So good to wake up this morning knowing we've nullified Tampa's home ice advantage and are up 1-0. As lots of others have said, the team as a whole needs to play a lot better. But, I thought the D was strong, and Mrazek was awesome, so poised and composed, didn't get rattled, exactly what I expected him to do.
Personally, I think the problem playing Nyquist with Tatar in the playoffs is that their games are too similar, and having 2 undersized guys on the same line is a problem at this time of year. I thought they played better in the 3rd when Babs swapped Jurco with Nyquist. Then you've got Sheahan's size and hands, Tatar's speed, and Jurco's speed and ability to crash and bang. There was a reason why these 3 played so well together last year, I've been surprised that they've hardly been together this year. Putting them back together would hopefully get the 2nd line going, which we need.
Keep Dats and Z together for now. They were our best line and besides some shifts from the 4th line, were the only group of guys able to sustain zone time in the Tampa end. We were on our heels and playing without the puck for most of the night. Splitting them up now makes no sense. Even if Abby is good to go, I'd probably keep Helm with them. his speed brings such a good dynamic.
Then you could slot Abby down with Nyquist, and maybe Weiss? And I'd keep the 4th line as it is. Ferraro plays physical and is fast. Those guys aren't counted on to score, and they played an excellent shut down role in game 1, so why change it?
Marchenko was good too. No real reason to bring Smith back in at this point is there?
If we can win tomorrow, then maybe we'll start to get in Tampa's heads a little. Swept last year by Montreal in the first round, what happens if they go down 2-0 and then have to hit the road?
I think the thing with Pulkkinen is that he hasn't shown an ability to handle the physical intensity really if we're being honest. He's been fine, but as someone mentioned, isn't great at winning those board battles. Thus, these become more important come playoff time as we all know. Ferraro has been decent, and Andersson has more size, so I guess that's why Teemu is scratched.
Although, I've been consistently annoyed with how Babs out Teemu in the slot on the PP. He really has no business being there, and should be out at the left point so they can just feed him one timers for a minute.
I'll take Nashville here - like some others I haven't watched alot of either this year, but I think the Preds are due, and everyone hates Chicago and their bandwagon fan base. There's enough good reasons right there.