What a bittersweet way to return from the All-Star Game week-long hiatus! If you missed tonight’s game (or changed the channel during the second period), you missed a win that was definitely in true Predators fashion. The first two periods were sluggish and disappointing for the Predators, but the third period truly heated up for the lazy Preds and hung a nice embarrassment over the heads of the Minnesota Wild, who clearly should have won this game. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:
- Francis Bouillon and Jerred Smithson were both scratched tonight, still suffering from their upper-body injuries. Brian McGrattan was, of course, the healthy scratch for the night.
- Both the Predators and the Wild started the game out sluggishly, but unfortunately for the Predators, the Wild woke up at 8:04, with a snap shot from Dany Heatley passed Pekka Rinne.
- Minnesota would continue to outplay the sleepy Preds with another goal at 12:36, Heatley’s second goal of the night and 17th for the season.
- The second period had many Preds fans turning the channel, as Cal Clutterbuck nailed a wrist shot passed Peks at 1:29, putting the Wild up 3-0.
- Matt Halischuk was the first Predator to wake up, realizing their was a hockey game going on at 9:33 with a tip-in, his 12th goal of the season. Halischuk has become a silent, but deadly key player amongst the Predators this season and we expect even more to come as the season continues. Halischuk was assisted by Kevin Klein and Brandon Yip.
- When Predators fans began to think their team might have a chance, Kyle Brodziak all but wiped that hope from many with a wrist shot just 16 seconds into the third period.
- When all seemed lost for the Predators, the entire team woke up at 9:22 when the new kid, Brandon Yip sent a wrist shot passed Josh Harding. The goal was put under review for Toronto to check out. Thankfully, the big wigs played in the favor of the Preds and gave Yip his first goal as a Nashville Predator. Yip was assisted by Matt Halischuk and Craig Smith.
- Patric Hornqvist gave fans hope at 16:39 with a wrist shot, his 15th goal of the season. He was assisted by Sergei Kostitsyn and Shea Weber.
- Before the Wild announcers could even announce Hornqvist’s goal, Mike Fisher tied the game at 4-4 at 17:00, his 13th goal of the season. Fisher was assisted by Colin Wilson and Martin Erat.
- Mike Fisher sealed the game (and sending almost ever Predators fan into a frenzy) at a lone wrist shot, his 14th goal of the season.
- The Predators out-shot the Minnesota Wild 30 to 25, with 12 of their shots taken in the third alone. Although Peks was a little off during the first and second periods, he was able to 21 of 25 shots on goal (not bad from being away for a week).
- The Predators and the Wild also faced two penalties a piece, but the Wild was the only team able to capitalize on the penalty. Here are the two Preds who sat out in the box:
- Shea Weber – 12:15 1st Period – Holding
- Jordin Tootoo – 6:02 2nd Period – Roughing (with Cal Clutterbuck)
Again, terrible first two periods, but outstanding third by the Nashville Predators. But hey, we expect the pesky Preds to make these out-of-nowhere turnarounds every now and then, don’t we? The Predators lucked out against the Wild, who obviously thought they had the win in the bag when they were up 5-2 in the third period. However, the Philadelphia Flyers probably won’t be as oblivious to the Predators comebacks (the Wild really shouldn’t be surprised, either) and hopefully this was the wake-up call the Preds needed before getting back on a winning schedule.
The Predators head to Philadelphia on Thursday and take on the Flyers at 6:00PM.