Saturday, February 28, 2009
Evil Empire Dominated and Vanquished
If I told you that the Preds and the Wings had played a hockey game and one of the teams had won 8-0, who would you think had won the game? Suppose I told you that the winning team had 19 takeaways and 23 blocked shots along with limiting the opponents scoring chances. How about winning the battles on the boards and in front of the net, not to mention solid D that limited scoring chances? If you said the Wings had won the game, that might be a reasonable guess. Tonight, however, it was the Preds that dominated from start to finish, crushing the Evil Empire with the most complete game that this team has played in years. Five (count 'em-5!) first period goals, the result of throwing pucks on the net and crashing the crease. Perhaps more importantly, this team didn't take their foot off the gas, scoring one goal in the second and finishing the third with two more goals. The Preds never let the Wings get a chance to establish much offensive flow, and when they did, Pekke Rinne was outstanding in net. The Preds were disciplined, taking only two minor penalties along with Shea Weber's fighting major (a fight in which Shea pounded Andre Lilja). This was total domination from start to finish as the Preds captured a vital two points. The Preds now have 66 points and sit in the 8th playoff spot, one point ahead of Minnesota, which is playing at the time of this post.
This team, offensively challenged for most of the season, has now potted 17 goals in their last three games. The aspect of their play that impresses is that they have simplified their game- shoot on net and crash the crease, support the puck, and play solid D in front of Pekke. The play in net has been stellar and gives this team confidence. Vital to the offensive success they have enjoyed is that contributions have come from all lines. Arnott had a hat trick; Legwand, Antii Pihlstrom, Joel Ward, Ville Koistinen, and Shea Weber also tallied for the Preds.
Three games played in a critical five game home stand and six points in the books. Edmonton comes to town on Tuesday night, and they are on the heels of the Preds. Enjoy the victory and take the lessons from this game and continue to apply them in this drive to the playoffs. This is your time, boys.