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The Stretch Drive

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02-17-2007, 10:21 AM
  #1
Pred303
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The Stretch Drive

ok... time to be brutally realistic here.. many aren't going to agree with this, and will say "we're still leading, everything is still going great". or you're being too pessimistic. but what this is trying to do is to prepare some people for how tough a spot we're really in looking at the big picture.

we're playing ourselves into a real hole here. everything still looks bright on the surface to most everyone. we're still leading the western conference. we're still leading the redwings. people will say "hey, we're just going thru a little down period, we're still in control of our own destiny". and those people will be correct, to an extent.

these five losses in the last 7 games have been huge. much bigger than most realize. people looking simply game to game aren't really looking at the big picture here. this is the stretch of games (games 45-60) where analyzing the schedule that we had to stretch the lead on Detroit if we really wanted to have the best shot of beating the wings out in the race for the central. and we simply haven't taken care of business.

most aren't stopping and really looking at the strength of schedules for both us and detroit in the last 20 games of the season. if we don't go into those last twenty games with a lead of more than a point or so, our odds are dramatically lower to win this thing. and our time is rapidly running out to do that. when you sat back three weeks ago and looked at these 5 games we've lost these past two weeks (LAK, PHO, PIT, COL, STL), anyone would have honestly figured we'd have taken at least 3 of these 5, and possibly more. we should have been sitting on a lead over the wings right now of anywhere between 7 and 11 points, with still a couple games left before our really tough last 20 games begin. a lead large enough where we simply would have had to roughly split these last 5 games with the wings to walk to the central crown.

but, the fact is right now simply beating the wings 3 of these last 5, probably won't guarantee us anything. their other 15 games are that much easier than our other 15 games. unless they tank it, or we beat them 4 of 5, they are probably going to win 15-17 games from here on out. which means, that we have to go roughly 17-6 or 18-5 in our last 23 now, counting the wings games to win the central. we are capable of doing that of course, but that means playing .750 hockey or so for the remaining part of the season, better than we've played thus far all year, and this during our toughest stretch of the season. and add in the fact we have 10 of those games on the road, where we've now lost 4 in a row, against weaker teams.

as fans, we usually think with our heart, and not our brains. we've got a mighty tough road ahead of us here to win the central, thanks to our play recently. even though no one wants to hear it or think about it, i feel it and see it all developing.

we still have a slight chance here in the next week with these three home games, culminating in the first of the wing games next saturday to expand this lead up to 3-5 points or more and increase our chances before the really tough part of our schedule begins.

the forsberg add couldn't have come at a better time to give us this shot down the stretch. now it's time to buckle down and get hot, and play our best hockey of the year over these last 23 games.

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02-17-2007, 10:41 AM
  #2
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Great post, and honestly it's something that has been on my mind lately as well. A few weeks ago we had a huge point lead on the Wings, now look at it, god damn slim. And we still have 5 games with them let alone the rest of the season.

The regular season is still a long ways from being done. We could just as easily be facing a SJ/Calgary as we could Minny/Vancouver/etc. We gotta buckle down, K.I.S.S. and get the job done!

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02-17-2007, 11:07 AM
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It should be noted that we still have a lot of home games. However, I do agree with your assessment.

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02-17-2007, 11:14 AM
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noted, but also that detroit actually has more home games remaining than we do (14-13)

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02-17-2007, 11:30 AM
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Great post and I agree, we can't rest on what players we have alone. It is kind of pointless to put this on a message board, (it really needs to said to the payers and I am sure it has been) The only thing we can do as fans is to show up to games and be as loud as possible.

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02-17-2007, 12:03 PM
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There's a disturbing stat that I think spells doom in the playoffs if we can't fix it. Over the past 37 games (that dates back to late November), our power play is sub 15%. To give the 14.8% figure some scope, if that were the stats for the entire year, we would have the fourth worst PP in the league ahead of only Phoenix, Chicago, and St. Louis.

You have to go back to '02/'03 to find a worse Predator power play than what we've had to this point in the season. And that power play saw heavy time from the likes of Andy Delmore, Andreas Johansson, Adam Hall, Denis Arkhipov, Vlad Orszagh, and Jason York.

This is purely a stastically-based opinion since I haven't seen most of the games this year (as such, those who have been witness to the games, feel free to interject), but I wouldn't be surprised if Horacek is let go at the end of the off-season unless something improves dramatically. While the players should take the bulk of the blame, the axe has to fall on the coach who is responsible for this area especially for a team such as this whose time is now.

I think the use of Forsberg on the power play from here until our exit from the playoffs (either through victory or defeat) will determine his fate. Trotz is generally loyal to his assistants, but this isn't the point in this franchise's history where patience is a virtue, as evidenced by Poile's most recent acquistion. He's given Horacek a key piece to the puzzle. His job depends on his use of that piece.

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02-17-2007, 01:45 PM
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Agreed, we have serious cause for concern.

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02-17-2007, 02:43 PM
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Ofcourse there should always be concern but it's not like every other playoff team is invincible. They have their problems too. Before we were beating all the teams we should have but not beating the big boys. Now it has sorta flipped around.

And during the SJ game they were talking about how well the SJ PP is but then they told us that the Preds were +20 (something like that) even strengthed compared to SJs +8 even strength.

We can't be perfect.

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02-17-2007, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bburton86 View Post
We can't be perfect.
Understood. But at the same time, areas where you should be good but aren't are always a cause for concern. Non-even strength hockey is very important in the playoffs. And teams cannot afford to be passing up the best chances to score by not generated opportunities on the power play.

And of course no team is invincible. No one is ever saying that. The problem is that teams will have streaks of seemingly invincible play during the playoffs. And that's when weaknesses like ours are exposed. If you are an awesome even strength team but miserable on the PP, then teams are going to bog the game down on their way to a victory. And they aren't scared of a few holding penalties along the way.

You've seen STL do it to us frequently. And despite being a mediocre team, they've had us clutching for dear life several games this season. God forbid we face a Dallas or Calgary team that can play that way but with a ton more talent. Because teams will try to tailor their game plan to keep you out of your areas of strengths, it's important to have a well-rounded offense that make teams pay regardless of how they play you.

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02-17-2007, 03:49 PM
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To add to the concern of the power play, here are the stats broken down even more.

It just keeps getting worse, game by game. Since our 3-2 victory over St. Louis on January 6th, the Predators have scored just 11 power play goals in 19 games. And that comes on 90 power play chances. That puts us at 12% power play. Save for the month of October, every single month has seen a decided decrease in power play percentage when compared to the previous month.

In November, the PP was at 21%. December was 17.2%. January was 15.4%. And now February sports an 11.9%. This directly coincides with the theory that our power play is too predictable to be successful. As more and more teams face it and more and more teams have tape of it, they are having less and less trouble defending it.

To take the stat even further, if you compare our PP in the first two games of any team we've played more than twice with the PP of the remaining available games against that particular team, you'll find an average decrease in power play percentage of well over 8%! In other words, our player play is roughly 8.4% less successful against teams we've faced twice already in the season.

So where does that put our power play in a 7-game series? Not only will teams have had plenty of experience facing our power play (at least 4 games), they will be focusing in on it more as we will become their only focus. Game tape will be geared towards stopping it. And each game could potentially serve as another nail in the coffin for our power play as the opponent gets more and more comfortable with exactly how we will play.

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02-17-2007, 04:32 PM
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Well, I guess the power play will be very different ( hopefully better) with Forsberg running it. So the old stats will not be in effect cause they will probably change the whole pp tactic with Foppa in the lineup.

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02-17-2007, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BF_Sweden View Post
Well, I guess the power play will be very different ( hopefully better) with Forsberg running it. So the old stats will not be in effect cause they will probably change the whole pp tactic with Foppa in the lineup.
that's the idea

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02-17-2007, 09:32 PM
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OK, we just confirmed much of our logic up in this thread. Team looked apathetic in this game, as if they expected it to be easy with the acquisition of #21. I used to think a flaw of the team was it was built for the regualr season and not the playoffs. Now I am worried it is ill suited to either. Somebody give me reason to hope for a post-season improvement this year, please!!

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02-19-2007, 10:05 AM
  #14
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I understood Leggy not getting PP time earlier in the year. But I didn't understand it the last month when the power play had clearly fallen off. I hear it's becaue he doesn't have a slap shot?

To me he is a guy who would like to snipe, and has the hands to recieve the puck on all the pretty passes we seem to try but can't convert. Also, he is better at creating turnovers then some other forwards or centers. Which means just because the other team regains the puck I don't think it's as likely to get cleared out if Leggy's in there.

Ok, ok, he's not a PP guy. But seems some of our PP guys really aren't either, these days.

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02-19-2007, 11:27 AM
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I think Leggie doesn't play as much PP time as we'd want because he's playing more PK time.

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02-19-2007, 02:25 PM
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We have enough PK guys, some of them may not be as good at it as Legwand, but if that's the justification for keeping him off the PP, it's a pretty flimsy one. Legwand is, bar none, the best at entering the zone on the team...and where did we struggle the most on the PP against Minnesota...and St Louis? and LA?

Getting past the blue line without losing the puck and having it fired back down the ice.

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02-19-2007, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomorekids View Post
We have enough PK guys, some of them may not be as good at it as Legwand, but if that's the justification for keeping him off the PP, it's a pretty flimsy one. Legwand is, bar none, the best at entering the zone on the team...and where did we struggle the most on the PP against Minnesota...and St Louis? and LA?

Getting past the blue line without losing the puck and having it fired back down the ice.
I actually think Suter may be the best...

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02-22-2007, 10:02 PM
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bump

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02-22-2007, 10:06 PM
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The Kingslayer
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Man everyones haveing a field day with this foppa slip right now it disgusts me. He really needs to show up(on the scoresheet) next game.

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02-22-2007, 10:10 PM
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Man everyones haveing a field day with this foppa slip right now it disgusts me. He really needs to show up(on the scoresheet) next game.
What's worse is that one of our own posters started it and is adding to it

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02-22-2007, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomorekids View Post
What's worse is that one of our own posters started it and is adding to it
Talk about loyalty...then again he is a noob who prolly didnt know who Forsberg was until he got traded to Nashville.

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02-22-2007, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ice berg slim View Post
Talk about loyalty...then again he is a noob who prolly didnt know who Forsberg was until he got traded to Nashville.
Yep.

I just got it out of the way.

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02-22-2007, 10:34 PM
  #23
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Yep.

I just got it out of the way.
Seemed like u were doing more then that actually but whatever gets you through the night I guess

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Old
02-26-2007, 08:43 AM
  #24
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Alright boys and girls:

We've got 18 games left. Our current road trip is the longest one we've got the rest of this season. Late March we have a 3 game roadtrip. We have 9 away games, 9 home games remaining.

We're ahead of Detroit by 2 points with 4 games remaining against them. We've currently played 1 more game then they have. We have a home and home against both the Wings and Oilers in March.

I think it goes without saying this is not only the biggest spring this team has ever faced, but should be one of the most exciting too. We've got a lot of injured guys, but we're deep and our guys have heart (although they may not always play like it).

Forsberg is starting to gel with the team.

Vokoun and Mason are playing well, could be playing better but they're getting the job done.

We didn't get this far without having a good team and we can't give up now. We didn't get this far without hard work and won't get far in the playoffs with even more hard work.

So, ladies and gentleman I say this to you: It's a grand time to be a Preds fan. Stand proud, stand up for your team, stand up for your fellow fans, stand up for your city.

Oh, and go Preds.

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02-26-2007, 08:56 AM
  #25
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What scares me is you couple in the fact that this time of year we usually struggle (wasn't it this time of year last season where Detroit really, really pulled away?) and having Hartnell, Sullivan and Timonen with injuries.

Detroit isn't going anywhere but up. The first slip up on our part and we're toast.

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