Game 2: Stay Out of the Box and Play Physical Near the Net

It’s only game two of a seven game series tonight between the Amerks and Heat but it’s possibly one of the most important games.  If the Heat win and return home for three games everything is in their favor.  If the Amerks win the series starts over as a best of five with three straight in Abbotsford and the Heat are not as good on home ice.  I’m heading down to the arena shortly for the morning skate and hopefully it’s not the last.

The game plan should be pretty simple, stay out of the penalty box, create some battles in front of David Shantz and do not let Keith Seabrook shoot the puck from the blue line.  Seabrook had two goals on Thursday night, the first and the game winner.

Attendance should be better tonight for game two at 7:05pm at Blue Cross Arena.  The Red Wings are scheduled to open their season today at home but the weather does not look to be very baseball like.  Pass the word, get some fans in the building to cheer on the hometown team.  The Sabres play at 1pm so keep the day going with more WNY playoff hockey!

A few other things….

** If you read this before 10am tune in to ESPN Radio 950am for The Blue Line Radio Show.  I’ll be a guest on at around 10:25 or so and you can hear me talk Amerks hockey with host Matthew Coller.

** The two Amerks goals on Thursday night were scored as a result of Graham Mink tying up opposing players in front of their net and getting the puck free.  If he can keep that up and it’s something he’s great at we’ll see more goals scored.

** Tyler Plante is definitely getting the start in net tonight.  He should have been the starter on Thursday, but that game is in the past and tonight is his night to shine.

** Panthers GM Randy Sexton has told players like Shawn Matthias, Michal Repik and Jason Garrison that how they perform in the playoffs will go a long way towards determining their futures with the Panthers.  George Richards of the Miami Herald wrote the story with those details, check it out here.

** Staying out of the penalty box has been an issue for the Amerks all season but it’s been the same way for the Abbotsford Heat who had more penalty minutes than any other team in the league.  I don’t think anything will really change but the key will be the power play unit but also scoring five on five.  Easier said than done.

** The loss on Thursday night was depressing to fans but the players were not down on themselves.  They lost but they did not back down from the Heat and who knows what the outcome would have been with a different starting goalie for the Amerks.  It’s a seven game series and tonight they have a chance to redeem themselves.

See you at the game tonight!