Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

D-zone coverage improving

Jets shut down Devils, Isles to win first two on road trip

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THE SITUATION:

  • The game is scoreless in the first period of Wednesday night's 3-2 Jets win on Long Island when the puck is in the corner of the Jets' zone, to the left of goaltender Al Montoya.

 

THE KEY:

  • Prevent a scoring chance, particularly a pass into 'The House' -- the homeplate area in front of the net.

 

THE JETS' RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Stuart (5) is first to contain the man with the puck on the wall.
  • Little (18) is the second layer of support.
  • Ladd (16) comes down low and closes the boards off while also insuring the D-man on his side doesn't sneak deeper into the zone.
  • Wheeler (26) creeps over to the hashmark to make sure a a pass doesn't come across the slot to the other defenceman and is a third layer of support in case there is a breakdown around Stuart and Little.
  • Ellerby (7) stays in front of the net and has support from Wheeler. Should the puck be sent around to the other corner he would attack with Stuart coming over for support in front.

 

J.P. SAYS:

"There's been an improvement in this since the beginning of the year in the details. It's a big reason why they've been able to keep the Islanders and New Jersey to two goals or less and make some of their top offensive players not quite as effective in the Jets' zone.

"The key is you don't want to spread out defensively and in the last couple of games in particular the Jets have done a good job of staying compact. They've taken the zone and broken it into quadrants. Here they've contained the (lower, right-side) quadrant by having their five guys to the Islanders' two (in the corner). It's unlikely whoever the opposition is will be able to beat five guys.

"There is one layer of D-zone coverage with Mark, two with Bryan, third with either Blake or Ellerby coming in.

"It's very difficult for the offensive player (with puck) to find anybody open. So usually it ends up with containing the battle in the corner or a turnover for the Jets to come out."

 

J.P. Vigier, who grew up in Notre Dame de Lourdes, is a former NHL winger (Atlanta Thrashers, 2000-07) who finished his career in the Swiss league. He is part of TSN 1290's Jets broadcasts and teaches power skating and skill development for kids of all ages (jeanvigier11@gmail.com).


-- Ed Tait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 29, 2013 C2

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