Thursday, October 29, 2009

Game Night vs. Blackhawks

Preds finally return home to the friendly confines of the Sommet Center after a solid performance, winning against the Minnesota Wild 4-3 last night. The offense showed signs of life and Pekka Rinne had some big saves in relief of Dan Ellis that you hope might be the catalyst to a long run of great goaltending. Let's hope the momentum carries over against a very good Blackhawks team. The Preds are 1-3 at home with a total of 5 goals.

What to watch for tonight:
* Martin Erat needs to build on a solid skating game against the Wild to break the scoring drought and get some pucks in the net.
* Can Pekka Rinne take the lead in goal and hold the job for a 3-5 game stretch? He has #1 goalie talent and skills that can propel the Preds to a strong winning/points streak.
* Does Collin Wilson continue to grow confidence and push David Legwand for 2nd line center position once Jason Arnott returns? Legwand has to be hearing the footsteps and the competition should be good for him.
* Congrats to Mike Santorelli for his first NHL goal against the Wild. Maybe him now playing center instead of winger as before will open up his offensive game. Playing out of position may have held him back before.

All for now, another post will follow tonights game.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Preds Blow 2 Leads, Lose to Bruins 3-2

Not having seen the last 4 games due to vacation, I can't compare this game to previous efforts to see if improvement is being made. The Preds TV crew seems to like the effort better than against the Capitals Saturday night, but the Preds got a point out of that game. No time to rest or dwell since it off to Ottawa for a game Wednesday night. My thoughts on the game:

* No Power Play- another 3 power play opportunities with no goals. Scored on first power play of the year and hasn't scored since. That is 1 for 27. YIKES!!!!

* Franson and Sulzer looked over matched on defense as a pairing at times, especially in the 2nd period. I think it best for coach Trotz to play them paired with a veteran separately as needed.

* Better game for David Legwand. Amazing what driving/challenging the net can do. His charge down the middle of the ice towards the Boston goal led to Smithson's 1st period goal. Had a blocked shot by going to the ice in the first period to show his teammates he was ready to play.

* I can't help but think of Ben Stein as the teacher in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off saying- Erat.....Erat.....Erat.....Erat. Where is Erat and where is the offense?

* Good defensive game for Kevin Klein. I thought he was in the right position all night to thwart several good Boston scoring chances.

* Watch out refs!!!! Two bad positionings of a linesman and referee cost the Preds possession of the puck on 2 Boston goals. You hate to complain but they played a big part in the Preds defense not being able to clear pucks that let to 2 goals.

* I hope the offense gets better soon. Right now it reminds me of some of those early Preds teams that really struggled to score.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crucial Stretch for the Preds

Sorry for no posts the last 10 days. Took the family for an extended stay at Disneyland and didn't get to post like I wanted. I am back now and ready to give the Preds my undivided attention.

Please note the 2 new features down the left hand site of the post. I have listed some quick stats broken down in home and away games. Gives you an idea of how Preds are playing home vs. road.

On Saturday the Preds were able to rally from an early 2 goal deficit to get a much needed point (ending a 4 game pointless streak) against a good Washington Capitals team. It was the first game of a 5 game road stretch and with the poor results of the previous 4 games (0-4 with only 2 goals scored), something positive needed to happen quickly. The Preds are already 14th (out of 15) in the playoff standings. It is time to make a move and not dig a huge hole again this year. One could argue that they may be too far behind already since they are only scoring 1.4 goals a game.

More to come on the scoring woes and lack of production individually. Keep your fingers crossed things turn around against the Bruins Tuesday night.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Predators go to 2-0 on the Season

Another solid performance and the Preds go to 2-0 on the season. Dan Ellis had another good game. Looks like Pekka Rinne will take a turn in net Saturday night. Will be interesting to see what happens if Rinne pitches a shutout. Patric Hornqvist looked like he had played with Arnott and Sullivan for years. He added 2 goals 2:17 apart in the 3rd period including the game winner. Kudos to Hornqvist for parking in front of the net to distract the goalie and Colorado. He was rewarded for his hard work with the game winner on a deflection.

Other food for thought from the game:
* Jason Arnott was huge. Great all-around game and showing the team how to play intently and give the effort.
* Where does Hornqvist go when J.P. Dumont comes back from injury? The argument could be made for 2nd line if Santorelli doesn't produce.
* Speaking of not producing, Martin Erat is off to a slow start. No points and losing the puck off his stick regularly. Would like to see more intensity and speed in his play.
* Jerrod Smithson seems to have taken a step forward this year. He looks strong on defense and penalty kill as usual, but seems to be in position on a regular basis for good scoring opportunities as well. I look for him to score some points very soon.

Heres hoping the hot start continues. The one we win on the front end means less scrambling at the end of the year for points to get in the playoffs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Season Off To A Good Start

Early goals by Arnott and Sullivan gave the Preds a good start but then had to pull some late dramatics to win in a shootout 3-2 over the Dallas Stars. Much has been said about Coach Trotz's decision to start Dan Ellis in goal over Pekka Rinne. Last night's choice was based on Ellis' strong preseason and previous success against Dallas per the coach. I agree with 95% of what Trotz does, but this is in my 5% disagree category. Rinne was clearly the #1 last year and deserved the start and opportunity to keep the job until performance dictated otherwise. The decision to go with Ellis could potentially divide a team/locker room if things go the wrong way. A big gamble by Trotz but so far so good.

My "wrist shots" from the game:

* Confidence builders for Legwand and Santorelli in the shootout. Legwand extends it with his goal and Santorelli wins it. Good first game for Santorelli with Erat/Legwand on #2 line.
* I posted yesterday major injuries have to be avoided for a successful season and Preds dodged a big bullet concerning J.P. Dumont. Luckily his injury will be minor and may return for next game.
* Francis Bouillon with a sold first game on defense and you see why some of the younger defensemen were sent back to Milwaukee.
* Marcel Goc showed some great savy and looked to be in the right place on the ice the entire night. He also gives Preds more size over a Vernon Fiddler/Scott Nichol the Preds had in the past.

All for now. Please comment if you want. Home opener Thursday night.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The long wait is over and Preds Fan is ready to blog all season long. Here are my keys to a successful season and playoff run:

1. Health- injuries took their toll on our scoring last year with Arnott, Sullivan, Erat and Legwand all missing considerable time. Due to payroll constrictions our top 6 has to stay healthy and productive all season long.
2. #6- Right now Mike Santorelli is the last of the top 6 forwards. Coach Trotz has to find the right person to mesh with Legwand/Erat.
3. 30/30- For the Preds 30 goals from Legwand/Erat each along with the expected production from the top line of Arnott/Sullivan/DuMont would get past the 90 point plateau and assure a good seed for the playoffs to avoid a first round matchup with San Jose/Detroit.
4. Klein will be fine- A lot has been made of Kevin Klein's importance of replacing steady Greg Zanon at the #4 defenseman spot. Although we will lose a little on the defensive side(Zanon very steady on D and great shot blocker), the offensive side gain will be better. Klein will help with those frustrating scoring droughts the Preds experience throughout the season.
5. Good start a must- The Preds don't need to fall behind like last year and have to press so hard to make up ground at the end of the season, especially being a more passive offensive team. Getting off to a good start and THEN relying on the defense/goaltending when ahead in the standing is the way to go.

Hard to believe the season is here, but glad it is. Another blog coming later tonight after the game.