Looking at the guys that did not make the road trip, I immediately think of all the money and talent that's tied up in Matthew Lombardi, Ryan Suter and Martin Erat. And then I think of what this team is managing to do without the use of these players. Just how good could the Predators be at full strength? I really want to find out the answer to this question sooner rather than later.
Here's one of the many reasons I love the way Jerred Smithson plays: he is always battling for that puck along the boards. Any time you see both teams in a scrum, trying to work the puck out, I can guarantee you he will be in the middle of that fight. This is another good example of the hard-working style of play that the Predators are known for and Smithson embodies that spirit in almost every aspect of his game. He does, however, need to work on his face offs. His numbers are way down from last season.
Definitely love seeing the beaming smile on Francis Bouillon's face as he talked with Terry Crisp during the first intermission. He especially lit up when the topic of him wearing the 'A' was brought up. You could tell he was very proud of that, bringing up that it was the first time he's ever worn an 'A' in his NHL career. I'm happy to see that the designation of wearing Suter's 'A' is not being taken lightly in his absence.
Okay, look. I know Phoenix has had their issues with attendance and ownership woes. That's nothing the Predators haven't dealt with over the past few years. But for a team who had one of the best seasons in the league last year, you would think there would have been a spike in attendance this season. And yes, I know the arena isn't even really in Phoenix and you have to take that into consideration too but....wow. I think even the Atlanta Thrashers have better attendance than Phoenix does here lately. Pretty sure I've never seen an arena so empty while a game was being played. At one point, I could hear the guys talking to each other on the ice so clearly, I would have sworn all five guys on the ice were mic'ed up.
Loving the young lineup on the power play; Franson, Hornqvist, O'Reilly and Wilson with a rotating defensemen. They had such a good spark in the second period and there's hope for the future of the man advantage if they can keep up what they were doing tonight.
How many freaking times is Pekka Rinne going to give everyone a heart attack by coming out of the net?! And not just out of the net, but like, ALL THE WAY out of the net to the point where every other Predator on the ice has to cover his butt. Something is totally off with his game right now.
Every line has a specific job to do on the ice but I think this team could benefit from a finisher on every line. There were so many near goals that could have easily been a goal had someone been at the net to tap it in. Hornqvist needs to schedule a workshop or something.
Yeahhhhhhh, I'm going to need this team to start winning again. There are some good things happening on the ice for the guys but like last season, there is something missing in the offense again. The rest of this road trip better be all kinds of successful. The boys need to shake off the crap and find their groove already.