Knights top stat that counts

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

In the first two games, the London Knights have been outshot 110-50 by the Owen Sound Attack.

They've been outchanced and outplayed.

Yet they lead the best-of-seven Ontario Hockey League Western Conference quarter-final series 2-0 because the only thing that determines wins and losses is who scores more goals.

The Knights have shown their usual opportunism and ability to make the big play when it counts most.

They also know the Attack are known as a team that throws at lot of pucks at the net. Despite finishing eighth during the regular season, the Attack usually outshoot their opposition. It's quality of shots rather than quantity that is important.

But as a team, the Knights are astute enough to know they are going to have to generate more chances and find a way to cut down on the shots allowed. Steve Mason is a big-play goaltender but even he will eventually wear out and the more shots he gets, the more it's inevitable he'll let in a bad goal or two.

The Knights can pretty much book a ticket to the next round if they win Game 3 tonight at the John Labatt Centre at 7 p.m. Being up by two despite not having played all that well is a good place to be.

The Attack probably feel a little hard done by. At worst, they should be tied going into this contest. They know a loss tonight will put them on life support.

"We're not satisfied with the way we played," Knights defenceman Todd Perry said. "We're getting the wins. Somehow as a team we're finding a way to win but we can play better as a team. We've got to come out harder and stronger and just play better defensive hockey."

The shot totals are eyepopping, which is why they are getting most of the attention. But the Knights success this year has been built around a deadly offence and despite four goals by Dave Meckler in Game 1, the Knights haven't generated the number of chances they normally would.

Part of that is the Knights aren't controlling the puck as much as they normally do. But bottling up the Attack in their zone would alleviate some of the pressure on their under-staffed defence.

"They are playing really solid," said Knights forward Sam Gagner. "At the same time, I think guys have to be able to step up and figure out a way to create chances. We can't just rely on (Mason.)

"Part of their game plan is to play physical and finish their checks. They are trying to get their matchups. They always seem to have their big guys when (Pat Kane) is out there and they seem to be swarming him and Sergei (Kostitsyn.) But at the same time, we just got to figure out a way to get as many chances as possible."

The Attack are doing what they have to if they want to have any chance of beating the Knights. They are pressuring London's defence and they are trying to wear down Kane, Gagner and Kostitsyn, the Knights' Big Three. The Attack were hoping for a long series where the weardown factor could really kick in.

But they have to score some goals to do it.

The Knights have Rob Drummond out with a concussion, Kevin Montgomery out with a leg injury and a variety of bumps and bruises. They want a quick series. One thing they don't want is to continue to allow the Attack to pummel Mason.

"They are a team that shoots from anywhere. A lot of their shots are from the blue-line," Perry said. "But 110 shots is a lot of shots. There were a lot of dangerous shots. You can't have that or Mason is going to be tired by the end of the series. But we've got to get better defensively. You can't give up that many shots."

So far, that hasn't cost them. But it's a trend they'd like to change.


Videos

Photos