PORT HURON, Mich. -- Yes, the McMorran Arena ice surface is 15 feet shorter than regulation. Every time I'm up here, I reminded of that so quickly.
You can tell because those races for iced pucks are so much shorter. Also, any time you play the puck, you pretty much have to be checked; it can't be avoided. Power plays seem longer because when the short-handed team clears the zone, it comes right back in. The neutral zone is tiny.
What do you have to do to win here? You can't make dumb passes because any mistake will be amplified. You have to be physical in the corners. And you absolutely have to keep traffic out from in front of your net because the goalie's going to be busy.
There are some empty seats here, but it's probably a sellout crowd. (Capacity is 3,262.)
- By the way, Ben Smith is blogging from the game.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette