Tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars is important for a number of reasons. As always, we could use the 2 points. Especially coming off back to back losses. Needing a win is the norm every night, though. Here’s what else is important tonight:
The Stars are a top tier team in the west so far. I don’t know how they are winning, especially after losing Brad Richards to free agency, but they are. It’s always more fun to play and beat strong competition, and we need that right now. It’s not just about the W, it’s about continuing to prove that you can hang with the big boys. Of course, it helps when you can bring back an important piece to your own squad. Claude Giroux might finally be back in the lineup. He’s missed a few games, and the line shuffling hasn’t looked pretty. We got smoked by Boston and then looked disorganized against Colorado. His loss, compounded with the loss of Sean Couturier lead to some mixing and matching in the line combo’s. If he’s back, that’s one huge step closer to a normal lineup.
Once again, we have no idea what’s up with Ilya Bryzgalov. He let in a few horrendous goals against the Bruins, but came back with a strong effort against the Avs. That is, until we went to a shootout. That’s when he completely collapsed, getting burned for 3 goals. They were all nice dekes, but that doesn’t matter. He was deep in his net and gave the shooters too many options. How can earn your teammates trust if you can’t bail them out? This comes on the heels of a winning streak in which he looked awesome. If he keeps having these lapses, the team will always have doubts in the back of their mind and will worry abut covering for his mistakes rather than playing loose and comfortable.
As for everyone else, you always want to see more. The defense needs to make it tough to get shots from the slot. I’m still waiting for Danny Briere to start dominating and creating a little more. He’s picked it up as of late, but it’s not enough. We know damn well what he can do when the stakes are high, and I just want to see him playing somewhere near that level. I’m pretty close to giving up on JVR again. He’s invisible, and by season’s end will officially be a bust. Most other guys are doing about as well as we can ask of them.
Now as much as I want the team to do well tonight, I also want them to make sure things get taken care of by 10:00 tonight. The second episode of HBO’s 24/7 airs then, and I don’t want to miss minute. If you’ve been living under a rock, then you’ve already missed Bryzgalov’s awesomeness, along with tons of other cool stuff.
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