As the second round gets into full swing, I can not say that I am all that happy with the outcomes of the games played so far.
Don’t get me wrong, they have been really exciting, but the teams I have been routing for have come up short so far.
The most disappointing thing I have seen is the play of the Nashville Predators. Through two games they have played without much spirit and have slipped up more times than I can count the defensive end of the ice. The defense has given up pucks like they were going out of style. They haven’t been taking the body or doing much to force Phoenix to take bad angle shots or take away shots entirely.
And it doesn’t help that Pekka Rinne has just not been on his game in these first two matches. He has been slow, indecisive and just plain ordinary. The Preds can not win without Rinne getting back to the form he was in last series against Detroit. In those five games he played like a man on a mission and could not be beaten, even by the high powered offense of the Red Wings. But now he seems unfocused and undisciplined. Saves he could make everyday have been popping out front for easy rebounds and he just has not seemed to be seeing the puck as well as he has in the past.
I do, however, have to give props to Mike Smith and how well he has been playing. And besides that, he has gotten a lot of help from his offense in both games so far. His teammates have taken advantage of almost every opportunity Rinne and the Preds have given them to score a goal.
All I can say for Rinne is that maybe he got rattled early in the first game by the goals Phoenix was able to put past him, but he is better than this. It doesn’t help that his defense has not be playing as well as they have in recent games, but that still does not excuse his sub-par performance so far against the Coyotes. I can only hope he picks up his play when he is back on home ice and in front of the home crowd. If he doesn’t, the Preds will most likely be out of the playoffs in the near future. Which would be sad since they have the power and defense, when they are on their game, to make it to the Cup Finals and fight for Lord Stanley’s Cup. We’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out.
That’s it for now,