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11-4-2, Portland shows Seattle they're still tops

Portland dominated the 1st period on their way to a 5-2 victory last night at Showare Center. The Winterhawks showed that they are still top banana in the West in convincing fashion. Portland started fast and maintained their torrid pace through much of the game.  Seattle was able to muster a little bit of energy in the 2nd and 3rd periods but the 3 goal deficit to begin the game was just too much to overcome. Some thoughts about the game before another big game tonight in Everett.

  • Yak's Checking to the Head penalty from Tuesday night was changed to a Charging major (still a bit laughable) and was thus not suspended and available to play last night.
  • As I stated in the opening, Portland came out firing on all cylinders and looked like they were out to prove a point. They were on a mission from the start and their overall team speed just overwhelmed the Thunderbirds.
  • I'm so sick of Brendan Leipsic... how is that guy still in the league? I'm so sick of Portland for that matter. I can't believe I ever felt sorry for these guys when they were THE worst franchise in the league. Oh... I had a point. Leipsic is good, really good, and he tallied twice in the opening period to stake Portland to the lead. Seattle did themselves no favors by giving Portland a 5 on 3 penalty and I honestly thought both calls were pretty fair. Brendan Troock's interference along the side boards was an easy call and though you might have called Embellishment on Seth Swenson's tripping call I thought he did take the player to the ice and the puck wasn't close to him. Seattle can't do that and Portland made them pay.
  • Fans called for Justin Myles to get the hook after Garrett Haar ripped on past him to give Portland a 3 goal lead but I thought he had no chance on the 1st and 3rd goals and the Winterhawks were dominating the action. After the blitz, Myles actually played pretty well finished with 36 saves on 40 shots and keeping the game from becoming a blowout.
  • Evan Wardley picked up a Major for Charging and could face suspension. In real-time I think these calls are tough to make and even though we complain about officials all the time... they really do have a difficult job.  I didn't think the hit was "that bad" as I thought it looked like a clean body shot with Adam De Champlain getting caught with his head down. Wardley did come from the red line to just inside the blue line to deliver the hit but now we have to get into a conversation about what constitutes charging and whether he glided into the it or not. Honestly.. I'd have to see a replay and other people said they thought Wardley caught up high and in the head. If that's truly the case, I would have to defer. So far no suspension has been announced, so we'll have to see whether Wardley suits up tonight in Everett.
  • What bothered me most by last night was the complete absence of some players in a big game.  Where was 20 year old Mitch Elliot last night? No big hits, no fights, no impact on the game.  Alexander Delnov? Horrible decisions with the puck and his lack of awareness gave Portland the empty net goal.  Brenden Troock? He did pick up an assist last night but too many times he made poor decisions with the puck. Firing bad angle shots on the Power Play with nobody in front of the net and trying to dangle though multiple people to get to the net. You can't do that at this level. Here we have a fairly elevated game early in the season and a bunch of your players don't show up. Very frustrating to say the least.
  • Portland's speed makes life very tough on Shea Theodore. Theo is a superb talent who looks amazing against most teams. Against Portland? He looks downright mortal and human and I think that has everything to do with Winterhawk players being the few who can truly skate with Theo.
  • Seattle is much improved, that we know for sure. However, last night Portland showed us that they are still the class of the division and the Western Conference. Seattle is going to have to step their game up to the next level if they have hopes of catching up with Portland.
One final note going into the game tonight.  This game should be very interesting on a character basis. Everett got caught perhaps looking ahead last night and got handled at home by Brandon. You'd have to imagine that Everett is really pissed off going into the game tonight... BUT... Seattle just got handled on their home ice by division rival Portland. Shouldn't Seattle be a little pissed off tonight too? Will be extremely interesting to see how Seattle responds tonight and whether Everett shows up to play and blows their doors off.

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