Game Time: 7:00PM CST
TV/Radio: NBCSN National, WGN-AM 720
Fuck David Poile: On The Forecheck
With the next stop on this Freakout Hell Bus Ride of 5 games in 7 nights for the Hawks, they find themselves once again in Nash Vegas, where they’ll take on the league’s secret scumbag team masquerading as its sweetheart, the Predators, who somehow once again look different than the last time the Hawks saw them.
Because David Poile is such a BRAIN GENIOUS, he was able to acquire Kyle Turris from the Senators in a three way deal that finally saw Matt Duchene launched from the Colorado mountaintops for a raft of prospects. Poile promptly signed Turris to a 6 year deal worth $6 million per, which all hockey observers fell all over themselves to get in line to pray to Poile’s eel. And while Turris has turned into a decent player despite Wayne Gretzky’s attempts to completely motherfuck his career out in the desert many moons ago, Turris will be 34 when this deal ends, and has only cracked 50 points 3 times in his entire career for the player picked #2 overall, and has never once scored 30 goals. None of this is to say that Turris is a bad player by any stretch of the imagination however, nor is he a bad fit slotted behind the root beer chugging, Eugene from Walking Dead looking doughboy of a #1 center in Ryan Johansen. Since being acquired, Turris has 6 points in 8 games, but only 1 goal and 1 assist at even strength, and the Preds have taken 13 of 16 points in that stretch. Turris will slot between Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith, which all but assures a three point night for Smith tonight.
Elsewhere the lineup looks pretty much the same as it did last time. The top unit of Forsberg, Johansen, and the Arvidsson remains one of the more dynamic in the league, even if it’s only Forsberg right now that’s putting up a point-per pace. Nick Bonino, who was unavailable earlier in the year, gives the third line plenty of speed so long as he remains properly slotted there with the the Swedes Aberg and Jarnkrok. Colton Sissons is one of the better fourth line centers around in a league that has made most of them an absolute bum parade.
On defense, Ryan Ellis’ injury has forced PK Subban to once again be saddled with Alexei Emelin, and they have generally been drawing the top assignments, and are getting pretty severely snowed in as a result, with a 45.9% share of attempts when together. The tradeoff from this has been Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm to bum slay and run wild a little bit, and while Matt Irwin and Anthony Bittetto can certainly play a bit from the third pairing, their numbers together aren’t pretty either. This will all be in front of Ol’ Shit Hip, who has somehow gotten a transfusion of Deadpool’s blood or something, as he’s been outstanding in the early going with a .927 overall and a .933 at evens, with that lightning quick glove hand still unaffected by his shitty, shitty hip.
As for the Men of Four Feathers, they did what they were supposed to do in relatively fun fashion last night, but that doesn’t mean that it’s growing more and more apparent just how much Alex DeBrincat’s offensive instincts are wasted on the third line with Sharp and Heart Man. ADB’s trick was about as DeBrincatty as you’d expect from how he was scouted and what type of instinctual player he is. Goal one was banging home a centering pass out front with no one around him. Two was him being right where he’s supposed to be for a rebound, and he was in so good of position with so much net to shoot at, the puck drifted in with the velocity of Shingo’s ZERO BALL. Three was a drive to the far post on his proper side on an odd-man rush. This is a kid who simply knows where he’s supposed to be to score goals, and has gotten really fucking good at it out of necessity given his size. He needs a longer look in the top six, but as everyone knows, Q is loath to change things up when the lines are clicking and resulting in standings points.
Being the tail end of a back to back (get used to hearing this), there was no morning skate, but it’s safe to assume that the lines will be the same, and the only change will be Anton Forsberg in net. Forsberg has deserved better than his numbers would indicate, but he’s been tossed out for some pretty dicey situations and tonight is no different.
By now the drill between these two teams is pretty clear, given the pace both want to play at. But the Hawks give up far more attempts at evens than the Preds (62.2 to 58.57 per 60) and given that the Hawks played last night and have their backup in the cage, this might be a game the Hawks will be fortunate to get a point out of. But if they can stay out of the box and keep Nashville’s ludicrous power play off the ice (25.8%), they might be able to capitalize on a few matchups further down the lineup. Let’s go Hawks.
Game #24 Preview