Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not an Amicable Split

Normally when you go on the road for two games and get a split, you're okay with that. But at this point of the season, with a playoff spot on the line, you have to be greedy. You need to grab all the points you can get. You have to play with a sense of urgency, as if every shift could be your last. You need to pounce on loose pucks and fight for those greasy goals. I saw some of that Tuesday night in a 3-1 win in over the Cougars in Prince George. I didn't see enough of it in the rematch at the CN Centre Wednesday night.

The result is the T-birds settled for a split of those two games, a very unsatisfying split at that. In Tuesday's game both teams came out a little slow in the first period. I can understand that to a certain extent. It's a big game for both teams, there's maybe a little nervousness before the teams settle down.

But Wednesday, that is not understandable. Prince George lost the night before, their playoff lives were on the line and they came out to start Wednesday's game with a sense of purpose. They were desperate. The situation for the T-birds wasn't as dire but they had to know with a win they could possible jump back into a playoff spot while potentially crushing the Cougars hopes. But for the second straight night the T-birds came out flat. I didn't see any sense of urgency or desperation in their game. Not until they fell behind and the minutes ticked off the clock. That's not how you play with a postseason spot on the line.

One player who stepped up was team captain Luke Lockhart. Lockhart scored two goals including the game winner Tuesday night. Calvin Pickard was solid in goal but once again got no offensive support. Seattle's offense has struggled mightily over the past eight games, scoring just 12 goals. At a time of the season when they need the offense to step up, they are averaging 1.5 goals per game over that span.

The power play went 0-for-8 in the two games. It was the difference in Wednesday's loss as PG's second period power play goal ended up being the game winner. Seattle got five straight minutes of power play time in the second half of the first period. Down by one they had a chance to at least tie the game if not take over momentum but they came up empty.

I think the reality now is that for the T-birds to make the postseason they must win both home games versus Everett. It still may not be enough but it's almost impossible to get to the playoffs with those two wins.

Current Pace to the Playoff Standings:

7. Everett on pace for 53.45 pts (6 games remaining)
8. Victoria on pace for 51.58 pts (5 games remaining)
9. Seattle on pace for 50.18 pts (6 games remaining)
10. Prince George on pace for 47.28 pts (5 games remaining)

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