Silver Nuggets: Trustache

Sure, why not play him on the wing with ZACK SMITH AND CHRIS NEIL!? - Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

He's gotten plenty of attention for his mind games this series, but Paul MacLean continues to make in-game decisions that prove he's one of the best coaches in the league.

Firstly, what a freaking game. I'm not sure we deserved that one, the Montreal Canadiens played a smart, focused and fairly disciplined game. They gave the Senators all they could handle through 40 minutes.

Then the Senators came to life, and while Habs fans will tell you (through wracking sobs) that it was given to them by the referees, I prefer to point to two seemingly strange coaching decisions made by Paul MacLean that really proved to be key in the Senators improbable comeback.

Now, before I start, I know that I should just always Trustache. The guy has shown time and time again that he knows his players, he makes smart adjustments in-game and that when he tries something, it usually works. And yet, when he put out a line of Mika Zibanejad, Zack Smith and Chris Neil, I was more than a little puzzled for a number of reasons:

  1. I have never seen that line before. Ever.
  2. Mika Zibanejad has played centre (and played very well there) almost the entire season.
  3. Chris Neil and Zack Smith aren't really the offensive minded players Mika is used to playing with.
  4. I love him and he doesn't give a crap that I'm saying this, but Zack Smith hasn't played very well in this series.

And yet, of course, this is the line that generates the goal that turns things around. He kept the line together for the last eight minutes of the game, and it was one of the best. I don't understand it, and he probably won't go back to it next game, but hell did it work.

The other decision of course, is the Cory Conacher decision. After making a pretty brutal giveaway in the second period that directly lead to the Alex Galchenyuk goal, he did not see the ice much and was well on his way to another night as a healthy scratch. He had played just two shifts in the third period, when inexplicably, he was the 6th attacker when Craig Anderson was pulled late in the game. Sure enough, little CC was the one to tie the game and send it to overtime.

When asked about it (in his must see post game press conference), MacLean simply said "you have to put the right guys on the ice".

He seems to always know who those right guys are. Its nice to have a coach who is dominating this series.

Sens Links

  • Game Recaps! The HEOtP one is.... interesting. [Parisicap] [HEOtP] [Milks] [WFP] [Warren]
  • Kyle Turris goal was a little Déja Vu [CBC]
  • Post game quotes and other fun. [SE]
  • Scoring chances from game 3 in which Erik Karlsson was on the ice for 15 of 20 total Sens chances. [6thSens]
  • Euge gets a little creative with his money, sending a limo to pick up a little girl who was not allowed to wear her Sens jersey in Quebec. [SE]
  • Speaking of Euge, here is a transcribed interview with him. For once, he tries to keep himself out of trouble and seems pretty aware of the joke he can sometimes be. [6thSens]

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