The Journal Gazette
Friday, April 19, 2019 2:30 pm

Key for K's in Game 4: Clear the crease

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

First of all, Happy Steve Yzerman Day, y’all. (He’s back with the Detroit Red Wings.) Secondly, Happy Game 4 of the Central Division semifinals, y’all. (The Komets trail the Toledo Walleye 2-1 heading into the 8 p.m. game at Memorial Coliseum.)

What do the Komets need to do to build off their 2-1 overtime victory in Game 3? In my view, they need to make sure goaltender Zach Fucale has a little more help.

He was spectacular Wednesday in stopping 41 shots. But his teammates would be wise to cut down on the turnovers that allowed Toledo to pepper the net.

If I know Toledo’s coach, Dan Watson, and I think I do a bit, then he’s going to instruct his players to make life difficult on Fucale by getting a lot of traffic in front of the Fort Wayne net. That means the Komets’ defensemen are going to have to be alert in keeping the crease area clear of traffic -- without taking penalties -- and keeping Fucale’s sightlines workable.

The biggest mismatch in the series is Toledo’s forwards vs. Fort Wayne’s defensemen, but the K’s have players such as Cody Sol, Craig Cescon and Chase Stewart who are tough and physical enough to withstand that if, again, they can stay out of the penalty box.

The Komets’ offense is also due to break out, one would think, but it needs to do that with the simpler plays. The dipsy doodling through the neutral zone and across the offensive blue line just isn’t working. Chip the puck in, retrieve it and set up from there.

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