Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bears play well, beat Devils for 5th time

First of all let's get this out of the way...Mathieu Perreault is technically a Hershey Bear again.  But he is not going to play today and in my opinion will never play for Hershey or Washington again. 

The main reason to take a player that was your 2nd line center a couple games ago and put him on the bench (or in the minors) and stipulate that he won't play is because you don't want him to get hurt.  And that means they want to move him.

Perry is talented, no one will deny that.  On another team in another system maybe he sticks in the NHL but there are too many centers in the Capitals system to allow him to sit and wait.  It would make more sense for the organization to include him in a deal for a more consistent and more proven player.

My what the Florida Panthers do.  I think Stephen Weiss is one of the best players available and I think the Caps COULD be interested.  But it might cost too much.

If the Caps make a trade I would definitely expect Perreault to be a part of it. 


No on to the game last night.

Best effort I have seen from the Bears since the January 29th game against Charlotte.  The score was 4-3 but it wasn't really that close in my opinion. 

Hershey controlled the play from the beginning of the game.  They registered 19 shots in the first period and tried to put the pressure on the Albany Devils from the opening whistle.

Albany did get the first goal of the game and I will be honest...I was worried at that point.  But Hershey picked up only their 6th win of the season when they allow the first goal thanks to goals by Boyd Kane (2 of them), Francois Bouchard, and Steve Pinizzotto.

Personally I didn't think the offense was lights out amazing last night.  They did enough to get the job done.  The area where I saw the most improvement was the physical side. 

And by physical I don't mean huge hits that knock a guy down...those are rare.  But lately the Bears weren't even touching the other team.

Last night there was few if any times where a Devil went for a loose puck in the corner that a Bear wasn't punishing him for it.  And that makes a HUGE difference in a game.

The effort level all over the ice was better for Hershey.  Keith Aucoin at one point dropped to block a shot.  The defense was solid after a shaky start.  Jared DeMichiel struggled at times but still picked up the win in only his 2nd career AHL start.  Dmitri Orlov showed great poise and looked very controlled all game long...he is definitely a player to keep an eye on.

The power play scored twice.  The 5 on 4 power play goal was their first since February 6th (they scored a 5 on 3 on Wednesday night). 

The penalty kill shut down the Devils opportunities. 

To put it simply the Bears played like they can and have during most of the season.  Instead of caving after they fell behind and instead of giving in when the fluke 2nd goal occurred at the end of the second they came out in the 3rd and played like they wanted to win. 

For the first time in a while the Bears played like they wanted the win more than the opponent.

Now they have to show that they can string together a few good games. That begins this afternoon as they visit the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

It is a tough turn around.  Last night's game finished at about 9:30 and Hershey faces off today at 3:00.  17.5 hours in between with a 4 hour bus ride incorporated.

Fortunately for the Bears they are playing Bridgeport.  They currently reside in 27th of the 30 AHL teams with only 49 points.

Last week Hershey beat them 6-4 at Giant Center in a game that Hershey didn't play that well in despite the score.

After that game Bridgeport won 2 straight before losing their most recent two games including a 5-0 loss to division leading Manchester last night.

Overall the Sound Tigers are 2-12-0-1 in their last 15 games. 

This is the type of game that the Bears HAVE to win.  You can't show up flat against a team at the bottom of the standings.

The Charlotte Checkers have closed the gap on the Bears to only 2 points.  1 game currently separates the 2nd place Bears and 3rd place Checkers.  And it isn't much further to 4th place Binghamton (7 points). 

Games against bottom dwelling teams are games you can not lose this late in the season.


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