Winning Play: Burns goes aerial

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — As the Longfellow poem goes, “One if by land, and two if by sea...and 88 if by air.”

That’s where Brent Burns (88) went to overcome the Vegas Golden Knights’ forecheck in last night’s 2-1 Game 6 double-overtime victory.

“Man, that was like four hours ago,” Logan Couture quipped, when asked about how his opening frame goal developed. “All I can remember is Timo winning the battle with Engelland, poked it over to me. I knew we only had about 10 seconds left.”

“That was also Timo Meier pushing their D back, creating space for Logan coming underneath,” Marc-Edouard Vlasic pointed out, before conceding, “All three guys made nice plays.”

The loft area pass is a tried-and-true method for countering a ferocious forecheck. This isn’t the first time in this series that the San Jose Sharks have used it to positive effect. This was just in the first six minutes of Game 1:

“Yeah, you got to go to that sometimes, if they’ve got a good forecheck and they’re covering a lot of guys. You have to create battles in the neutral zone. That one worked out,” Justin Braun said, before cautioning, “But we don’t want to go to that too often. Then they’re knocking it down, coming back at you. You still want to make tape-to-tape passes.”

Braun, of course, is right. But sometimes, you have to take what’s given. In a contest where San Jose enjoyed precious little open ice, this is how they manufactured some daylight.

Beating Fleury High Glove?

After Game 5, an exuberant Tomas Hertl “guaranteed” a Game 7. After Game 6, an equally-exuberant Hertl may have revealed his strategy for beating Marc-Andre Fleury.

“Last couple of games, I was shooting at his glove side,” Hertl said of his non-glove side overtime strike. “So maybe he was cheating on it?”

This was an intriguing revelation given the fact that “Fleury has allowed a playoff-high 8 goals, high-glove.”

On one hand, as Greg Balloch noted recently, shooters generally try to go high anyway. So perhaps this is much ado about nothing.

On the other hand, anecdotally, it appeared as if Fleury’s high glove was being targeted. Coming down the wing, Timo Meier missed at least two lasers high-glove.

It’s at least something to watch in Game 7.