The article is entitled Ws do not change the reality because despite the stellar play of SOME of the Preds, the reality that this team is not where it needs to be in order to win championships remains. The reason for this conclusion should be abundantly clear to all who have followed this even tangentially. When the top guys step up, whether it’s Saros in net, Forsberg or Duchene on the score sheet, or the D-pairs blocking shots and even getting into the action offensively, top play is needed to even get by. The Preds ended their most recent roadtrip (Carolina, Washington, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal) with a record of 3-2. BUT the big caveat here is absent impeccable performances by Saros (with a solid outing from Lankinen in DC as well), the team should’ve lost all of these. Through these five games, the Preds gave up 67, 32, 38, 35 and 35 shots. While in those same games tallying 24, 21, 36, 33, and 42. Aside from the Ottawa game where it was a solid outing all around (while shots were still a problem on the defensive side), the struggles remain evident with results that are great (and as a fan I love) but are not recipes for long-term success. More so they align with a crawling into the playoffs and getting dominated at every facet. Simply making the playoffs can no longer be the standard.
I’ll continue to root for this team and always be on the side of wins over losses. But I’d be foolish to think this team is anything but average. The results that have occurred as of late or due to certain players playing on the top of their game, not a change in the tide of the team’s ability, etc.
The team takes on the Sabres at home tonight for 6 out of their next 7 games being at home before the All-Star Break. I could state that these games are monumental where results are needed, but I do not know what I would mean in saying that. It’s time to perhaps separate the fan hat from the reality. Is making the playoffs this year what’s best for the franchise long term? Or is a reality check needed to ensure that false hope is not a continued trend in the office at 501 Broadway? Time will tell I suppose.
Yaroslav Askarov got his first shot in an NHL net against Montreal due to Saros playing the night before and Lankinen coming down with an illness. The Preds did not defend well in front of him at the start with shots flooding in to get the young netminder into the action early. He looked fine with nerves, and the wild Montreal environment, of course, resulting in a few mistakes. All in all, he looked great and the future is bright for the Russian. I’m glad he got his shot this early.
Nice tribute to P.K. Subban. Such a good man. Nice brief appearance from Carey Price in the cowboy hat as well. Subban’s time in Nashville came to an abrupt end and it was time to move on, but what a fun three years it was having him. I still remember watching him in a Habs uniform and giving the Bruins trouble with that monstrous shot from the point. Time truly does fly.