Predators take the Joe 3-1 despite being Out-Shot 41 to 17

Pekka Rinne blocks 40 of 41 shots on goal against Detroit.

The Nashville Predators had already claimed one victory in the Joe Louis Arena on Sunday, their first post-season win in Detroit in franchise history, meaning the Detroit Red Wings would come out swinging in the next round. However, Nashville had a relatively good season against the Red Wings in Detroit, so the pesky Predators weren’t just going hand the Wings the victory without a price. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in the Detroit/Nashville series:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jordin Tootoo, Hal Gill, Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, and Chet Pickard were the scratches for the night, giving Ryan Ellis another chance at playoff hockey. Along with Ellis returned Matt Halischuk, who was feared to have broken a few ribs against Detroit on Friday night.
  • Both the first and second periods proved goal-less, but that doesn’t mean neither team was given prime scoring chances. Thanks to a stellar performance from the Finnish phenom, Pekka blocked 11 shots during the first (Nashville only shot 7) and 17 in the second (Nashville only got 3 shots).
  • After David Legwand’s first goal was waved off due to an “intent to blow the whistle” call, Gabriel Bourque made sure his goal was seen around the arena at 1:55 into the third period. Bourque’s snap shot passed Jimmy Howard was his third of the playoffs and Alexander Radulov (3rd assist) picked up the lone assist on the goal.
  • Jiri Hudler would score a few minutes later on the power play at 3:14 with a tip-in passed Pekka Rinne, his first goal of the post season.
  • Kevin Klein would shine yet again against Detroit, sinking his 2nd post season goal at 6:25. Klein’s wrist shot was assisted by Martin Erat (2nd assist) and Mike Fisher (2nd assist). While the Detroit line followed Martin Erat, Kevin Klein was left wide open, cleaning tapping the puck into the net while Jimmy Howard and the rest of the team tried desperately to adjust.
  • Nashville would hold off Detroit until 19:21 when David Legwand made certain Detroit acknowledged his goal. Leggy was unassisted on his tip-in goal.
  • As stated in the headline, Nashville was out-shot 41 to 17 overall, but if you’ve followed the Predators at all this past season, you’ll agree this isn’t surprising that Nashville was able to pull out the win. During this series, Nashville has been out-shot all but once, and that was last Friday when they lost. It’s clear Nashville does much better when they aren’t constantly taking shot after shot, despite the fan base wishing they would.
  • The Predators were plaque with penalties, yet again, but only allowed one power play goal out of seven chances for the Red Wings. Nashville was only given three power play chances, with David Legwand capitalizing on the last one. Though the refs seemed to favor Detroit, it was clear the penalties called for both teams were over the top. Here are the seven penalty offenders:
  1. Roman Josi – 7:38 1st Period – Interference
  2. Alexander Radulov – 12:18 1st Period – Tripping
  3. Roman Josi – 14:27 1st Period – Cross Checking
  4. Francis Bouillon – 14:01 2nd Period – Hooking
  5. Andrei Kostitsyn – 2:44 3rd Period – Too Many Men/Ice
  6. Andrei Kostitsyn – 7:15 3rd Period – Interference
  7. Matt Halischuk – 13:41 3rd Period – Interference

If there is one thing Detroit needs to realize, it’s that Nashville does better both on the road and when out-shot. After last night’s game, we’re pretty sure the team has come to that realization. With this win in Detroit, Nashville has now pushed themselves up 3-1 on the series, meaning one more win and they clinch the series. The Predators returned home last night at 12:45AM to a sea of adoring fans, who stood out in the cold and rain to welcome their boys home. The Predators could end the series with a win on Friday in Nashville, so be prepared for both teams to come out with passion.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Predators End Regular Season with a Bang; Demolish Avalanche 6-1

Alexander Radulov celebrates with teammate David Legwand.

It’s hard to believe, but the regular season came to an end last night for the National Hockey League and the Nashville Predators. Although the post season gets underway starting next Wednesday for the Predators and many other teams, for Nashville’s oppenent last night, the Colorado Avalanche, the skates will be hung until October.

The Avalanche, despite making the playoffs, actually had a pretty good season. Holding 3rd place in the Northwest Division, Colorado had every intent on slipping into a playoff spot. Unfortunately for Colorado, 3rd place in their division just couldn’t top the tougher Western Conference teams, ending their run 41-35-6 for the 2011-12 season.

The Predators scratched quite a few of their predominate players, trying to avoid injury at all cost. Thus, it was basically the rookies chance to prove themselves amongst the team going into the playoffs. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in Denver:

KEY POINTS:

  • As stated above, many top players were scratched last night including Sergei Kostitsyn, Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Brian McGrattan, Francis Bouillon, and Hal Gill. Colin Wilson got another chance at ice time, along with Jack Hillen and Ryan Ellis.
  • David Legwand wasted no time getting points on the board, hitting a wrist shot passed Jean-Sebastien Giguere at 3:39 in the 1st Period. Gabriel Bourque (12th assist) and Alexander Radulov (4th assist) picked up the assists on Leggy’s 19th goal of the season.
  • Colorado tied it up shortly after at 8:09 with a goal from Matt Duchene, his 14th goal of the season.
  • Craig Smith would gain his 14th goal of the season at 12:10, his first points (and goal) since playing against the Phoenix Coyotes back on March 12th. Matt Halischuk (13th assist) and Colin Wilson (20th assist) grabbed the assists.
  • Patric Hornqvist would seal the final goal of the first period with less than a second left at 19:59, ending the regular season with 27 goals (Coincidence?). Kevin Klein (16th assist) and Andrei Kostitsyn (20th assist) picked up the assists.
  • Roman Josi would notch his 5th goal of the season at 16:09 in the 2nd Period, with assists from Craig Smith (21st assist) and Kevin Klein (17th assist).
  • Brandon Yip would cause the Colorado bench to cringe as he scored his 3rd goal of the season against his former teammates at 1:57 into the 3rd Period. With a wrap-around goal, did Yip remember that was Giguere’s weakness? Nick Spaling (12th assist) picked up the lone assist.
  • Matt Halischuk added the last nail in the coffin at 6:20 for his 15th goal of the season. A trend is starting to appear with Hali, where when he is scratched, he retaliates with a goal the next game. Good way to retaliate, we think. Craig Smith picked up his third point and 22nd assist on Hali’s goal.
  • Anders Lindback took the reins in the net last night, blocking 28 of 29 goals taken on goal. Unfortunately, in a freak accident, Ryan Ellis fell onto Lindy’s head during play, sending Lindback to the locker room. Pekka Rinne finished out the rest of the game, blocking all 10 shots taken on goal. Anders is expected to be Pekka’s backup for Wednesday’s playoff game, but for safe measure, Jeremy Smith was brought up from the Milwaukee Admirals.
  • Both the Predators and the Avalanche were equal in penalties, with neither team able to snag a goal. With as many penalties as the Predators have been taking lately, racking up just two last night was a relief. Here are they two offenders:
  1. Patric Hornqvist – 14:03 2nd Period – Cross Checking
  2. Craig Smith – 19:45 2nd Period – Hooking

It’s been a long and rewarding season for the Predators, who are preparing for a challenging post season against the Detroit Red Wings. The Predators have thus far proven themselves Stanley Cup worthy, but they just need to cling to their confidence and strength throughout this upcoming playoff round. The Predators have faced the Red Wings before in the playoffs, losing both times. However, this is a different team and a ready team.

We leave you with this video we came across on YouTube. The first 1:49 is rough, but it leads up to Nashville showing off their “pesky” comeback skills from the 2011-12 season. It’s been a roller coaster, but we’ve enjoyed every second of it.

Until Wednesday,
GO PREDS.

 

(Photo credit: Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Radulov saves Preds from Shutout; Penguins Win 5-1 over Predators

Alexander Radulov wastes no time getting back into a Preds sweater.

After a rough and embarrassing loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, the Predators took to the road once again, seeking a win in Pittsburgh against the newly-returned Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Since Crosby’s return last Thursday, the Penguins have left a wake of destruction behind them, burying the Rangers, the Devils, and the Jets. The only team to escape unscathed was the Flyers, and even then it was an OT loss 3-2. Just looking at Pittsburgh’s past schedule (their last loss since Sunday was against Buffalo on February 19th), it is clear the Predators weren’t just going to walk in here and walk out with a win. Even with the return of Alexander Radulov, the Predators were going to have to make little to no mistakes against this Eastern Conference powerhouse in order to steal their ranking back from the Red Wings.
Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • Pittsburgh wasted no time letting their fans sing, as Evgeni Malkin sent a speeding slap shot passed Pekka Rinne to seal his 44th goal of the season at 1:23. Malkin is currently 2nd in goals in the league, sitting just a few goals behind Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • Pascal Dupuis sealed his 22nd goal of the season at 4:06, putting the Penguins up over the Predators early in the 1st 2-0.
  • Pittsburgh would continue to dominate the Predators into the 2nd, with Matt Cooke sending a wrist shot passed Pekka to land his 17th goal of the season at 1:58.
  • Putting the Penguins up 4-0, Chris Kunitz would hit a wrist shot of his own passed Nashville’s goalie to collect his 22nd goal of the season at 7:35.
  • Nashville would finally sink a goal passed Marc-Andre Fleury at 12:01 from Alexander Radulov. Good start since leaving the Predators and NHL four years ago, it was clear that Pittsburgh fans did not approve of Radulov’s return. Hall Gill (11th assist) and Patric Hornqvist (14th assist) picked up the assists on the newly-returned Russian’s goal.
  • Evgeni Malkin would remind Pittsburgh fans who the better of the two Russians were with his second goal of the night at 19:04, sending the Penguins up 5-1. Although his 45th goal of the season, Malkin still falls behind Stamkos in the standings. However, he did surpass Steven Stamkos in points. Many believe Malkin will be top contender for the Hart Memorial Trophy this year.
  • The Predators took plenty of shots on goal tonight, but their accuracy lacked the intensity that the Penguins were able to bestow upon Nashville defense and net. Nashville out-shot Pittsburgh 30 to 23, but again, accuracy was just not in the cards with the Predators tonight. Sergei Kostitsyn, Martin Erat, and Mike Fisher had prime goal chances, but the connection just wasn’t there. Alexander Radulov and Craig Smith also had some close goals, but in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be for the Predators.
  • Although having a rough night, Pekka Rinne was not pulled and replaced with Anders Lindback. As you recall, Pekka was pulled at the beginning of the 2nd Period on Tuesday night against Edmonton due to a chippy performance. Trotz let Peks play the 60 minutes, which may have actually been the best for him. Instead of being frustrated and discouraged from being pulled, a loss at which he had control of may cause him to snap back into his former self. Unfortunately, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has now surpassed Pekka as leader in wins… just by one point, though. Pekka still has a chance to overthrow the French-Canadian.
  • The Predators only gave the Penguins one penalty throughout the entire game with an interference call on Shea Weber at 19:01 in the 1st Period. The Predators were given two chances, but were unable to perform on either power play.

Most would say, “Oh well, at least the loss was to an Eastern Conference team.” However, with the playoffs inching closer by the minute and with teams like the Red Wings surpassing the Predators and Chicago on their coattails, the Predators have no room to be lazy and sluggish. Keep in mind, though, every team goes through rough patches and, unfortunately, the Predators happen to be bopping through theirs close to the playoffs. It’s easy to get discouraged and flustered about the Predators and their future in the playoffs (again, lackluster plays = couch time), but rough patches will and do happen.

Last but not least, congrats to Alexander Radulov and sealing his first goal of his NHL career since leaving for the KHL four years ago. Not only that, sinking that said goal in his first game back. Similar to Andrei Kostitsyn’s first goal as a Predator during his first game (also on the road), Radulov started off on the right foot tonight.

The Predators are on their way back to Nashville tonight, taking tomorrow off and then taking on another Eastern Conference foe, the Atlanta Thrash- err, Winnipeg Jets. And, just for good measure, the puck will drop at 6PM instead of the usual 7PM start time, easing the folks on EST (what about us with Pacific time?!). Don’t forget, the Predators will be having a public practice tomorrow at 11AM at Centennial Sportsplex.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)