Monday, October 25, 2010

Preds Looking Good and Getting Points

Eight games into the season (roughly 10%) and the Preds sit atop the western conference (and the entire NHL) with 13 points. A lot has been made of the recent 3 straight games lost in overtime, but in hockey overtime losses still get you 1 point. The Preds have scored a point in the standings in all 8 games played this year and is the reason they lead the NHL in points.

Keep in mind this success has occurred while the team has fought injuries to key components of the team. Pekka Rinne and Martin Erat have returned, still out are Matthew Lombardi, Marcel Goc and Ryan Suter. Lombardi and Goc are centers which has long been considered the weak position of the team, but the Preds are doing fine for now without them. This shows how improved and more balanced with talent this Preds team is.

Good news for a possible hosting of a playoff series(top 4 finish in the conference) and a first time playoff series win. But then again, we are only 10% into the season.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010-2011 Season Off to Good Start

The first four games of the season results in 3 wins and an overtime loss. Seven of a possible eight points has Nashville sitting atop the central division and in 2nd place in the western conference. The schedule is in the Preds favor to start the season with 5 of the first 6 games at home before a stretch of 11 out of 16 on the road.

I have seen all 4 games ( 2 in person and 2 on TV) and when healthy, the Preds look to have a very strong team. They have 3 solid scoring lines with the addition of Matthew Lombardi and strong center play from Marcel Goc and Cal O'Reilly. The defense core is solid again and the addition of Shane O'Brien looks to make three solid pairings on defense.

The major question mark and fear for a potential season-wrecker was an injury to Pekka Rinne in goal with no proven backup. And going with Preds luck, Rinne sustained an injury in game 1 but Anders Lindback has responded so far with 2 wins and an overtime loss. So far, the backup position looks to be in good hands with Rinne due back in goal Tuesday against the Calgary Flames.

Other points of interest to note:

* Injuries are piling up. Already missing games or out now- Matthew Lombardi, Martin Erat, Pekka Rinne, Marcel Goc. Big names the Preds can't have out for an extended period.
* Improved- Cal O'Reilly looks very good centering Sullivan/Hornqvist and has added 4 assists in the first 4 games. Colin Wilson looks better with each passing game as he adjusts to the NHL since coming out of college last year. Legwand, Ward, Klein, Goc look to have raised their game.
* Sullivan finally healthy/confident- 4 goals in 4 games says a lot. Steve looks to have confidence the back will remain healthy and up to his old "sniper" ways. With some luck he could have 6-7 goals because he has missed on some great opportunities.
* Look out for Erat/Lombardi- The Preds are off to a great start without a point from either Erat or Lombardi. You know the goals/points will come once they are healthy which bodes well for the Preds.

As I said above, if the injuries slow down the Preds look to be on the verge of a very good season. It is early but all signs point to a strong year in Smashville.