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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

12/31 - Preds v. (B-List) Stars

by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

a few more thoughts this morning over a cup of coffee:

...dallas announcers, called radulov a "quirky" player, talking about his flailing about and wild skating style. actually thats a pretty accurate description.

...in the first period, on what may have well have actually been the best stars scoring chance, bonk with a great play to reach and clear a puck right in front of ellis. thought at the time this play most likely saved a goal.

...also in the first, when koistinen made that little curl and drag move and walked into the low slot and shot the puck into a falling into the net turco, that that puck went in the net. at first when the water bottle flew i almost jumped up and yelled. but then i thought turco might actually have carried the puck into the net. zubov made nichol look like the fastest skater on the planet... twice.

...one thing that set up our goal, was the long cycle shift right before it by tootoo, bonk, gelinas. tootoo fanned on a great scoring chance himself in the mid slot near the end of that shift. but that pressure helped cause the goal next shift you felt.

...we did a good job of driving the net and creating chaos in front of turco several times. smithson, dumont, gelinas all had good chances with people laying all over the crease and turco.

...koistinen with that nice little drag shot, then the post from the point, then that changeup from the point that turco had gone back to his right on and barely got a toe back left to stop. three really good chances, in fact all three our best chances other than nichols two.

..we got killed in the faceoff dot. arnott only 2 for 17.

nothing more exciting and nailbiting than the last 2 or 3 minutes of a one goal hockey game... had a horror of them finding a way to kick a goal in those last 4-5 minutes and spoil this one. ellis played his best hockey right here. the morrow one timer from the mid slot was close. as was the daley shot in the last few seconds from the low slot. the two toughest stops ellis had to make i thought, both in the final couple of minutes.

on another note, wrap yourselves in some optimism this new years day:

over the past month or so, i've talked several times about how difficult a stretch of games we've had here this first half of the season and how we are now heading into a two month stretch, where the schedule gets "easier" and we have a chance to put together a run. in general, we play more home games these next two months (16 of 27). we also tend to play more of the bottom 15 teams on the road during this stretch, and many of the top 15 type teams we play during these two months will be at home... so just in very general terms an "easier" two months.

sagarin, the computer guy for USA Today, confirms some of this in this ranking of his where overall strength of schedule is measured for each NHL team so far this year:


lots of figures and complicated formulas, but what sagarin says is that of all the teams in the league, so far we have had the 3rd toughest schedule these first 38 games. toughest being a measure of how many 'top 10' teams we have played (21 of our 38 games), and top 16 teams we have played (28 of our 38 games) cross-indexed with whether those games were played at home or on the road.

schedules largely equal out as the season goes on. now our strength of schedule gets markedly easier for these next two months. just a little confirmation of what i've been saying... we're getting ready to have our shot, starting right now.

Posted by Section 303 at 9:29 AM

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