Having the forwards hang back and help the defense out with the short passes through the neutral zone really helped counter the Shark's neutral zone floor checking. The Sharks fought just as hard in the middle and the early part of the transition, but this time the Aves played it steady and the extra support really, really helped keep the pressure to a point where it could be handled.
Given that this solidified the defense, made fewer passes hard to get out of their zone and easy to turn back, and it pulled the Shark's defense forward to try and help their forwards a bit, it seemed. So it made the Ave's breakaways that much more effective when they could be mounted.
If I ever need to be reminded that home advantage includes the calls, seeing someone break a stick over Kasperitus' arm when he didn't even have the puck and have no call happen is all I needed. It really is part of the game, but sometimes I still get mad at it.
Forsberg's pass to Blake was just *so* sweet. Both John and I were laughing at the 'soccer style' pass, where the back player just punts it over the defense while the forward person is just streaking for it. It was sweet to see. It was also very sweet seeing the one goal that the Sharks did get in the first two periods was a power play goal. It meant that the Aves' defense was up to the task. Though they always seem to play much better with their backs up against the wall, there's always the memory of the fall just before...
It was interesting, too, seeing how much emphasis the media made of Roy losing the one goal in game 3 to being out of the crease, when he does it all the time; and, from what I've seen, he starts more good breakaways, rushes, and does a great job, most of the time, of turning the flow of the game by playing the puck. His aggressive ability to play the puck even outside of his goal is cause for some to have heart attacks, but it results in more goals for his team than goals against him in the long run. And Roy is nothing less than a good odds player. But people seem to only remember when he gets one against him. There were nearly a dozen attacks last night and two goals that happened, in part, because Roy was out and getting the puck to someone that could get it moving and out of his zone.
I am also very glad of super Joe.
That third goal did take the wind out of the Shark's sails. In game 1, when the Aves were so far behind, they still rallied and got it really close before their fatigue just set it. It was interesting to see the difference.