Call me optimistic…or crazy…but my instincts tell me tomorrow night against the St. Louis Blues, our season turns around. What? Why? Come on. I know, I can hear you. Hear me.
Willie Mitchell is still getting his legs underneath him. He now has had two starts and several days of rest including the last two. A healthy Mitchell in the defensive fold is the glue that keeps our top four playing well. Without him, the defense doesn’t work because we have to rely on Matt Greene to play top four, which he is not, and too much emphasis on the kids, Doughty and Johnson, when they don’t have the maturity to carry the defense.
A better defense means less shots get through and less rebounds hang around in front of Jonathan Quick. Less of each around Quick means he gets his confidence and “swagger” back. A Quick with swagger is a goalie I would take over just about any other in the league. Jonathan is going to find his mojo.
Surly said something to me today that made a lot of sense. That doesn’t happen too often so I will share it. We were talking about Justin Williams and he commented that Williams needs a hot center to get and stay hot. Justin feeds off his center because one that plays with speed, gets the passes stick to stick, and puts the shots on net creates the recently elusive time and space for Williams to operate. Remember when Stoll was in fuego? That is when Justin Williams was as well. Why? Because Stoll drove the opposing defenses back with his speed and puck possession game, banged bodies in the corners, put the puck on Williams’ stick and visa versa and created room for Williams to operate through the neutral zone and over the blue line. We have an all-star number one center in Anze Kopitar who has been playing well all season and possesses each of those attributes. Goodness knows Anze has been far more consistent than Jarret. So, Kopitar brings back Williams’ game and any shots that don’t land in the net are cleaned up by our other winger who is offensively hot, Ryan Smyth.
I then look at Marco Sturm who for the last two games has been getting his legs back. He is making nice passes, using his speed, taking the puck to the net and has become far more positionally sound on defense.
A hot first line, Sturm playing better, the defense back where it belongs and Jonathan Quick returning to form will do wonders for this team on both ends of the ice. I think we win the next two, go into Dallas and St. Louis and kick the crap out of both of them and, boom, you have a four game winning streak.
I can feel it.
Good things are about to happen.
LET’S GET SOME!