Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning system has moving parts moving fast

Lightning coach Guy Boucher is breaking the mold of the prominent neutral-zone trap.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Lightning coach Guy Boucher is breaking the mold of the prominent neutral-zone trap.

Taken individually, the aspects of Lightning coach Guy Boucher's 1-3-1 system are not particularly radical, though sending two defensemen into the corners after puck carriers certainly isn't the norm. But together, the system, predicated on puck possession and a quick-strike offense, clearly is a departure from the defensive neutral-zone trap that proliferates in the league. Here is a quick primer on what to look for on the ice:

Formation: At times, especially when the opposition is slow setting up its defensive-zone breakout, the Lightning's 1-3-1 formation is clearly visible, with a forward in front, three players across the neutral zone, including a defenseman, and another defenseman trailing in the defensive zone.

Moving the puck: Many teams use defenseman-to-defenseman passes in the defensive zone to set up offensive breakouts. Boucher wants the puck in the hands of his skilled forwards as soon as possible so they can "do their magic," as he says. He also wants the attack to be fast, with the defense joining when it is safe.

Power play: This is Boucher's baby, and given the firepower he has to work with — the first unit is Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina — it could be formidable. Motion is the key. Lecavalier might start at the point but end up in a faceoff circle for a shot. Kubina might be alone on the blue line with his four teammates across the offensive zone. St. Louis could be at the point or the side wall. Gagne seems most comfortable at the side of the net, and Stamkos almost always will be in his shooting position in the left faceoff circle.

Defensive zone coverages: Keep an eye on the defensemen, who, given certain situations, are encouraged to pair up and follow puck carriers into the corners to try to stifle the attack and steal the puck. It's risk and reward; the maneuver counts on the forwards to cover areas vacated by the blue-liners. We saw clearly in a preseason game against the Blackhawks what happens if that doesn't happen. Chicago's Patrick Sharp was all alone in the front of the net for an easy goal.

Tampa Bay Lightning system has moving parts moving fast 10/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 8, 2010 12:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.