnidy has gotten the call to fill in twice. Kampfer, who played in 38 regular season games, isn’t trying to think about what could have been.
“You can think about it, but at the same time, we have eight capable guys who can play. I thought Hnidy did a great job. That’s why we have depth and why this team is so strong. We have guys who can fill in at any time. It’s a good situation that we have eight D that are ready to go. Obviously it was an unfortunate incident that happened to Adam, but it looks like everything’s going to be OK.”
As for McQuaid,the 24-year-old defenseman did not skate Thursday and remains day-to-day. Julien noted that he has been encouraged by how he’s come along since leaving Game 2 after spraining his neck trying to hit Mike Richards.
“He is definitely getting better,” Julien said. “I know we are still saying day-to-day, but there is improvement in him and we are getting very optimistic that things are going to happen quicker than later. Right now we are just keeping our fingers crossed. He seems to be doing well, and hopefully we will have better news here in the next few days.”