The Preds face elimination time as they are down 0-3 for the first time and seeking to avoid being swept by the juggernaut that is Colorado. Game 3 had its positive takeaways but optimism is lacking at 500 Broadway, and, frankly, I'm tired of moral victories and trying to take away positives when you get dominated for 99% of not just a game but an entire 3 games. Giving up early goals and going on the PK early has become a trend that continues to result in foregone conclusions. We can talk for days about the issues that have reared their ugly head at times throughout the regular season (defensive breakdowns, excessive penalties, lack of secondary scoring) and have become immediately apparent against a skilled-speed oriented team that is the Avalanche. Then again, even primary scoring has been non-existent with Forsberg being absent from the scoresheet through 3 games. The playoffs are where your top players need to step up. When you are either making the big money or negotiating that you are worth the big money, then I could honestly care less about the intangibles, especially this time of year. It really means nothing when you are losing. We can make that argument in October and November, but NEVER in May and beyond. This is also the case when it comes to what ifs and oh what if we didn't challenge or the refs hate us because they didn't overturn the controversial goal. The better answer is to play stronger defensively and not take a penalty and give up a goal in the first ten minutes. This team is actually quite strong when playing in the lead, so I would be really interested in seeing what could happen if they came out and got an early goal or two tonight. (Wishful thinking I know :/).
Tonight is gut check time, so let's hope that the team brings their best effort to force game 5. Everyone has already fired the coaches, the front office, and half the players, so there's not much to lose. The players are well aware of what everyone is saying. For everyone's sake, we want them to come out strong and fight for their lives and not simply roll over. Take it game by game.
Saros is out again with Ingram in net, while Kuemper is still suffering from a stick to the eye in Game 3 giving Pavel Francouz the start on the other end. Anyways, we shall see what happens tonight for Game 4 in Nashville, another fun 8:30pm CST start. Let's hope the boys give us something to cheer for as everyone has already predicted the sweep.
Josi Named Norris Finalist
Josi was named a Norris finalist today alongside Cale Makar (CO) and Victor Hedman (TB). It will be interesting to see the results of this tally, noting that playoff performance has no bearing on this reward. Josi had a powerful offensive season and was a strong part of willing this Nashville team into the playoffs. However, his defensive play has not been as strong as the other two. It will be between Josi and Makar and how much credit the voters give to analytics versus raw numbers. For years, the trophy was given to the defenseman that had the most points, but Josi wasn't the top scorer when he won in 2020. I'd say the traditional take would be to lean Josi due to who votes for these matters as Makar is the younger flashier style that has really been brought to the forefront across the league this season.
Saros To Be Named Vezina Finalist
Saros is thought to be named a Vezina finalist along with Igor Shesterkin (NYR) and Jacob Markstrom (CG). This is not yet official but has been reported widely (first by Kevin Weekes earlier this morning. Such a shame Saros hasn't been able to take his play into the playoffs. Would have been interesting to see how he faced the Colorado onslaught this series up to this point.
Former Preds coach Barry Trotz was fired from the Island this morning making him a hot commodity across the league for a variety of openings. I've been listening to fans and talk radio calling for Hynes's head and encouraging the return of Trotz to Nashville. I understand the frustration with all this is going on, but I do not entirely understand the reasoning behind such an argument. Trotz is a great coach and an incredible man who did a lot for this city, but if the Preds organization is wanting to move forward, I do not believe that we should go backwards, despite the success that Trotz has had in recent years. I think there are more underlying issues that go deeper than coaching.
But that's is a topic for another day.
Because yes, I am growing more and more frustrated, embarrassed (insert adjective of choice here).