Veteran Line Having Positive Effect
Audio Courtesy Ken Hitchcock
Photo Courtesy AP
Much has been made of how the Blues have limited some of the NHL’s best, during this playoff run. Patrick Kane: just one goal. Jonathan Toews: 0 goals. Jamie Benn: 1 goal. It’s a trend that’s not happening my mistake.
The David Backes, Patrick Berglund, and Alexander Steen line has obviously been very productive on the offensive end. Backes is tied for the playoff team lead in goals and points, while Steen and Berglund have four goals apiece. Those numbers speak for themselves. But it’s the subtlety of how these 3 match-up against the opponents top lines that may ultimately be more important.
“When you put a line like that together, you’re putting it (together) to play against top players,” explained Ken Hitchcock on Tuesday morning, just hours in front of game 2.
It’s a sacrifice that Hitchcock makes, under the assumption that this line will be playing much of the game in its own end.
“I would say 75% of the game the line is going to be in its own zone. You’re not going to play that line against Toews, Benn or Thornton, and not expect that you’re going to have to defend.”
“For two series now, we’ve played that line against significant people,” Hitchcock continued. “We’ll probably change on the road to get a different match-up.”
One word that Hithcock used a lot, is “comfortable.” This line has looked more than comfortable neutralizing some of the game’s best. You still have to assume that the likes of Thornton, Joe Pavelski, or Patrick Marleau will get theirs, but if they’re grinding against the Backes, Berglund, Steen line, maybe “theirs” will continue to be fewer and farther between.