Bring on the playoffs

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:23 PM ET

Same old, same old. Every game of late takes on the same appearance. The London Knights' 12-0 win over Saginaw last night was another seemingly effortless win. Look familiar? Why wouldn't it? Since a 2-1 loss to the Guelph Storm, it's been 7-3 over Windsor, 5-1 over Plymouth, 4-0 over Sarnia and 5-1 over Erie.

Please. Enough already, bring on the playoffs.

The modus operandi is always the same -- off to a quick start, take a two- or three-goal lead. In some cases the opposition gets a goal back before the Knights put it out of reach by the end of the second period. From then on it's a countdown to the end.

Is the thrill gone? Of course not. There's still an interest in setting records, and winning continues to be a heck of a lot more fun than not. But in truth, the season has become a great deal like running on a treadmill.

You see the results of the work but there's nowhere else to go.

A case in point against the Spirit: By the end of the first period, the Knights were leading 4-0. As much as the team wanted to continue at an intense clip, it was difficult to maintain. But in times of tedium, you have to find something to drive you.

As the goals piled up, so did Corey Perry's points total. By the end of the second period, he had seven points and was challenging the team record of eight in one game.

He tied the record with less than two minutes to go with an assist.

Then there was Bryan Rodney, who was working on a three-goal night. He could have scored three or four others as he continues to play outstanding hockey.

With all that going on, the intensity was suddenly turned up a few notches.

You had to feel sorry for the Spirit. You really had to feel sorry for goaltender Jeff Weber. He gave up 12 goals but he was good. Further to his credit, he refused to be replaced. Without him, the word ugly would have taken on a new meaning.

There are only six games left in the regular season. Hallelujah!

The biggest challenge the Knights may face over the next two weeks is themselves. They need to make sure they don't pick up any bad habits.

They need to keep in mind that no matter how much better their record says they are, the playoffs are a different animal.

Everyone gets better in the playoffs.

As predictable as things have become, you won't hear any of the players talk about being bored.

Perry certainly doesn't find things boring. Now there's a big surprise. He's chasing the Knights' all-time scoring record.

"It's not boring," he said. "Little things like that (looking for a most-points-in-a-game record) keep it interesting. It's fun chasing records. This whole season has been fun."

But over the last few games there has been increasing talk about the playoffs. New and refreshing challenges are always needed and they'll provide just that.

Perry called last year's trip through the playoffs a grind, and despite the Knights' record, he expects a grind this year as well.

"It's time for the playoffs to start," he said. "Now that we have first place locked up and home-ice advantage for all of the playoffs, we're looking forward to (them)."

Is there more? Can the Knights ratchet it up another gear?

"I think we can move it to another level," said Perry. "We've got a lot left."

Now that's a thought that will send shivers of fear down a lot of backs.


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