After earning a split at home against Texas, the Milwaukee Admirals venture onto the road for the next three games of its opening round playoff series with the Stars. Here are five keys for Milwaukee to pick up a win Tuesday night at the Cedar Park Center and take away the momentum of the series:
1) Remember what got you here.
Milwaukee was the Western Conference’s best road team during the season, finishing third in the AHL with a road record of 21-10-9. Exactly half of the Admirals 102 points (51) were earned on the road. Sometimes with a younger club, traveling away from the distractions of home can be a blessing, and that seemed to be the case with Milwaukee at times this season.
2) Unsettle Texas goalie Richard Bachman early and often.
Though Milwaukee scored the first goal against Texas in Game 2, the Admirals wasted a chance to plant some doubt in Stars goaltender Richard Bachman’s mind by getting another goal on the board in the early going. Though Bachman is a strong netminder, he will be feeling pressure to deliver a win at home, especially after being chased from the net in Game 1. A couple of early goals and playing with a strong net front presence would go a long way to shake up Bachman’s restored confidence. Milwaukee went 27-3-7 after scoring the first goal during the regular season.
3) Have Gabriel Bourque, Chris Mueller and Ryan Thang play more like Game 1 than Game 2.
It wasn’t like Milwaukee’s top line of Gabriel Bourque, Chris Mueller and Ryan Thang played poorly Saturday night, but the three forwards lacked the determination they showed Thursday. Much of that had to do with the defensive adjustments Texas made in Game 2, but for the Admirals to have playoff success, the top line needs to make a bigger impact and takeover play.
4) Take advantage of the schedule.
In the playoffs, it seems like an extra day break always benefits the team that loses the prior game. Milwaukee had two long days to stew on its 3-1 loss to Texas, but more importantly the Admirals also had extra time to watch tape and make adjustments. After Tuesday’s all-important Game 3, both teams return to the ice for Game 4 the next night. A statement win from either club could carry over in the short turnaround.
5) Get the veterans to step up.
Saturday night’s game was tough one for the more experienced members of the Admirals, including Scott Ford, Grant Lewis, Steve Begin and Andreas Thuresson, all who finished with a rating of minus one. With the series shifting to road games, Milwaukee will need its veterans to step up and lead the Admirals on the ice. Expect big games from Brett Palin, Aaron Johnson and Ford.
So Roundtable, what does Milwaukee need to improve on to win Game 3?