James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Going streaking

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


TROUBLING TRENDS

 

Here are some quicker bits on a few teams whose losing streaks aren’t as pronounced as the Blue Jackets’ and Penguins’ winning runs are.

 

NASTY FOR NASHVILLE

 

Last night’s Blue Jackets win against the Nashville Predators felt like trading places. If that’s true, Columbus seems like a giddy Eddie Murphy while the Preds are like Dan Akroyd wondering the streets in tattered clothes. The 4-3 score is misleading because, once again, Nashville scored some garbage goals (and thus made things look less squalid).

 

The four-game losing streak has been especially bad for Nashville, but it’s not the only problem. The Predators are also 4-10-2 in their last 16 games.

 

My guess is that things will get at least a little better for the Predators, yet let’s face it: they’ve been walking a tightrope for years. Logic says you can’t do it forever.

 

PHOENIX’S PHONY OFFENSE

 

That’s basically the same train of thought many of us have carried with the Phoenix Coyotes, too.

 

As troubling as Phoenix’s popgun offense has been, one has to imagine that it can’t get much worse. Hopefully you haven’t invested much in it, anyway - about the only good news is that Radim Vrbata is back - but instead have guys who should figure things out like Mike Smith and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

 

Now, will they turn things around enough to make the playoffs? That remains to be seen.

 

NEUTERED NEW JERSEY

 

There seems to be a trend of teams who defy on-paper logic falling hard in March. The New Jersey Devils have been one of them.

 

Perhaps it’s just as simple as getting Martin Brodeur back, though. It’s quite possible that he’ll play as soon as Thursday. “Fancy stats” people have wondered about his true influence on the Devils’ long-term success, but considering some of Johan Hedberg’s struggles, his return is welcome nonetheless.

 

ONE BIG POSITIVE FOR THE PREDS

 

One interesting consideration is home vs. road games, which should be fairly good news for the Predators.

 

While the home-dependent Coyotes (10-5-1) have played two more games in Phoenix than on the road and the New Jersey Devils have a couple extra home games left, the Predators might enjoy some home cooking. A surprising 18 of Nashville's 30 contests have been away from "Smashville" so far this season, so perhaps things will work out.

 

They open a four-game homestand on Thursday and play 11 of their next 14(!) games at home.

 

INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS

 

The latest word on Malkin is that he could return on Friday … Thomas Vanek’s day-to-day after taking a slapper to the leg … Justin Faulk and Joe Corvo were banged up in Carolina’s latest game. The Hurricanes are trending poorly too, now that they’ve come up … Milan Michalek’s season has to be over after knee surgery. To make matters worse for Ottawa, Marc Methot’s banged up, too. At least Sergei Gonchar is thriving … the Tampa Bay Lightning put Ryan Malone on the IR … Seems like a fight with Chris Stewart aggravated Zack Kassian’s back problems.



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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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