Dump And Chase
This sounds almost counter intuitive. Fans, and some pundits, generally hate the dump and chase game.
However, even the most skilled teams have to send the puck into the zone and track it down now and then. So, the team that can get this little nugget right is going to have the best chance to win.
Why is this one so important? Because of the goaltenders.
Both Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne are exceptional puck handlers. These two are some of the best since Martin Broduer, who was the man responsible for the league implementing the trapezoid to limit goaltender puck handling.
Rinne, especially, was instrumental in shutting down the Chicago Blackhawks’ offense and it was not just for shot stopping. For all their talents, the Blackhawks could not get through the neutral zone with possession.
So, they tried to dump it in and put pressure on. They could never get it cleanly around the net though and Rinne would thwart almost every chance.
Allen is a little slower out of his net, but no less adept at handling the puck. Due to this, Nashville will try more possession into the zone, which gives the Blues more chances to clog things up.
Whichever team can fling the puck around the boards with enough precision to escape the goaltender’s wrangling yet keep it in the zone, has the best chance of winning.
That team will have more offensive zone time. They will have more chances to score and tire out defenses that are predicated on speed and precision.
It will be tough. A rim around seems like an easy task, but with goaltenders trained to stop pucks even on the boards rim, it is not as simple as it sounds.