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Bulldogs vs Rampage scoring chances and game analysis

The Bulldogs are a work in progress right now...

Nattinen is Olivier's favourite
Nattinen is Olivier's favourite
Tom Szczerbowski

Well, they did take it where the sun doesn't shine.

Overall, scoring chances were +12/-24 at even strength, +3/-5 on special teams.

At even strength (so no Special teams nor empty net situations) when the score was even, Dogs were out-chanced +2/-6, +9/-16 while leading and +1/-2 while trailing.

As I said, sun not shining where the Rampage did their thing. Part of the learning process, I guess. Youth experiencing things, regretting it the morning after, y'know, that kind of stuff.

The whole defensive zone play seemed utmostly weird to me. The forwards often fall back way down low, basically crowding the lower scoring chance area and often, you get two D-men chasing the puck in the corner with the center standing back around the net. This, I think, is by design and I'm not sure they've been playing that way since the beginning of the season. I'm throwing this out there, but there seems to be some kind of tactical adjustment going on and the kids are struggling with it. Or maybe they are just running around aimlessly.

Also, Lefebvre isn't really zone matching right now and I'm not sure he's line matching either. It looks like he's still trying to find suitable roles for every player. Injuries to Aaron Palushaj and Blake Geoffrion, sending Darryl Boyce away and stuff like that certainly doesn't help, but they are working at it. Patrick Holland centering Gallagher and Blunden seems pretty much set and it looks like Bournival has been switched to left wing, which in turn means Lefebvre must now see what Chaput and Fortier can do. My guess is Leblanc/Dumont are staying together and then it's a matter of fitting wingers and centers together.

Numbers are: Scoring Chances For / Scoring chances against, Offensive Zone FO/ Neutral Zone FO / Defensive zone FO. Sorry if it's a bit of a mess...

The lines are in order of appearance in the game.

Chaput (#10), Bournival (#18) and Nattinen (#23)

Player Chances+ Chances- Off. Zone FO Neu. Zone FO Def. Zone FO
Together +4 -4 +3 1 -4
10 +5 -5 +5 1 -9
18 +4 -6 +7 3 -5
23 +6 -6 +5 1 -8

Nattinen had 3 scoring chances by himself, was instrumental on Blunden's goal and played a very strong game. Also, he was playing center between Blunden/Brendan Gallagher on the PP's 1st wave in the 3rd period. Buddy is trending up and me likey, cuz I saw him good™ and Christopher Boucher's early scouting reports were not good, so I was wondering. But it may have been in part due to playing with Zack Stortini and Kyle Hagel. What I really like about Nattinen is how he never lets the play die in the offensive zone, very, very good on the forecheck. Him and Michael Bournival are a load on opposing D's.

Hagel (#15), Leblanc (#20), Dumont (#40)

Player Chances+ Chances- Off. Zone FO Neu. Zone FO Def. Zone FO
Together +2 -1 +2 2 -0
15 +3 -3 +3 3 -0
20 +3 -8 +7 4 -1
40 +4 -5 +7 4 -3

I like the idea of Gabriel Dumont and Louis Leblanc together and Dumont was playing C, but they had a pretty horrid game overall. Louis did deke a Rampage D-Man out of his jockstrap early on and Dumont had some nice forays into the scoring chances area, but they got rolled back into their zone way too often.

Blunden (#14), Gallagher (#17), Holland (#37)

Player Chances+ Chances- Off. Zone FO Neu. Zone FO Def. Zone FO
Together +2 -4 +4 3 -4
14 +3 -5 +5 3 -10
17 +2 -7 +5 5 -6
37 +2 -7 +5 5 -4

The nominal first line lately, IMHO. Lefebvre gave them quite a few defensive zone starts and man did they take it on the chin. I like that they are converting Holland to C and Blunden can help too, but at this point, if you don't deploy them as an O-Zone punch line, they stink. I find it interesting that Lefebvre is also leaning on Holland as a 4th forward kind of guy, playing the point on the PP and playing D when they are trailing late in the game. I'm a sucker for those "jack of all trades" type of things.

Stortini (#12), Quailer (#13) and Fortier (#16)

Player Chances+ Chances- Off. Zone FO Neu. Zone FO Def. Zone FO
Together +0 -2 +4 2 -0
12 +1 -5 +5 3 -0
13 +1 -8 +5 4 -1
16 +2 -7 +7 3 -1

What a mess. Protected, beaten into a pulp. Who knows, maybe this turns into an effective unit down the line, once Olivier Fortier gets used to the AHL's pace, but right now...

Beaulieu (#8), Ellis (#44)

Player Chances+ Chances- Off. Zone FO Neu. Zone FO Def. Zone FO
Together +2 -7 +3 7 -2
8 +2 -9 +6 7 -4
44 +5 -9 +5 8 -5

Man, they were all over the place... Chaos. Nathan Beaulieu is carrying the puck *a lot* now and you can tell the other guys are looking for him, but last night that turned into a broken play orgy. And it wasn't because of a line in particular; they gave a chance against with pretty much every regular line on the ice. Oh well. Carry on. These two could make a very nice 3rd pairing on the big club next year.

Tinordi (#5), St-Denis (#32)

Player Chances+ Chances- Off. Zone FO Neu. Zone FO Def. Zone FO
Together +2 -7 +9 2 -3
5 +4 -9 +10 2 -5
32 +2 -8 +13 2 -8

So the whole top-4 took a beating. Great. And our "defensive" pairing tumbled downhill while getting a shit-ton of offensive zone starts. Again: great. They gave up 3 scoring chances while paired with Stefan Chaput, Michael Blunden and Joonas Nattinen after an O-Zone faceoff, which kinda sucks. But, again, carry on. It's not like one of these guys in the top-4 will lose their status because of that, and I'm fine with it.

Nash (#4), Wild (#26)

Player Chances+ Chances- Off. Zone FO Neu. Zone FO Def. Zone FO
Together +5 -6 +4 3 -3
4 +5 -7 +6 4 -5
26 +6 -6 +4 3 -3

Friday night, I thought Brendan Nash looked pretty bad and Corbin/Wild were thoroughly trounced, so I was, uh, "apprehensive" about those two, but they stayed out of trouble. It seemed to me they got pinned into their own zone a lot, but then again everyone was, so... My guess is Cody Wild is out of there as soon as Mike Commodore gets back, but he was far less of a nuisance this time around. I have no idea what to think of Nash; he looks more weird than bad, but with Greg Pateryn gone for a wile, he'll get ice time, so we'll what comes out of it.