Was in Denver for the Predators game with the Avalanche, which saw the Avalanche capture a 1-0 OT win over the Predators. Late travel and Easter activities meant that I couldn't get a blog recap up until now.
And of course, you know what has happened, so I will give you some observations:
Varly Was Gnarly
Semyon Varlamov made some outstanding saves among the 34 shots he faced from the Predators. There were stretches where the Predators controlled the puck in the Avs zone and peppered Varly with shots, but could not solve him. Notable was a glove save off a blistering shot from Kevin Klein in the slot. As the game wore on, the Avs took strength from Varly's effort, ultimately prevailing in the OT.
Mike Fisher was scratched after injuring is hand blocking a shot on Thursday, so Paul Gaustad moved up to center the first line. I liked the effort of Goose, but the fact is that the Predators needed Fish centering that line, as timing and chemistry was just off between Goose, Kostitsyn, and Erat throughout the game.
Don't know if this was apparent to the TV audience, but there was a face off right in front of me in the Avs zone (I was sitting three rows off the ice, so it was easy to gather some of what was being said), and Goose called the Avs Jamie McGinn over and was involved in a rather stern conversation with him. It ended with Goose looking at McGinn and telling him to "watch it". Now, Goose does not give you first line offense, but he does give you first line leadership. I did not notice McGinn running around after that conversation.
Josi No Joke
Roman Josi is quickly emerging as a very good defenseman. He is quietly physical, plays great positional defense, and has ice water in his veins. His calmness and ability with the puck is a steadying influence and has allowed Shea Weber to jump into the rush more often. He continues to look rock steady on the blue line, and will soon make Predator fans forget...uh...what was his name?
0-5, including a 4 minute power play and 33 seconds of 5 on 3. The Predators got some shots and some traffic, but this game turned on the inability to tally on one of those man advantage situations. If the Predators are going to have a shot at the playoffs, the power play has to find its mojo.
Running Out of Runway
These last two games have seriously damaged the Predators playoff hopes. They were winnable games and the Predators picked up one out of a possible 4 points. The playoffs are a possibility, but a microscopic one.