Game 3: Preds Gain First Two Points of Season
The Preds were finally able to enter the win column last night with a 2-1 victory against the LA Kings. It was good to see the team build upon the structure that they had against Carolina, but the inability to finish scoring chances continues to be a glaring issue.
The powerplay goal was nice to see from Duchene crashing the net. He demonstrated he is getting his confidence back and willing to take on defenders one on one. Love to see it. Both the game tying goal and game winner were hard scrappy goals digging out of the corner, passing to the point, crashing the net, and burying it. Jeannot’s game winner resulted from an excellent Sissons’ pass.
In order for the Preds to continue to win, they will have to continue to get into the dirty areas and bury the puck. Forsberg had some great chances and even a penalty shot but couldn’t finish. Trenin is a bull on the ice and is really standing out but could not finish either. It’ll come, this team is generating chances so that is a big big positive.
The lineup for the game was:
Forsberg – Johansen – Duchene
Tolvanen – Granlund – Kunin
Trenin – Sissons – Jeannot
Cousins – Novak – Grimaldi
Josi – Fabbro
Ekholm – Carrier
Borowiecki – Benning
The Hynes system is taking shape, but there are some big holes that need to be addressed on the ice if that system is going to work. I know many Preds fans are tired of Hynes or say that he has no system, but there is something at play here. The main idea is starting to take shape and we can begin to tell that training camp this year did wonders of implementing it because when it works, it’s very noticeable. It’s not going to be all out and “enjoyable” hockey, but it can be effective.
So what is it really?
My interpretation from watching is essentially have all five players collapse in the defensive zone and grant the opposing team the outside. Suppressing shots is second to none and play for the counter with quick breaks. The problem that became evident last night is threefold: (1) when shots aren’t suppressed and the shot totals climb, then it puts Saros in a precarious situation and goals are bound to happen no matter how well he plays; (2) if players get too high and do not collapse down low enough, this opens the slot and permits high-level chances for the opposition; and (3) if you get the quick breaks, you have to bury your chances. The system is a good one, unless it’s not executed to a T.
Interested in others’ thoughts. These are my current views from watching the first few games.
The D pairings were a good mix of size, skill, experience, and youth. I think it should stay this way for now. Maybe tweak the third pairing and put in Myers in here and there. But the top two pairings will do great things for both Carrier and Fabbro and let Josi and Ekholm continue to be themselves.
Ekholm – Carrier
I like Myers so it’s tough leaving him out, but I still think having Myers and Ekholm together is too much size and too little speed in one pairing. Carrier is looking great, using his speed to intercept the cross-ice passes. Ekholm is defensively sound so let Carrier take these bigger risks.
Josi – Fabbro
I think we are all almost on the same page when it comes to Harpur and having Fabbro with him will not provide Fabbro with the much-needed exposure that is required for him to grow into the player the Preds drafted him to be. Being partnered with the captain will put him in some tough positions as Josi likes to take risks, but it will be great once they get used to each other and Fabbro begins to take the same risks. Currently he is a bit too quick to move the puck whether it’s dumping it into the offensive zone, wrapping it immediately in the defensive zone, or going immediately for the quick wrister on net off the face off instead of looking for the open ice and open man. Give him a few games in this spot to settle down and I believe we will start to see a new Fabbro.
Borowiecki – Bennin
They got beat noticeably on two major occasions with Alex Iafollo dangling Borowiecki down the left side for a backdoor pass that resulted in an incredible save from Saros. Again, Borowiecki was beat on the far-right side that resulted in a cross-ice pass behind Benning that resulted in the goal. I think more time together and getting the early season rust off will cure these issues, but just something that caught my attention last night especially.
Congrats to Forsberg on reaching 500 games in gold. No small feat. Hopefully we will see many, many more.
Nice to see Arvidsson back in the building. I thought it was time for him to go as his play and the direction this team is angling did not align, but he will always remain a fan favorite and will be missed. Glad he is being given the chance to succeed in LA with the Kings having him on the first line last night with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. I really enjoyed the tribute video as it brought back a lot of great memories. 33 is surely missed by all. A very good player and an even better person. All the best to Arvy and his family as they begin this new journey!