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Continued: Scoggins: Being selfish with puck provides many benefits

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 22, 2014 - 6:29 AM

Yeo has resisted the idea of using one player to shadow MacKinnon wherever he goes on the ice. Yeo believes his defensive system and structure is equipped to limit a highly skilled offensive talent if executed collectively and properly.

“That line has a lot of speed, a lot of skill,” Haula said. “You’ve got to be aware when they’re on the ice.”

The Wild had to figure out a way to make MacKinnon uncomfortable and feel as restless as a kid in the back seat on a 12-hour road trip. He had it too easy in Denver, with the Wild giving him too much space to reach his top gear.

“You’ve just got to be on top of him,” Fontaine said. “You can’t let him kind of get loose and get his feet going. You’ve got to be in his face and have a stick kind of engaged on him.”

That sounds so obvious, but it’s tough to execute. The Wild found an even better strategy — control the puck, apply relentless pressure, just keep firing pucks at the goalie, limit the Avs’ chances.

That’s the best way to put the brakes on a guy with runaway speed.

 

Chip Scoggins chip.scoggins@startribune.com

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  • Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, left, was under surveillance by the Wild’s Erik Haula, limiting the speedy center’s touches.

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