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Game Recaps

Sunday, January 06, 2008

1/5 - Preds v. Mild

OBSERVATIONS FROM BOX 2
by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

a fine win, exactly what we needed... hard to start naming people tonight, lots of strong games from several players.. hamhuis, erat, gelinas, radulov, ellis, devries.. pretty much name anyone and he somehow contributed..

a game where hustle and hard work made breaks go our way early.... some might say we simply got a lucky bounce and a seeing eye shot on the first two goals.. but both happened because we were skating hard and putting pressure in the right spots..

ellis is hot, red hot in fact.. admittedly, lots of those big explosive rebounds tonight that we've been talking about, that credit has to go to the defense for getting to and clearing.. but ellis did what good goaltenders do, made the first save all night and let the team work to clear rebounds.. a couple of fine in close stops on a couple of sequences as well..

a great crowd of course, great atmosphere in the place.. nothing like the arena with a capacity crowd.. a fine touch for the players to come out and salute the fans afterwards.. very nicely done.. outstanding that the team decided to do that, brought quite the roar from the crowd..

just maybe things are coming together for this hard-skating group of underdogs... a nice little stretch already behind us since christmas, with hopefully things turning in our favor here schedule wise.. funny how much better things look when you start getting good goaltending, start taking better care of the puck, start getting a couple of players hot at the same time, start playing pretty solidly on special teams, start playing solid defensively, and start to get a little scoring balance from three different lines.. do those things and this isn't a bad little hockey team..

now we need a good little road trip, need to find a way to win two of these three (ANA, STL, CLB) and keep this momentum going our way..

a pleased hockey fan tonight, we'll talk the technical good and bad things tomorrow, but for tonight it's time to simply sit back and enjoy a good win.



Posted by Section 303 at 11:37 AM

Friday, January 04, 2008

1/3 - Preds v. $100/barrell Oilers

OBSERVATIONS FROM BOX 2
by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

hockey is a mighty simple game, when you get good goaltending, and get great special team play. of course, the skeptic might argue that edmonton is simply that bad of a hockey team, and it'd be hard to argue against that, rarely have i seen an edmonton team look that weak. but that doesn't change the fact one iota that we went out and played a mighty solid all around game, in a game we really needed to win. a few brief notes, from a guy that is mighty sick with the flu;

...radulov. the kid is heating up. you know he's an awfully streaky type player, and can carry the team when he's hot. he's hot right now, we need him to stay that way for about two months.

...arnott. great steal from grebeshkov on the 2nd rads goal. if that had been our defenseman that got caught with his head down we'd be crucifying him this morning instead of saying arnott made a grreat play.

...who were those guys in our sweaters on our powerplays? whoever they were, let's don't tell anyone. we got as many shots as edmonton did on our pp as when they were on their pp (7 each). and we did it in only 3:33 of pp time, while they had 13:16. our pp basically dominated the game, despite us only having 3 attempts.

...defensively, we played a pretty solid game. the two goals allowed were sort of flukish to be honest. the 2nd one a result of our pk getting a little cute (suter) trying to poke the puck out to legwand instead of hammering it out.

...ellis with another solid game. the stortini goal he got caught trying to reach and pokecheck the puck away, where he was in good position before. that's what happens when a goalie tries a pokecheck and misses, he's always caught down low in the net after a miss and is an easy target.

...on the penalty shot, ellis with a very different type of stop than you normally see. as brodziak skates in and dekes forehand to backhand and go around ellis, ellis puts the paddle down square at his feet and basically trips brodziak away from the puck which rolls ahead off his stick cause he cann't keep skating forward. a heady, if very unusual stop.

...trotz seemed in a sour mood in postgame. basically i think he was attempting to keep players from getting big headed, after what was generally a very solid effort on our part. legwand with tootoo and gelinas isn't going to produce many great offensive chances honestly. suter had the little giveaway on the pp goal allowed, thought this was primarily what trotz was reffering to.

...erat with "back spasms". what that was from i don't know. we cann't afford to not have erat for any length of time. he simply has become so proficient at controlling the puck down deep in that behind the net set. we have to have someone in the slot with him out there that can finish.

..funny hearing hordy say he planned on having 20 fights. did ok against stortini. the old jump in and get in a few punches before he can react strategy paid off. also funny to hear him say he had to get trotz to give him the head nod to go.

...koistinen again with a good game on the pp point. don't have any idea who you sit when weber comes back, but i don't see how it can be koistinen right now. for what it's worth zanon with 4 giveaways last night.

...hamhuis with one great shift, a diving breakup of a 2 on 1, followed immediately by a big hipcheck along the boards.

....zidlicky with that one great play where he walks around a defender and walks straight in on garon, and you're yelling "shoot, shooot!!! you have to take that shot!!" and then he proceeds to make an impossible pass over to arnott for the tap in -- and you say, well, heh heh, great play zids and sit back down shaking your head..

great fun at the old arena last night. lots of good people to watch the game with, really enjoyed it all despite being sick as a dog.



Posted by Section 303 at 8:33 AM

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

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

OBSERVATIONS FROM BOX 2
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:

SAGARIN RATINGS

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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