By Dennis Allen, Jr.
Friday night the Amerks suffered a debilitating 3-2 loss to the Devils. Their third period collapse is only the latest example of the team’s inability to put together 60 minutes of good hockey. Captain Cal was by far the best player of the night for Rochester. He was a team best 19 of 26 in the face-off circle and assisted on the second goal. The defensive pairing of Burgdoerfer and Mullen also played very well. Burgdoerfer is unquestionably the best defenseman on the roster, and it shows every time he steps out on the ice.
Patrick Mullen played a very steady mistake free game. I am going to rate his performance a B-. The Devils weren’t able to give Mullen much work; but he performed admirably when called upon. Late in the third the newest Amerk made what looked to be a game saving stop from his knees when Ullmark was pulled out of the crease.
Offensively, Mullen showed bright spots, but ultimately wasn’t able to do enough to be impactful. He was very conservative passing the puck to start the breakout. Most times he was unable to find the stick of a forward and left the task of starting the breakout to Burgdoerfer. When #7 got adventurous he actually made a few really nice stretch passes. One of which was a long distance lob that Dupuy was able to skate onto in the offensive zone. The biggest flaw of Mullen’s game was his shooting. Of his six attempts, three were blocked and one sailed over the net missing by a country mile. Of the two that required a save, only one of them forced a rebound. As a power play point-man, that is just not good enough. Considering he has limited ability to skate the puck through the neutral zone, I’m not sure he was the best fit for that role.
Defensively, Mullen played a much better game and was at his best around the Amerks net. He did a fantastic job stick lifting forwards in front of Ullmark. During a scramble he kept a cool head making a nice kick save with Linus out of the net. Mullen also played very well on the point, making a couple strong poke checks on the enemy blue line. He picked the right moments to pinch and did a good job supporting Burgdoerfer when he decided to push up. However, he was not as consistent on the rush. When in good position, Mullen did a great job separating his man from the puck and eliminating him from the play. But when caught on his heels, he was unable to cut down the angle well enough to prevent a shot.
Overall Mullen definitely benefited from playing with Burgdoerfer. If they can continue to shut down good teams the two have potential to become a very strong top defensive pairing. Going forward, I would like him to be more courageous passing the puck and get more of his shots to the net cleanly. He has already proved to be a worthwhile addition to a particularly anemic defensive unit.
Lets Go Amerks contributor Dennis Allen Jr. will be posting a scouting report on a different player each home game (and the odd road game) he attends. You can see his previous scouting reports at: http://rocscouting.blogspot.com …… and be sure to follow him @RocScout14