2012-2013 Milwaukee Admirals: 76 G.P., 41-28-4-3–52 pts., 197 goals scored, 200 goals allowed, 8th place in the Western Conference (2nd Midwest Division). Leading playoff scorer: Zach Hamill (1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points.
Heading into Friday night’s Game 4, the Milwaukee Admirals will go to the Cedar Park Center just outside of Austin, Texas with their season in the balance. One loss in the next two games and the franchise’s second straight amazing end of season comeback bid will end in the first round of the playoffs.
Perhaps you might think its an unenviable position, having to win two straight games on the road to advance, but this series is much, much closer than just Texas leading two games to one. One overtime goal in Game 1 and the Admirals are leading 2-1 in the series. Perhaps one Milwaukee goal in the decisive third period on Wednesday might have lead to a similar fate and a 2-1 series lead for the Admirals.
Two years ago when these teams met Milwaukee was actually down two games to one to the Stars, before winning the next two games in a row in Texas. The Admirals would eventually win a third-straight in double overtime to take the series. That might not mean much this time around (especially considering that was a seven-game series, this a five-game series), but that experience is something to draw on.
But one area of concern in this series that is being overlooked, a little bit for both teams is the lack of goals scored. Maybe this was to be expected in this extremely competitive, tight series, but the two teams have combined for just nine goals in three games (and just four in the last two games). More staggering, Milwaukee has just three non-empty net goals against Christopher Nilstorp so far.
To move on to a second round battle with Toronto, the Admirals must find some more offense. There is no time like the present.
One unlikely solution: Less traffic in front of the net. Just ask John Tortorella of the New York Rangers (approximately :25 seconds into this clip).
So Roundtable . . . How does Milwaukee beat Nilstorp tonight? Do the special teams have to produce even more? Are you expecting more from Chris Mueller, Austin Watson, Taylor Beck, Daniel Bang and Kevin Henderson, all forwards with recent NHL experience? Who will step up and be the difference maker tonight?