Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It all starts tonight against Milwaukee

I hate the Milwaukee Admirals. I know I am supposed to be impartial, etc., but I hate them because they are always good, they have a great coach, excellent goaltending and Nashville is probably the smartest team in the NHL when it comes to evaluating young talent.

And, the Admirals are going to enter the playoffs as THE team to beat out of the Western conference.

Tonight, the Aeros start a stretch against those Admirals where they will playing outside Texas just once in their next 18 games. For the next month and a half, they'll play three sets of three in threes, but seven of those games are at home and only once (this weekend when they go to OKC) will they have a disadvantage due to travel.

The Aeros passed all the tests they needed to pass to set themselves up for a very nice finish. In their last 14 games at Toyota Center, the Aeros are 10-3-0-1 (21 points). If they can duplicate that between now on the end of this 18 game stretch, they're going in as a No. 1 or 2 seed. If they win eight of them, I think that will be enough to get them into the playoffs.

But it won't be easy.

We have an intelligent, yet rogue commenter by the name of ICEVET who continues to point out how poorly the Aeros are on the power play and how they are near the top of the league in allowing shorthanded goals.

ICEVET is right in that the PP is very weak ... The PP needs to improve, if not thrive during this stretch of games.

Also, the Aeros have had a TON of success against both Texas and Oklahoma City this year. Trends and the law of averages suggests those teams are due for a few wins against the Aeros, and they play those two teams a combined six times during this stretch.

The Aeros will have to keep beating those teams and find a way to score more power play goals. And ... they are going to have to get better goaltending.

The team does seem to have those "intangibles" going for them so far. While not particularly great in any one area, they do enough to keep themselves in games and get two points. They have a great record in OT and shootouts and the Jon DiSalvatore/Patrick O'Sullivan combo has been very good.

DiSalvatore has points in five straight (2+3=5) and 14 of 16 (6+12=18) to lead the way. O'Sullivan has points in 13 of the 15 games he has played since joining the team (9+7=16) and has kept the power play from sliding all the way to the league's underbelly.

Since December, I have said if the team can just hang in there until late Feb. they'd be going to the postseason. Beyond losing a couple of key guys to injury or call-up, I still feel that way. They did what they needed to do to set things up for them. It's all there for the taking.

Now they just need to get it done. And it all starts tonight against Milwaukee.

(Click on the image below to see a schedule breakdown of the seven teams in the West fighting for five playoffs spots)


artandhockey said...

The addition (by default?) of O'Sullivan has helped liven up the team.
Ortmeyer, too, may have had a not so tiny hand in it!
Whatever, if it works it's grand!

Re goalies(not being an expert on goalies)there IS talent, but it's a seesaw talent.
When good,it's verry, verry good.
When bad..let's, ah well, just go to the next game!

Anonymous said...

How about some rogue ice girls?