Panther Preview. Decoding The Trap

23-16-6

VS.

19-20-2

Playing the Nashville Predators worries me.  Always.  You know that they pretty much  caused me to have agita in last years first round playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks.  Well tonight they come into the Bank Atlantic Center giving me almost, not quite, but almost the same feeling.

I don’t like playing Nashville.  I don’t like their style (to play against).  I don’t like the way they bottle up the middle (trap).  They slow down the game and they give you very little space to show any type of skill.  When you play Nashville you usually have to work a little harder than normal for 60 minutes.  Pounce on their mistakes, cause if you’re not careful they’ll pounce on yours.

The Predators coached by the trap man himself, Barry Trotz, are schlepping into town with a six game winning streak.  The Florida Panthers coming off a huge overtime victory need a win and the two points.  I’ll be plotzing if we don’t get them.

The Predators are a streaky team.  In December they had a five game winning streak, followed by a five game losing streak, and now they’ve won six in a row.  They’ve killed 17 of 18 power plays during this streak.  Watch out Preds, we scored three power play goals Tuesday night.  Your success is in jeopardy.

Goaltender Pekka Rinne is on a five game winning streak of his own, allowing only five goals on 153 shots in that time frame.  Defenceman Shea Weber has two goals and eight assists in his last six games.   The Predators get scoring from everywhere, as each line can contribute, and they have defencemen who not only wear you down physically, but will join the rush offensively.

When this team plays with confidence, they are tough to beat, and they make you grind it out. Thank goodness it’s not a match up of Trotz and Jacques Martin.  That would be like being stuck in a cement tub with weights.

For once the Panthers are playing a team where their top player has more points than the oppositions.  Stephen Weiss has 29 for the Cats and Shea Weber (a defenceman) has 25.  Mike Santorelli, or The Sandman as “Goldie” calls him has seven points in his last eight games, and 12 goals for the season.  Clearly a player that has grabbed the opportunity given to him.  While at times, he’s been a bit streaky, he’s played very well, and you can count on one hand how many bad games he’s had and still have a finger or two left.

Holding leads has been an issue, as Tuesday night it happened again against the Washington Capitals.  A three goal lead was wiped out, and it took  Dennis Wideman’s overtime winner to seal the victory.  Great for recovery, great for relief, but the problem lingers, and we need to fix it.  Honestly, and I want everyone to read this comment, we aren’t that bad for this to be happening so often.

In four of our last five defeats we’ve lost the lead.  Stepping on the gas pedal is something that is imperative.  No lead is safe, and no game is ever over until the clock shows zeros.  Toughen up, be mentally strong.  11 points separates us from the eighth spot.  No one is going to help us, so take destiny in your own hands.

Please checkout our FanSided opponent Amanda DiPaolo at Predlines.

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Tags: Barry Trotz Florida Panthers Mike Santorelli Nashville Predators Pekka Rinne Shea Weber The Sandman

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