A Win Is A Win In This League
I have not been able to watch many of the most recent games due to work and travel, but since my last rant the team has turned out a few solid performances and then a mediocre one against the Coyotes that still resulted in the much needed two points.
I left an ultimatum on the table during my last few articles as I labeled this home stretch of 8 in 10 to be an inflection point on the season. Through 5 games the Preds have achieved a record of 4-0-1 for 9 of 10 possible points having dropped the one point in a game against Tampa that they let slip away.
I still do not think the team is performing excellently, but I will remain consistent in believing that results–above all else–are what matter. Would you rather lose having played great or won having played decent? That’s what I thought.
Through these five games, each had their positive moments while certain concerning trends do continue. Below I’ve provided a sentence or two about each game that I consider to be the most important points to take into account:
New York Rangers
NYR looked off the entire night. Halak is a bona fide backup but he’s no Shesterkin. This was a great way to get the home stretch started with Saros finding himself and Parssinen introducing himself to Smashville. Kid can play. His conditioning gave me some worries during preseason, but he will find his legs. The combination of size and skill is just what the doctor ordered. I love the line of Forsberg, Parssinen, Granlund. They all bring the best out of each other. Forsberg seems to have found his place as of late. The intangibles are increasing with his size and skill becoming more and more evident . . . as if we needed to know they existed in the first place. But he still needs to find himself on the scoresheet more often considering the contract he just signed.
Great to see the Nino, Joey, Duchene line clicking. Duchene got his 700th and 701st career points in this game. Another example of the team grinding out a win. The team dominated for the most part but lacked the intensity as the game progressed. But a win is a win. 2 straight at home.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The team started strong against a formidable opponent, but you give them hope and they’ll take every inch. 3-3 in OT against this talent is bound to end poorly. A point gained is a positive aspect out of this despite a win being within grasp late.
New York Islanders
Once again a strong start, but the team wanted to blow this one. They’re learning to squeak out wins, but giving up leads, especially big leads is becoming oh so common. A win is a win, but this game showed some serious weaknesses in the grit department. Finding a way to squeeze two points out of this one is great. I’ll take it and withhold judgment for another day.
Once again, a great start and then a slide. 46 shots demonstrates that the team is finding opportunities. Ingram had an axe to grind, and he was in top form. Can’t blame him for that. I miss him in gold but understand the decision. He’s getting an opportunity, which is what he deserved. This game should have never made it to a SO, but the comeback is atypical Preds and winning is what matters the most.
In sum, I still find the coaching to be suspect and the results simply coming from the players finding ways to make it happen. The confusing myriad of lineup decisions has continued so no set “system” or “strategy” is immediately apparent to me as an outside observer. It’s still throwing the noodles to see what fits approach.
It seems like every time I write about liking a player they get waived as well. This week’s victim was Zach Sanford (he cleared this morning). Let’s see what the team has in mind here. What I do know is that I enjoy the Twitter arguments between Preds fans and the talking heads about Cole Smith. I’m sure he’s a great guy but I do not understand the undivided commitment to him being in the lineup night in and night out. He’s getting chances from time to time and providing some intangibles, but the blind faith water carrying is beyond me. But what do I know. I’ll raise a tall one to his defenders tonight. Cheers! I don't mind his play, but through putting others in the stands and not experimenting with some things by treating him as an untouchable is where the confusion arises most strongly. Maybe the talking heads can explain this to me further to where us simpletons may understand. Perhaps, an explanation without the common talking points even.
The Preds are in Detroit tonight for one of the random one off games on the road during this home stretch. The Preds always struggle in Detroit no matter how bad the home team is performing, so it should be a good one. This will be a nice test for the boys tonight.
Until next time . . .