Monday, October 31, 2016

Blues' penalty killing keeps them in games

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock will talk about everything. Except penalty kill his team.

Ken, your penalty kill ...

"I do not want to talk," he said last week.

Is that a bad omen?

"I do not wanna talk about it."

It did not seem to miss a beat Rick Wilson supported for Brad Shaw ...

"I do not want to talk. Next question."

You have to give the guy credit, Blackhawks Jersey, because nine games into the season, Hitchcock managed not bewitched his unit. The Blues have killed 31 of the 33 occasions in advantage for the opponents so far this season, a success rate of 93.9 percent, which is the second best in the league behind only Minnesota, 96.2. There is one year, the Blues were third at 85.1, the year before they were seventh at 83.7 and the year before, to 85.7 second. From the start of the 2011-12 season, Hitchcock took over 13 games now, the Blues were the best team in the league on the PK, stop the opponent from 85.1 percent of the time .

The penalty kill was front and center again on Saturday night, when the Blues have killed five penalties (for the second straight game) and spent 9 minutes, 38 seconds - about 1 / 6th of the game - with a player and less on the ice as kings. For 22 seconds of this 9:38, the Blues had two players less. They do not allow a goal, they could not afford to make in what turns out to be a 1-0 win.

"It's just work, work, work, battle, battle, battle," said the goalkeeper Jake Allen. "It's five against three and is usually never enough but we had to."

Fortunately, Hitchcock's players are much more open to talking about the penalty kill, and they all point to Allen and his backup, Carter Hutton, as the key of the Blues power play. Allen saved 10 shots on the power play against the Kings and his save percentage on the PK is the best in the league among goalies with over three games at .977, having allowed only one goal against 42 shots.

Although there was some concern that the loss of assistant coach Brad Shaw, who for years oversaw the unit successful, could lead to a drop off, there was barely a blip with new assistant Rick Wilson supported. One reason is this: The coach may be new, but the players are not. Other than David Perron, everyone killing penalties this season killed the last season, and many of them the year before.

"A lot of that is just a little rooted in the guys in the way we played in the past," said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who played a team high 5:34 on the kill on Saturday. "Kill sanctions is simply to work. You have to be smart and be in the right position, but more often, it is work and win battles and washers put ice. I think we would take a less penalties, but it is good when you kill them. At the end of the day your goalie is always your best penalty killer and Jake come with big saves. "

Although there are changes in the video sessions and preparation, on the ice, it is largely the same system that was in place under Shaw.

"There are not many things to change," Bouwmeester said. "Most teams even killing penalties. Essentially, you try to keep the chances to a minimum, keep all outside, block some shots and clean stuff around the net. Duncan Keith Jersey. One thing that we have always been very good at putting pressure on the ice and not let teams come and set up in our area really easy. I think we did a good job on some of them (against the Kings) where they were going back to the washers and frustrates guys. "

"We're doing it as a group," forward Jaden Schwartz said. "Everybody is kind of doing their part. We get rapid change, fresh legs. The guys are proud of the penalty kill here. It is great because we get the points. "

The unit had a slow start when he gave a goal on his first time on the ice in the season opener against Chicago - "We were kind of thinking at that time," Uh oh, this is not a good thing, "center Kyle Brodziak said - but they are entitled to one since then, when a cramp in the brain and some have led to excessive enthusiasm all four players on the ice terminating along the boards, leaving a player of Calgary alone in the slot. apart from that, the unit did a good job of sticking to its responsibilities.

"We all just bought the same page," said Allen. "The guys sacrifice for each other. Guys do not try to do too much. A lot of times, less is more in situations like celle- it. you are taken positions at times when you are running around. If you can stay tight and stay in good positions, limiting the team not much, it usually works. "

"I think the guys did a good job of recognizing when the right time is to be aggressive," said Brodziak, killing penalties for Wilson when they were both in Minnesota. "We have a structure that we like to take in at the break on the power play. We try to create our trigger points from there and it worked so far. ... A lot of it is the confidence too. There can be no second guessing. you have to trust that everyone will do their job and you take care of you and everybody was with it so far. "

No team has killed more than 88 percent of his opponent's power plays in one of the last five seasons, so chances are the unity of the Blues will not be able to follow the numbers they have, regardless of whether Hitchcock wants to talk about it. Corey Crawford Jersey. But now, when the Blues have scored just one goal in three consecutive games, all they can do to keep the score low will help them to get points.

"It is a building block for us," said Allen. "It is a donor momentum. It gives us hope for sure ".

Next question.

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