EVERETT – Perhaps someone should break out the crutches and wheelchairs. The Everett Silvertips appear to be limping into the playoffs.
Everett concluded its season bruised, battered and beaten. The short-handed Silvertips were shut out in their final two games, and Everett heads into its first-round series against Portland knowing it lost home-ice advantage in the season’s final weekend.
The Tips aren’t about to press the panic button just because they lost the final two games of the regular season and have to begin the playoffs on the road.
“I don’t think you put any stock in that,” Everett captain Mitch Love said. “Now the 72-game season is done. You go in there and it’s a brand new season. Everybody’s 0-0 and we’ll see what we can do. Over the past two seasons we’ve been a team that seems to be able to get the job done on the road, and we need to do that if we want to win a playoff series.”
But there’s no denying that the final weekend didn’t go as smoothly as the Silvertips would have liked.
Everett came into the weekend in pole position for second place in the U.S. Division, leading Portland by two points.
However, the Silvertips took just one point from their final three games and ended up finishing three points behind the Winter Hawks, who swept their final three games. Therefore Everett will have to play games one and two on Friday and Sunday in Portland. Everett also goes into the playoffs having been held scoreless for more than 150 minutes.
To top it off, Everett’s scratch list for its season finale Sunday night in Seattle was worthy of a M.A.S.H. unit, with seven players sitting out due to various ailments.
The good news for Everett is that the Silvertips should recover in time for the playoffs. Four of the health scratches from Sunday – forwards Alex Leavitt, Kyle Annesley and Zach Sim and defenseman Taylor Ellington – should be ready for Game 1. The only players who aren’t expected to be available are forwards Tyler Dietrich, Jeremy Creurer and Brennan Zasitko, who have all been long-term absentees.
“You can’t get a read on our team (from the weekend games),” Everett assistant coach John Becanic said. “We had eight guys sitting out (Sunday). We will know as the week goes along where everybody’s at. Rest is probably the most-critical thing this week, for our team in particular.”