Todd McLellan deployed his defensemen in an interesting way last night and it’ll be interesting to see if we see any changes for the Nashville game. There were some surprises—Oscar Klefbom missed some TC games and it showed—but their usage was fascinating in game one. There are some things that look different and that we can follow.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT…
Todd McLellan is an interesting coach. His top pairing (Sekera—Fayne) received a zone-start push and Sekera played an extra 2.5 minutes. Fayne, a veteran, played 4.5 FEWER minutes at evens than rookie Griffin Reinhart.
The second pairing (this is my assumption, lord knows what it really looks like on the whiteboard) of Oscar Klefbom—Justin Schultz had a tough night by my eye (Klef’s TC probably contributed) and were swimming on the winning goal (along with Nuge, disconnect among the trio). That pairing got the tough zone starts AND didn’t play as much with the McDavid line as I thought they would under McLellan.
The third pairing did see the Ozone a lot and with good forwards, and their possession numbers reflect it. I thought that pairing was solid defensively, less impressive with the puck and that could be a reflection of McLellan’s wanting puck movers in the defensive zone.
I’ll be interested in seeing what happens with these three pairings against Nashville, if McLellan handles them in the same way.
- Justin Schultz 2:13
- Andrej Sekera 1:34
- Mark Fayne 0:16
- Eric Gryba 0:10
- Oscar Klefbom 3:08
- Justin Schultz 2:29
- Andrej Sekera 2:24
- Mark Fayne 2:24
- Eric Gryba 1:07
- Griffin Reinhart 0:28
WHO DID THEY FACE?
The Blues most difficult lines are centered by Paul Stastny and David Backes—they’re really difficult players to battle. Here’s a look, via WAR-ON-ICE, at the EV TOI facing each center last night:
- Griffin Reinhart 6:06 (Corsi event: 9-3)
- Mark Fayne 5:49 (Corsi event: 5-5)
- Andrej Sekera 5:42 (Corsi event: 5-5)
- Oscar Klefbom 4:28 (Corsi event: 2-4)
- Justin Schultz 4:17 (Corsi event: 2-4)
- Eric Gryba 4:09 (Corsi event: 8-1)
- Griffin Reinhart 8:24 (Corsi event: 8-10)
- Eric Gryba 6:59 (Corsi event: 4-8)
- Oscar Klefbom 4:52 (Corsi event: 3-6)
- Justin Schultz 4:30 (Corsi event: 3-5)
- Mark Fayne 1:54 (Corsi event: 2-2)
- Andrej Sekera 1:12 (Corsi event: 0-1)
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Reinhart played seven minutes with Connor McDavid and the ZS’s tell us a lot of the events involving both men began in the positive end of the ice. Todd McLellan MAY have decided to run his weakest pairing (at moving the puck) with one of his two offensive lines—or maybe it just worked that way.
Is that a better plan than running Klefbom-Schultz in the O-zone to take advantage of the attacking opportunity, as Dallas Eakins did one year ago? I’m interested in your opinion. On a day where everyone agrees there wasn’t enough offense, perhaps we could look at this decision and discuss it.