Well, Ellis will be in goal and Trotz has yet again said he'll be trying "new line combinations." It appears to me he's tried every possible combo already. Maybe now he's going to try a first line of hordichuk-mason-tootoo???
Personally, I think this would be a great time to throw all the names of healthy players in a hat and during the pregame talk in the locker room you just pick out the names and bang...there's your line combos.
"Gritty, not pretty"
"Grip it and rip it"
I agree that we need the first goal tonight. Now is the time to really bear down and see what we are made of. Looking forward to watching Ellis tonight. Everything really starts from the net out and if Dan puts in a good performance...we might see a change in the attitude of the whole roster.
After tonight the only thing to look forward to is this "With the 2nd pick overall the Nashville Predators select" We lose the lottery of course and pick 2nd. This also dependant on Boots not moving the team to Kansas City.
First, I thought we had won the cup when Smithson scored the way the guys celebrated. They buzzed the net for much of the first period and led SOG by a huge margin-- making it the perfect time to give up a goal and fall into a funk (see Ducks, Sharks). Instead, they scored!
Klein and Koistenen both in and Zids out. We didn't suffer and it adds credence to the argument that Zids is a luxury we can't afford, at least when Shea gets back. Klein's skate down the ice on the Tootoo goal was better than any I've seen from Zids all year.
Suter had less brain cramps tonight (still had a couple) and made some solid plays. He was strong in front of the net at times tonight during the PK-- would love to see more of it. Hamhuis had a good game and we need more of that from him as well.
Our forecheck seemed much better tonight. Our patience in working the puck up the ice was better tonight.
We did give up some solid scoring chances that we had some lucky bounces save us on. We are lucky Kovy didn't score b/c we only barely contained him on a few occasions-- he is like Rads plus top flight skating. Imagine if Rads could outskate everyone on the ice
I don't think Ellis was a 1st Star tonight but won it by default. He was solid, moved ok, froze the puck well, moved it well and generally played a safe game.
Erat hustled like a fire had been lit under him, although he wasn't rewarded. Ortmeyer looked more like what I expected tonight. This still didn't look/feel like a creative, well-oiled machine but it certainly looked structured and hard working.
I wouldn't say we looked fantastic but it was a solid performance. I will say that they didn't sit on the lead in the 3rd and seemed to be getting stronger as Atlanta opened up.
This is good to get us back on the winning side, but it's hard to get TOO excited over beating a team that's been as bad as we've been...and it showed in playing them. Watching the Thrashers play "defense" made me see what most teams have seen playing us.
That said, we played a pretty solid game...but there were chances that better teams likely would have made us pay for.
The win against the Thrashers is nothing spectacular, but at this point we just needed something to build on. The team I saw last night reminded me more of "predator hockey." That is, while the talent might not be the best around we work hard to make up for it. Here's to hoping this team finally finds it's identity!
Could Zids healthy scratch have had anything to do with the Eklund rumors regarding the Rangers? Pete said something along the lines of Gelinas might as well be on the injuries list. Any word on an injury and it's severity?
Amazing what a win can do for the psyche.....you could almost hear the sigh of relief of the building and the bench when Smithson punched in that first goal.
I wanted to emphasize the play that Tootoo made on his goal.....not to punch it in, but to let the pass go through him to Klein as he was heading across ice.....that displayed a level of hockey sense that I had never seen before in him. Klein with a highlight reel step up and move on Exelby. His stock jumped in my mind seeing that.....that isa dimension of his game that I always questioned whether he had or not.....we have always known he was a gifted skater, but when he can add a puckhandling display like that, and the good read of when to jump up, it makes me think that we want to be holding on to him when desicion time comes when Weber comes back.
The Benching of Zids was so right on so many different levels. It is no coincidence that we had an impeccably responsible game when he was scratched. It also sent a message loud and clear to the rest of the dcorp.
I think Trotz will play him against Florida, but I would have to go with the dcorp from last night again on Saturday.
One of the things that I was most pleased about was how we played the 3rd period....we stayed aggressively in their zone, and didn't play a "prvent defense."
It was nice to see ellis be so solid last night. I even saw that he flipped a puck to the ref out of his glove by bouncing it off his biceps like you did with a tennis or baseball when you were a kid.....there had to be a certain swagger inside to do something like that, and I am sure the guys fed off his poise.
Certainly a dilemma who to start against Florida, but I would bet that he comes back with Mason....as Ellis so graciously said, "We gotta get Mason going again." If Mason comes out and lays an egg.....then we have a real goalie controversy in the short term.
As good as this game feels......Atlanta looked like we did against LAK.....no energy....no desires to win the one on one battles....I want to see us sustain the same effort against vokoun and the Panthers.
We actually played worse then we did against Anaheim yet this time came away 3-0.
One of the key points in this game was when Kovalchuk beat Klein and had a premium chance late in the first period. If Kovalchuk would have scored that goal, I think the game would have ended much differently. The Predators outshot the Thrashers by a huge margin in the first and were up 1-0. If Kovalchuk scores that goal, the team is deflated.
This team needs momentum more then almost anything (Well, goals of course ). Keeping the momentum going is huge.
Other huge points: The step up of Klein and his play. It was beautiful. Also, the holding of the puck in the Atlanta zone with about 3-2 minutes to go. You know Atlanta wanted to make a hard push to get one and make it a game, but the Predators kept the puck down low and worked hard. That really took the wind out of the Thrasher's sails.
Again, it was a win against a team who are sort of in a similar situation to us. However, we need to take whatever we can get at this point.
The only bad part about that game was now all the casual fans will start calling in wanting Ellis to start. No matter what happens, the backup goalie is always the most favorite player, lol. Don't get me wrong, Ellis has played well and made some huge saves last night and Mason isn't playing his best right now, but I don't think he won the starter position just like that. But that won't stop people from blaming the outcome of games based on whether or not Ellis started.