The Predators welcome their final Eastern Conference contender last night as they hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs in Music City. The Predators only allowed the Leafs one goal, but they didn’t exactly give the Predators the game, either. Toronto put up a decent fight, with Pekka blocking 38 of 39 shots at the goal. However, the home team had the advantage and sent the Maple Leafs back to Toronto and the Eastern Conference, 4-1. Here are some highlights from last night’s game:
- Martin Erat was first to the goal last night at 5:48 into the first. He found the goal on the rebound with assistance from Sergei Kostitsyn and Mike Fisher. The Predators would remain 1-0 over the Leafs through the rest of the 1st Period.
- The Leafs made use of their Power Play in the 2nd, tying the game. Toronto’s John-Michael Liles swept it past Pekka Rinne to give the Leafs their own goal of the night.
- During a face-off, Mike Fisher “slashed” former Predator Matthew Lombardi with his stick, sending Lombardi to the locker room. Fisher was not charged with a penalty, but Lombardi did not return to the game and was seen leaving with his left arm in a sling. An updated source from TSN claims Lombardi will be out for a minimum of three weeks. Beware Leafs, three weeks to Lombardi equals the entire season. The Predators traded Matthew Lombardi (and Cody Franson) to the Maple Leafs after Lombardi suffered a season ending concussion against the Blackhawks on October 13, 2010. Did you notice Lombardi limping off the ice? Or do you even know who that is?
- Ryan Suter was quick to regain the lead for the Predators, taking a wrist shot past Toronto’s goalie Ben Scrivens at 12:42 in the second. He was assisted by Sergei Kostitsyn and Shea Weber.
- Brian McGrattan did what the Predators pay him for and took after Toronto’s Jay Rosehill. An estimated 30-50 punches were said to be thrown, with McGrattan hitting Rosehill with almost all of them. It is clear that McGrattan won that fight considering Rosehill couldn’t even reach McGrattan’s face. Both McGrattan and Rosehill faced a five minute penalty for fighting, but McGrattan faced an additional 10 minutes due to misconduct. Here’s the video from the fight, if you missed it.
- The Fisher-Erat-Kostitsyn line struck gold once again, with Martin Erat scoring his second goal of the night. Erat won two of his four shots at goal, which is pretty successful indeed. And, although Kostitsyn had three assists on the four goals, he did not once take a shot at the goal. Does SK74 have shooting anxiety?
- David Legwand did not play again tonight, but he has been seen on the ice during practices. Hopefully with this news, Leggy will be ready sooner than expected. Coach Barry Trotz has high hopes for Leggy to hit the ice on Saturday night against the Blue Jackets, but it will more than likely be a game day decision.
- Mistake of the night goes to rookie Craig Smith. With an empty net, Smith charged the net and tried lifting it into the net from three feet away. Unfortunately, Craig’s puck went into the wrong net- say, the one that protects fans from flying pucks. Craig was clearly embarrassed and left the arena before media could speak with him. His goof also made Yahoo!’s front page. Accidental goofs like that happen and better it happen now than later on.
- Matt Halischuk fixed Craig Smith’s boo-boo by sealing the empty-netter at 19:37 in the third, sending the Maple Leafs packing 4-1.
- The Maple Leafs out-shot the Predators 39 to 22, but it was clear that, either the Predators just shot better or Pekka was just the better goalie (well, that’s a no-brainer). The Predators and the Maple Leafs tied in penalties with four. Here’s who was sent to the box from the Preds:
- Jack Hillen – 2nd Period 9:17 – Hi-Sticking (2 Minutes)
- Jordin Tootoo – 3rd Period 2:30 – Tripping (2 Minutes)
- Brian McGrattan – 3rd Period 7:02 – Fighting (5 Minutes)
- Brian McGrattan – 3rd Period 7:02 – Misconduct (10 Minutes)
The Predators continue their home advantage by hosting fellow Western Conference contenders the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and the Edmonton Oilers next Tuesday night. Saturday night’s game is also featured as a “McDonald’s Family Four-Pack” game. You can check out more information here.