Archive for March, 2008

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In Ellis We Trust!

March 31, 2008

Dan Ellis has strung together a series of performances that should, in my opinion, win him player of the week honors. Starting with last Sunday’s 2-1 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks Ellis has gone 3-0-1 in his last four posting 2 shutouts and allowing only two goals and just one in regulation. The guy has been a stud. Early last week I had a post that I titled “I wish I Could Trust Him’…well…I think I can!

Take a look at the last four games.

153 shots against
2 goals allowed
2 shutouts
.9869 Save percentage

This guy has elevated his game to another level. He has single handily taken this team and made us not only part of the playoff puzzle yet to be solved but a team that no one would want to face. Following yesterdays game I would doubt that Red Wings would want to face Dan Ellis for seven games.

From one start in his NHL career (last year with Dallas) to winning the back up job to start the season to becoming the starting goaltender for a team pushing to make the playoffs Dan Ellis has proven he belongs in this league.

The Preds still face an uphill battle to make the playoffs but with Ellis in net you have to like our chances.

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Marked Man

March 28, 2008

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Preds tough guy Tootoo could be a marked man tonight…

At this point in the season every game for the Predators carries huge playoff implications. To say we need every point we can get is a huge understatement and tonight’s tilt against division rival Columbus is as big as they get.

The Preds are coming off a hard fought (literally and figuratively) 3-0 win over the Bluejackets on Tuesday night. A Game that saw the play get very physical. While that is not out of the norm when these two teams meet up there seemed to be something different about the level of hostility on Tuesday.

At the center of most of this hostility
was none other than Predator Jordin Tootoo. No doubt he will be a marked man tonight in Columbus as the Bluejackets try to break the hold that the Predators have over them. Once only an annoyance and a one trick pony Tootoo has developed his game and has posted a career high in goals (10) and points (16) this season. I really think that Tootoo could be a 20 goal scorer in this league and I am thirlled that we have him locked up for a couple more years.

Over the past two years the Preds at 14-0-1 against the Bluejackets. While the record may look impressive these contests have been, for the most part, close contests. (pause…looking up stats to back up my blanket statement)

Check that…the Preds have dominated the Jackets. Yes, there have been some close games (6 one goal games over the past two years) but overall the Preds are outscoring the Jackets 23-12 this year and 51-24 over the past two seasons. Yes. we have their number and they hate it. Ken Hitchcock cannot seem to get his team past the mental roadblock that is the Predators. The Predators are to the Jackets what the Sharks are to the Preds.

What do I expect tonight? On Tuesday both teams played with a great sense of urgency and were it not for the great play from Dan Ellis the score may well have been very different. Prior to Tuesday’s tilt Hitchcock was still hopeful that a win out by his team would get them in the playoffs. While not mathematically eliminated the Bluejackets are pretty much out of it sitting 7 points back with 5 to play. I still expect a full attack from them however as they attempt to do all they can to play spoiler to the Preds attempts to make their 4th straight post season.

Physically I expect this to be a game where Columbus comes out and tries to set the tone. It will be up to the Preds to try and weather that storm early and perhaps goad them into taking a few penalties. There is no one better at doing that than our number 22…Tootoo. Love him or hate him he knows how to get under an opponents skin. While I would not be surprised to see Trotz dress Hordichuck I hope that he doesn’t. We need all the skill we can get out there tonight be casue two points is better than a won fight.

Scoreboard Watching: Both teams that sit ahead of us are in action tonight as the Canucks (2 points ahead) travel to Minnesota (7 points ahead) and Edmonton (1 point behind) travels to Colorado (4 points ahead). Tonight I am rooting for the Wild and the Oilers. Yes that would keep the Oilers right therewith us but we have a game in hand and if we take care of ourselves we don’t have to worry about what they do.

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I Wish I Could Trust Him

March 26, 2008

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Dan Ellis has unseated Chris Mason as the Predators starter.

“I wish I could trust him.”

That’s what kept echoing in my brain last night following the superb performance by Dan Ellis last night in goal. for the second game in a row Ellis has stood on his head and led this team to victory. First it was the 2-1 shootout victory over the Blackhawks where he stopped 37 of 38 shots then last night he shutout a hungry Columbus Bluejacket team that was hoping to play spoiler to the Preds. Nary (wow…when was the last time I used the word nary. I guess I am running out of descriptive words!) one of Columbus’s 36 shots made it through the mighty wall that was Dan Ellis last night. He was playing inspired hockey and once again was there to bail out the defensive lapses (though those did seem less frequent last night…but there will still some).

But all is not right in my hockey world. We have seen these stretches from Ellis before. We have seen him post shutout wins before. We have seen him make huge save after huge save before. As much as I want all the good to be my memory I can’t help but remember all the times that he has been pulled from goal. All the times that he has allowed some soft goals. All the times I wondered what happened to that goalie who seemed to have an ‘S’ etched on his chest.

I wish I could trust him. I wish I could believe that the Dan Ellis that we saw these past few games would be the one we could ride the rest of the season.

That being said I still believe that Ellis is our best option going forward. Mason has seems to have lost his game somewhere. While I don’t think all is lost with Mason I do have to wonder what role he will play for us in the future.

Scoreboard Watching:
Calgary helped us out last night by keeping Vancouver in striking distance but tonight the Canucks play the Avalanche…meaning tonight we are rooting for the Canucks to win in regulation. The absolute worst possible outcome would be a three point game. The way the schedule lays out the rest of the week the Preds will have a real good idea where they stand when they visit Columbus on Friday. Colorado hosts Vancouver tonight and then host Edmonton (who have played themselves right back into the mix as well) on Friday.

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Finished…

March 21, 2008

in more ways than one I fear. preds lose a heartbreaker to the Wings.

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Red Wings By 2

March 21, 2008

Datysuk scores on a break away to make it 5-3 with 530 left. I think the Preds are done.

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another softie…

March 21, 2008

another soft goal as the D went to sleep and watched Franzen skate around and beat Mason easily. wings up by one with 9 minutes now left.

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TIE GAME!

March 21, 2008

power play goal by Erat ties it up at three…these boys might just have some fight left in them.

Wings call a time out to try and kill the momentum.

this place is rockin!!!