Hockey Tonkin’ – Two Down, Fourteen To Go
The Predators sure do know how to keep things entertaining, don’t they? The first two games of the series have both come down to the wire, but in the end Nashville has been able to hold strong and take a 2-0 lead in the series. It hasn’t been easy though. The Colorado Avalanche came to play and are giving the Preds everything they have. While I’m still calling for a Preds win, there are a few things that I’ve picked up on that Nashville will need to focus on to move on to the second round.
The team speed of the Avalanche has been giving the Preds a little bit of trouble in the first two games. That’s what I was concerned with going into the series. The Avs are a fast team that can get up and down the ice in a hurry. They’ve been pressing the attack and pressuring the Predators all over the ice, particularly with the Preds trying to break out of their own zone. The first goals of each game so far have come off of a Pred turnover. The Preds will need to clean that up moving forward, especially in Colorado where the crowd will get behind the Avs should they score early again.
The good news for the Preds? They still haven’t played their best hockey and lead the series 2-0. Things have been a little sloppy with some missed passes and defensive assignments. They also need to stay out of the box. It’s the same things we’ve been saying all season long. The Preds tend to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. But, I fully believe the only team that can beat the Preds in a 7-game series is the Preds. That’s by no means a knock on the Avalanche. The Preds are just that talented.
They’ve also had a lot of positives through the first two games. The JOFA line has been on fire. Forsberg is playing some dominant hockey right now. In Game 1, he put Sam Girard in the spin cycle and scored the goal of the playoffs so far. We’ll be seeing that one on highlight reels for years. The Bonino-Watson-Sissons line has done a pretty good job of shutting down MacKinnon. That is a very tough assignment and one that doesn’t get a lot of praise. MacKinnon is one of those players that can take over a series, and the third line has held him in check. And how about my guy Austin Watson 3:16? Two goals in the series, and both have been beauties. The depth of the Preds is starting to show up, and I think that will be what decides this series.
So to everyone who is all doom and gloom that the Preds won’t make it past the Jets in the second round, relax. The Predators haven’t played up to their potential and they know it. But, they realize the mistakes they are making and are out to fix it. They lead the series 2-0 and are in great position. They’ve been getting scoring from three lines and the PP has been working as well. A few minor tweaks here and there, and the Preds are right back to being the dominant team we’ve seen all season.
Herbie Brooks is the Lead Hockey Analyst for SoBros Network. He knows three things: beating Commies, winning Gold Medals, and having great hair. Follow him on Twitter: @SoBroHerbie_B