Thursday, November 17, 2016

Justin Kea vs Albany Devils 11/16/16 (Grade N/R)

Tonights 3-1 loss was a horrible game for the Amerks top to bottom. I consider myself an optimist, but the only positive I took out of this game was the impeccable work rate of Mike Aviani in the first game of his PTO (and he finished -3). For the first time on the year I thought coach Dan Lambert had a bad night. I thought he gave up on the Nylander, Schneider, and O'Riley line too fast. And I thought he should have kept Kea and Bailey together after the second period they had. Even Linus Ullmark had a bad night. Not in the traditional sense that he was bad as a shot stopper, but he took 2 penalties. He wasn't the only one to take a bad penalty tonight. The Amerks finished the night with 31 penalty minutes.
I don't think Kea had a bad night but I'm not going to rate him. At the half way point in the first period Kea seemed to be tackled from behind. Instead of being let up he got caught up in a fight. He was never really was able to take any swings because he couldn't stand up. After the awkward affair he was given a major and an extra 2 minutes for roughing. After serving his penalty he didn't get back on the ice in the first period. For the next two periods, the Amerks spent much of the game in special teams situations. This led to even less ice time for Kea. 

When he was on the ice I thought kea played well. Offensively he skated the puck well and led the breakout very effectively leaving the zone. On his first shift of the game he made an amazing drop pass that led to a goal scoring chance. Late in the second period Kea and Bailey created a chance with some strong checking in the offensive zone. After Kea won the puck he took a great low shot that produced a rebound. Bailey was taken down and drew a penalty. Unfortunately they didn't play together in the 3rd period. 

Defensively Kea played a good game. He was in the right place in the defensive zone and he was able to make an impact with his physical play. He did a good job following forwards behind the net and making things difficult for the Devils. Most importantly he efficiently executed the break out consistently, keeping the devils from establishing zone control when he was on the ice. 

Tonights game didn't do anything to change Kea's career arc. He is still one of the first names on the chopping block when the Amerks inevitably start to get some of their forwards back from Buffalo. I still think that Kea is one of the few Amerks that bring a physical presence, but as a fourth liner that doesn't play on special teams, there is nothing tying him to the roster.     

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