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From the Monsters Desk: Week 27 - 10 D in a 6 D box

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The beloved Monsters have a busy week with 4 games, 3 on the road, and still hold some hope of making the playoffs. Tonight they visit the Chicago Wolves at the Rosemont Horizon and come home for a Thursday night game against the detested Amerks.

News

- Chris Bigras signed an ATO with Lake Erie on Monday after he and Owen Sound were eliminated over the weekend. Not like LEM need 10 defensemen but the more the merrier I guess.

- Avs prospects Julien Nantel (Rouyn-Noranda), Conner Bleackley (Red Deer) and Nick Magyar (Kitchener) were also eliminated over the weekend and have a chance to join the Monsters for some practice. I don't think there will be any practices until next week however.

- Rumors out of Germany have the Avs possibly signing gigantic forward Andreas Martinsen for next season, almost assuredly for the AHL to start.

- Former Monsters captain Bryan Lerg was called up to the Sharks yesterday but did not make his NHL debut.

Playoff Picture

The playoff cut stands right  between 84 and 85 points, the Monsters are at 74 with 7 to play. They need:

6+ wins

5-1-1 (maybe 5-2-0)

4-0-3 (maybe 4-1-2)

(maybe 3-0-4)

3 losses definitely ends it all, probably just 2.

Recap - Marlies

As I outlined in last week's incoherent rant, when you sit on a lead and try to play PK for a period of more - you lose. Guess what happened Friday night against the Marlies? The Monsters tried to sit on a lead again - and lost.

"Experience shows, and certain guys tightened up…"

A quote from Coach Dean after another 3rd period collapse in a big game. He’s somewhat right, there were a few players that had a rough time in the 3rd/OT but once again we saw a tactical change with the lead that led to a loss. The defense added a few feet to their gaps, the forecheck/neutral zone scheme backed off from a 2-1-2 to a 1-1-3, the opponent’s zone exits were no longer contested and chipping the puck out instead of making passes became the default play. The Monsters have gotten lucky a few times this year playing a 20-30 minute PK with the lead but it’s a terrible strategy over the long run.

What I don’t understand is why it has to happen. When a team can dominate like LEM did in the 2nd periods of the last 2 games, why would you change anything at all? Don’t play to the score, play like the game hinges on the next goal, because it probably does.

Another reason this is happening is the fact that there are only 3 forward lines, which also sits squarely on the staff. If you think that 9 or 10 guys can go balls out for 20 minutes each, you’re nuts! They will get tired, and when you need them the most they’re going to be out of gas. 4 games straight now we’ve seen this and the results have gotten progressively worse. STOP!

Preview - Wolves/Amerks

The Big Kahuna here at MHH, Mr Cole Hamilton, is jacked up about going to the big game tonight. Hopefully the LEM staff will give him a good one for a change. And there's actually a good chance of that, the Monsters have slaughtered the Wolves anytime someone not named Roman Will has been in net. LEM look to close out the season series against the Blues affiliate with a 6-2-0 record. Let's do that!

Rochester is another story. Lake Erie has lost all 3 games against the North Division bottom-feeders by a combined 14-4 score. That sucks, I hate the fucking Amerks. Plz win 1 guys.

Lines/pairs from Fridays game:

Bourke/Heard/Vinny
Aggz/Street/Petey
Moose*/Cheek/Ryan
Schumi/Smitty

Duncan/Stef
Youds/Clark
Corbett/Bruno
Geertsen

Picks
Sami

Scratched: Meurs, Beaupre, Maggio
Injured: Noreau (UBI), Henley (UBI)

For the 4th game in a row, the staff could come up with nothing better than the idea of dressing 10 forwards and 8 defenseman. As noted above, this just results in tired forwards and blown leads. Now that Bigras is with the team, I'm wondering if there will be pressure on Dean to play him. And Geertsen. And Duncan. Like all in the same game and everything. Assuming the Avs also want to continue to see new acquisitions Clark and Youds in the lineup and there's no way you can bench Elliott's offense. Hmm, that could leave the AHL Man of the Year with another mystery injury if all goes right. Let's hope so.

Schedule

Tuesday night at Chicago 8:00pm in the ET, radio on WKNR

Thursday night vs Rochester 7:00pm in the ET, radio on WKNR

Links

Stats

Standings

Preview from LEM

Next up

Off to beautiful Glens Falls, NY for a weekend set against the Flames

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Both contests precede Avs games so stop by and see if Bruno gets the boot. I'll have all the deets here and on twitter. Enjoy!