Things started so well for the Admirals. Then they fell into the perpetual cycle of making the same mistakes each game.
1 - Number of short-handed goals scored by both Troy Bodie and Chris Wagner
2 - Frederik Andersen's Goals Against Average is 2.76, allowing 23 goals against in nine games
3 - Number of short-handed goals against in the last four games
4 - The Admirals rank fourth in the league in shots-for per game at 32.15 per.
5 - Norfolk has dropped four out of their last five games.
6 - Patrick Maroon, Peter Holland, and Kyle Palmieri lead the Admirals with six goals each.
7 - Norfolk's only win in the last five games was against Albany (New Jersey Devils) on Nov.12. The Admirals barely squeaked out with a shoot-out win, 5-4.
8 - Number of goals Norfolk has given up against Springfield (Columbus Blue Jackets) vs. two goals scored against them. Springfield is now 2-0 in the season series.
9 - Sami Vatanen ranks ninth among defensemen with 11 points in 12 games played. He also leads the Admirals in assists with nine.
10 - Nate Guenin continues to be in the right place at the right time on offense, leading Norfolk in plus/minus with a plus-10.
- Loss, rinse, repeat. The Admirals have dropped four of their last five, six of their last nine, and have been unable to put any kind of win streak together since the four-straight wins to start the season. Lack of consistency, a shortage of desperation, an inability to convert on the power play (12 goals on 73 power plays), a parade to the penalty box, giving up short-handed goals - any and all of these reasons can be attributed to the Admirals fall from grace.
Coach Yawney has repeated:
"We've got a lot of work to do, a lot of learning to do. It's being very careless. This was going on even in the games we won, except that we found ways to win, either our goaltender bailed us out, or we got to the shootout. We're beating ourselves."
- Admirals captain Nate Guenin and other leaders in the locker room, continue to try and keep the mindset of moving forward, but also have no problem admitting the shortfalls.
"It's not like the guys are trying not to score goals. It's our job to score goals on the power play, it's tough, but we have to find a way. We need consistency, we can't go for stretches in the game with no shots. Instead of finding ways to win, we're finding ways to lose. When you're struggling, you start to doubt yourself. For our guys, they start to grip the stick too tight, and it's because they care, they want it to change, but you can't doubt your ability. When we're losing like this, we have to find ways to stay positive--when a guy makes a mistake, you let him know, but you try to build him back up."
- No matter what way you slice it, there are two very different Norfolk Admirals teams. The first four games of the season showed a good offense really could be a good defense, and that offense could make up for the shortcomings on the other side of the game.
Now it seems the offense has dried up and the team mistakes are glaring. Consistency is the name of the game. Whether it's getting the puck in deep on the fore-check; moving the puck out of the defensive zone; converting on the power play; communicating on the ice; it is all about doing it consistently. Right now, team-wide consistency is lost.
The Admirals are not playing like a desperate team. They've allowed teams to come back in third periods all season and only come alive when the possibility exists they'll lose. The big names aren't stepping up and carrying the team when it's needed. No team can play from behind all the time and expect to win. Coach Yawney has told the players they need to "draw a line in the sand". Until all 20 players do it, the loss, rinse, repeat cycle should be expected.
The mistakes are correctable, and it's still the beginning of the season. The team can't afford to let the line be pushed back too much more.
[Ed. Note: Ducks fans, deja vu all over again? Is this not similar to the narrative to the start of the 2011-12 season?]