The disappointment in splitting a pair of home games this weekend isn't so much in the failing to earn a full four points on home ice, but rather the fashion in which the T-Birds did it.
Seattle has struggled with their starts much of this season and Saturday against Everett that poor start finally reared up and bit them. Sure you love the urgency in which they played in the third period, trying to overcome that early three-goal deficit, but they need to play with that level of desperation for the full 60 minutes. Reality is they were fortunate to get two points out of the weekend (thanks to the shootout win over Spokane on Friday) because in six periods of hockey I felt they only played one really good one and that was the last period against Everett.
For a team that doesn't score a lot of goals, the T-Birds need to bang in a few greasy ones. As well as they played getting pucks to the net in that third period against the Silvertips, had they crashed the net a little harder, they might have gotten that tying goal because there were a number of opportunities for rebounds left around the 'Tips crease.
The past few years we've lamented the futility of the T-Birds power play. So far this season, that is not a problem as both the power play and the penalty kill are ranked in the top ten at #2 and #7 respectively. But 5-on-5 has been an issue. Seattle has scored only 60 goals in 21 games and over one-third (24) have been PP goals. Actually, the T-Birds have only scored 55 goals in 21 games (2.6 per game). The other five goals are team goals, earned as a result of winning five shootouts. So the reality is the team has scored almost 50 percent of it's goals on the man advantage. Throw in a few 4-on-4 goals and the number of goals scored 5-on-5 dips further.
The saving grace has been the fact the team has only given up 53 goals against or an average of 2.5 per game. With Calvin Pickard, that's a pace I think the team can continue at the rest of the season. Somehow, some way, these 'Birds need to find a way to average just a half goal more per game. It doesn't seem like much but if they can continue, led by Pickard, to keep opponent scoring down then that half a goal a game more could be the difference between a 35 win season and a 40+ win season. Right now they are on pace for about 32-33 wins. Also, averaging another half goal a game could keep them from another 20-25 OT/So games. With just a few out of conference games left on the schedule, they can't afford to be giving up points to the opposition, even when they are winning games.
So, how do they get that extra half goal per game? Well, they need more players to step up and start putting the puck in the net. Players like Alos, Elliot, Lund, Toomey and Rouse have to start scoring more consistently. A player like Lund especially. I look at Chance and I see a guy with all the tools. He has the size, good speed, he plays physical and he can win puck battles. He needs to complete the recipe by adding that final ingredient; scoring. Believe you me, no one is more frustrated by his lack of offensive production than Chance is. I'm sure his confidence in that area is not very high right now but maybe if he gets that first one, the flood gates will open.
As we approach the one-third point of the season, it's a tightly bunched group in the Western Conference standings and the T-Birds are right in the thick of it. While Portland stands out from then all, only six points seperate second place from tenth. If Seattle wants to maintain its current position in the conference standings (3rd) I think finding a little more offense is imparative.