Former coach and captain behind the benches
In 2006, we all know how that season ended. There was a relentless upstart team in Raleigh that blasted its way into the playoffs and rode a white-hot goaltender to the Stanley Cup for the first time in the history of the franchise as they would go through the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers to capture the historic trophy.
Peter Laviolette coached that team to a Stanley Cup and Rod Brind’Amour captained that team. These two will contest as bench bosses for the first time, and Carolina’s student gets to face the man who helped him master the playoffs to capture the cup. Poetic that it would be Brind’amour in his former teachers’ role, and Laviolette with the Canes rivals to make this story come true.
Laviolette employs a unique tactic in which he has his teams set up in a 1-3-1 formation to defend the blueline, retrieve pucks that are sent in deep, and put pressure on the puck carrier in an attempt to deny a clean entry to the zone. That means, it’s going to be very difficult to break the Capitals down, and Rod will have to figure out a solution to it.
Brind’amour teaches his team a shoot-first mentality, where shots from anywhere and everywhere are encouraged. Rod also has a way of getting the best from his players, and they’re going to need their coach’s leadership to guide them through a very difficult opponent from the US Capital. No game against Washington is boring, but this one, in particular, has an electric feel to it.