OT woes continue to plague Preds in 2-1 loss against MTL

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Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Although it was a bittersweet night with the return of Shea Weber to Nashville since being traded to Montreal for P.K. Subban in the off-season, it wasn’t how the Predators had hoped to start 2017 and the second half of the season. The 3-on-3 OT format has been in place since last season, and while the rest of the league has generally figured it out, Nashville just hasn’t seemed to get it down. In fact, Nashville’s OT/SO record since the start of last season is 7-20. Woof.

However, it’s that continuous inconsistency that forces the Predators into that all too familiar scenario that is the overtime loss. Nashville’s lone goal was notched by Kevin Fiala with less than a minute left in the second period, his sixth of the season. Fiala’s backhander was assisted by Ryan Ellis (9) and Roman Josi (15). It wouldn’t take long before Shea Weber would come knocking, collecting his 10th goal of the season with the assistance of former (and not so welcomed) Predator, Alexander Radulov. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how not to score in Bridgestone Arena.

While Nashville would push Montreal beyond regulation (which used to be considered a good thing), overtime would yet again deny Nashville of the much needed win and two points. Captain Max Pacioretty would seal Nashville’s OT fate for his 16th goal of the season. Let it also be known that Radulov assisted on this goal as well (his 20th overall).

Despite this loss, Nashville’s penalty kill looked rather decent, with the Predators denying the Habs four times throughout the match. Montreal gave Nashville three chances at the man advantage, but prevented them from ever getting a chance at net. Oh yeah, and Carey Price is a stud. And yet, so is Pekka Rinne. As Peter Laviolette mentioned after the game:

Of the 45 shots on net from Montreal last night, Pekka Rinne stopped all but two. Carey Price only faced 24 from Nashville. While some would rather argue that Juuse Saros should be given more ice time (and I don’t disagree – to an extent), Rinne is still Nashville’s veteran and starting goaltender; and pardon my French here, but he’s still damn good. Saros will be an outstanding successor for Rinne but for now, he’s just that; the future. He probably should see a little bit more ice time, but that’s a debate for another day.

Nashville has no time to pout about their former captain stealing the show; it’s onward to Florida to face the 19-16-4 Tampa Bay Lightning. At this point, the Predators have no time left to revel over poor performance; just time to recoup and continue seeking the solution to their inconsistency before the playoffs are out of reach.

Let me leave you on a rather heartwarming note with Nashville’s tribute video to Shea Weber. A TV timeout just wasn’t enough time to convey what Weber has done for Nashville and the growth of hockey in our city. So many lives have been impacted positively by your actions both on and off the ice. Truly, there are not enough thank yous that can be said to express how grateful we are. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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Subban to miss next two games; questionable against MTL

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Image Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

December 15th. That was the last time P.K. Subban suited up for the Predators since sustaining an upper-body injury. Although he is still listed as day-to-day, The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan reported earlier today that Subban is expected to miss the next two games on the schedule: Chicago (tonight) at home and St. Louis (tomorrow) on the road.

While there is no bad news coming from information regarding his injuries, there is no good news either. The defenseman has been absent from practice, but has remained active in the community. Not to say one cannot be injured and still perform community service acts, but to me, it’s a good sign.

One of the biggest concerns regarding Subban’s injury, however, is will he be ready to face his former team on Tuesday night? Due to the Subban-Weber trade being one of the biggest shakeups of the off-season, the first meeting between the Nashville Predators and the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday is expected to be a highly anticipated event. But if you have Shea Weber, but no P.K. Subban, it sort of takes the wind out of the fun, right?

Of course, on Nashville’s end, you don’t want to possibly cause further injury by having Subban return before he is 100% ready just for show. However, as the leader of ice time before his injury on the 15th, Nashville is more than ready to have P.K. back in the lineup.

While Montreal has blossomed thus far with both Shea Weber and former Predator Alexander Radulov (21-9-5, 1st Atlantic), the Predators have had a bit of a difficult time adjusting (15-13-6, 6th Central) since the loss of the tenacious defenseman that was (and is) Shea Weber. However, from a Montreal fan point-of-view, the loss of P.K. Subban outweighs the nine goals, eleven assists he has produced for the Canadiens. At least, that’s what we’ve heard. While Nashville has not lived up to the hype that the NHL expected after a successful 2015-16 run, there is still time for the Predators to turn this train around. But let’s not beat around the bush; it isn’t much time. Tonight’s bout against divisional rival, the Chicago Blackhawks, could be the much needed win that pushes the Predators back into Stanley Cup contention (hey, we are trying to stay positive here). While the Predators have the talent, the constant inconsistency is what is holding Nashville back. It’s like the old Jerry Reed song that goes, “When you’re hot, you’re hot. When you’re not, you’re not.” I would say that’s a good way to describe how Nashville has fared thus far this season. Truthfully, they will need to find another song before Sunday if they want to see the playoffs. Where’s DJ Eric Nystrom with the playlist when you need him?

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Mike Ribeiro Assault Case Update

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Source: Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

By now, everyone is pretty familiar of the baggage Mike Ribeiro packed with him when he was signed by the Nashville Predators in the off-season last year. Personal issues off-ice finally began to affect his on-ice performance, eventually cutting ties with the Arizona Coyotes. Yes, the signing of Mike Ribeiro was definitely a bold move by David Poile, but that risk turned quickly to reward, with Ribeiro ending the 2014-15 season 15-47-62. He also played in all 82 games.

Ribeiro left the Coyotes in search of a new start with a new organization willing to give him a chance. Nashville was that answer, and – as far as we know and from what we saw on ice – his off-ice issues all but were left in the desert. Unfortunately, the past has continued to creep up behind Ribeiro everywhere he goes and the Music City was no exception.

In March, TMZ reported that a former nanny of the Ribeiros was suing Mike for sexual assault and his wife, Tamara, for verbal abuse. The Predators were quick to make a very basic statement, which was about all they could honestly do at the time with such little information of the accusation:

“We have been made aware of a complaint against Mike Ribeiro, dating back to his playing time while he was in Dallas,” the Predators said in a statement. “Mike has indicated that the charge is without merit and is prepared to vigorously defend himself. We will allow the legal process to move forward without further comment.”

After a week or two, the hype over this accusation died down and, to be honest, most of us completely forgot about it altogether. On The Forecheck, however, did not forget about it and made the initial update earlier this afternoon.

Because OTF has all the latest on this subject, I will direct you to their site for the full story. Be warned, however, some of the details are very graphic and may be disturbing to many readers.

Now that you are back (hopefully) from reading that, yeah… yikes, y’all. Of course, along with this new update and information, a lot of people are questioning that initial statement from the Predators organization and just how much they did know about this incident before signing in back in the off-season. Of course, you have to also account for the following facts:

  • The victim had not come forward before David Poile and the organization signed Ribeiro.
  • Mike and his wife may not have gone into detail as to what exactly those “off-ice personal issues” were.
  • David Poile is not a newbie at this; there is no doubt he did his due-diligence before signing Ribeiro.

Seriously, I stand firm in saying that the Predators and David Poile did not know of the details of the accusations until the victim took action. Here’s an article excerpt from Dan Rosen regarding Poile’s due diligence back when Ribeiro was first signed:

Poile said the Predators did their due diligence on Ribeiro. He said they talked to former teammates, coaches, general managers and more people inside and outside Ribeiro’s circle, including Predators forward James Neal, who played with Ribeiro in Dallas from 2008-11.

“It’s well known that Ribeiro had some off-ice situations that he had to take care of. He has done that,” Poile said. “He and his family were separated and now they’re back together. He and his wife [Tammy] and three kids [Mikael, Noah and Viktoria] are trying to make a new life, want to make a new life for themselves here in Nashville.”

Poile wouldn’t divulge any details as to what Ribeiro has done to address the issues he was dealing with off the ice, saying it was personal information. He did say any further off-ice issues would not be tolerated.

“We can’t have a distraction on our team. We can’t have something that’s affecting our franchise,” Poile said. “Mike and his wife realize that. There is no tolerance for off-ice issues. This clearly is really his last chance.

I mean, has everyone really forgotten that whole curfew-gate from the 2012 Playoffs when Andre Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov frolicked around Scottsdale and were suspended by Poile – no the league – for Game 3 for their violation. And, as we all know the outcome now, Radulov and A. Kostitsyn were not re-signed the next season. Needless to say, David Poile does not take off-ice shenanigans lightly and, as I stated, you know he did his digging before finally okaying the Ribeiro contract.

As mentioned by On The Forecheck, the next hearing is set with a July 27th deadline. It will be interesting, since Ribeiro will be seeking a contract extension this year, as he was only signed to a one-year deal last July. Unfortunately, due to his past coming back to haunt him (whether guilty or not), his future in Nashville may be on the chopping block, despite having one of the best seasons of his career.

Ryan Ellis: Is He Nashville’s Trade Bait?

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Before I get started, please note that this is just my opinion and my speculation. If I end up being right, that’ll be cool; if not, no big deal!
With the trade deadline fast approaching (March 2nd), the rumors are bound to fly and who does Nashville have that could be trade-worthy? Remember, in order to get something good, you have to give up something good in return (i.e. a player, draft pick, or a combination of both). That player, in my opinion, could be Ryan Ellis.

Before you implode, I personally think Ellis is a good fit with where he is; I’d rather not see him get traded away. However, he may be the only aspect Nashville would be willing to part with and still get what they need.

Ellis, though doing exceptionally well under Peter Laviolette’s system, is actually down in points from last year (a time when some people thought then that his trade value was decreasing). However, he could still surpass those numbers this season (27 overall last season, just 18 so far this season), but where is he?

Yes, I am aware he is listed on the Injured Reserve, but you usually hear updates periodically during this stance as to a player’s condition. Ryan Ellis? The last thing I find reported on his condition was from Tom Willis on February 6th:

And even this does not give a “yea or nay” as to how he’s coming along since suffering a lower-body injury back on January 8th against the Dallas Stars. What I thought was just an ankle sprain must’ve been much more, as he has missed fourteen games since then; and the Predators aren’t slowing down without him. Mattias Ekholm, who is normally paired with Ellis, has done exceptionally well without his counterpart, though an injury from Sunday’s bout in Florida has him sidelined.

Ah, but he signed a five-year, $12.5M contract extension back in August, which caused a bit of controversy, if my memory serves me correctly. That, unfortunately, doesn’t exactly matter; if Nashville can get what they want out of a deal, they’ll take it. A good example would be this past off-season when Nashville traded Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward James Neal. Hornqvist was signed to a five-year, $21.25M extension at the end of the 2012-13 shortened lockout season, but was dealt to the Penguins just a year and two months after his five-year contract went into effect. And you know you never thought Hornqvist would ever be traded; don’t lie.

Another prime example? Kevin Klein. Nashville signed Klein to a five-year, $14.5M contract extension in September of 2012, but traded him off to the New York Rangers for Michael Del Zotto just a year and four months into his extension. So, needless to say, although Ellis’ contract will come into play if Nashville does consider him for trade, it won’t play a huge factor if they can get what they want.

Another, more interesting topic to point out is… Where is Ryan Ellis’ jersey on the GnashVegas auction block? A far stretch into me searching for reasons as to why Ellis would be up for trade consideration, but a clue nonetheless. Check out all the auction items here, if you haven’t seen the list yet. Ellis is a popular player and still on the organization’s roster; so where’s his jersey? Heck, they even have a Marek Mazanec and Vince Gill jersey up for bid. Just a speculation, but if he is up for trade, who would want to bid upwards to $600 for a jersey, only to have that player traded right afterwards? Who knows, maybe that’s not even on the Predators radar and they just haven’t gotten his jersey up there yet. But, my lovely sister (you may know her as @Hutch8504 on Twitter) pointed that out to me last night while at the game and it piqued my interest.

Beyond all those factors, Ryan Ellis has trade worth. His history of junior hockey achievements is what ignited Nashville’s interest in him back at the 2009 NHL Draft, chosen 11th overall and that performance could enhance his trade value. Another factor is that he is on a team with the best defense in the league; any team struggling with this component would bite at the chance to snag Ryan Ellis.

Again, all of this is just my two cents: take it or leave it. But, if Ryan Ellis is a trade factor, who would you like to see Nashville claim? Personally, I’m liking the thought of bringing Cody Franson back or possibly even Phil Kessel. Evander Kane was on my radar at one point, but then he went all MIA and yea, Nashville doesn’t need that (see: Andrei Kostitsyn & Alexander Radulov take Phoenix). That, and Kane was just traded to the Buffalo Sabres (along with Zach Bogosian, and goaltending prospect Jason Kasdorf) for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects Brendan Lemieux and Joel Armia, along with a 2015 first-round draft pick. Good gravy.

Ah, the fun of speculation and rumors abound before the NHL Trade Deadline. It never ceases to fail us… for the most part.

Preds try to give Fans Heart Attacks; Win in OT 7-6

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Did that title catch your attention? No time to sugarcoat it tonight; oh no. I won’t spoil the fun by telling you what happened here; you need to read the meat and potatoes of the post.

What’s with all the back-to-backs, am I right? After a back-to-back against Chicago Monday and St. Louis Tuesday, the Predators received an extended break for the new year before heading West to take on the LA Kings this afternoon. Of course, tomorrow Nashville hops a block or two tomorrow to take on the Anaheim Ducks. Fun times
(Note: I wrote this paragraph before the meltdown).

SCRATCHES: James Neal (lower-body injury), Victor Bartley, and Miikka Salomaki (sorry, kid).

First Period:

  • The Kings wasted no time lighting the lamp as Matt Greene sent a slapshot past Pekka Rinne just 32 seconds into the game.
  • Mike Fisher quickly tied it up at 4:54 with a wrister past Jonathan Quick; his fifth goal of the season. Roman Josi (18) and Shea Weber (18) tallied the assists.
  • Not even two minutes later, Colin Wilson would collect the deflected goal off of Matt Greene’s stick; his eleventh of the season. Viktor Stalberg collected his first assist of the season on Wilson’s deflection.
  • Noteworthy: With eleven goals, Colin Wilson now has as many goals this season as he did all of last season.
  • Birthday Boy, Ryan Ellis would tally his fourth goal of the season on the powerplay at 9:43 with a speedy slapshot past Quick. Mike Ribeiro (22) and Seth Jones (8) picked up the assists.
  • After Ellis’s powerplay goal, Jonathan Quick was “quickly” pulled and replaced by backup Martin Jones.

Second Period:

  • Replacing Quick didn’t help at the beginning of the second period, as Mattias Ekholm collected his second goal of the season at 2:16. Craig Smith (10) and Ryan Ellis (11) nab the assists on Ekholm’s goal.
  • Nashville would continue pounding the Kings just a minute later, as newcomer Mart Arcobello picked up his first goal as a Predator at 3:57; his eighth of the season. Colin Wilson (11) and Paul Gaustad (8) are awarded the assists.
  • The Kings would not stay down for long, as Alec Martinez flipped a wrister past Rinne to put LA within three.
  • Dwight King would finish up the second period with another Los Angeles goal, a tip-in assisted by Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar.

Third Period:

  • Olli Jokinen nailed his third goal of the season at 8:38 with a wrist shot past Jones, giving Nashville a 6-3 lead. Gabriel Bourque – who’s been awfully quiet – picks up his fourth assist along with Paul Gaustad (8).
  • Dwight King picked up his second of the night at 17:59 with some assistance from Jake Muzzin.
  • Alec Martinez managed to bring it within one, his fifth goal of the season.
  • …And then Jeff Carter ties it at six at 19:26…

    All Predators fans can relate.

    OVERTIME:

  • Noteworthy: The Predators were up 6-3 with two minutes left in the game. SIX-TO-THREE. Why are we having flashbacks to Monday against Chicago? WHY?
  • Thankfully, it only took Roman Josi (6) eighteen seconds into overtime to seal the win in favor of Nashville. Filip Forsberg (22) and Mike Ribeiro (23) collect the game-winning assists.
  • Noteworthy: With this overtime assist, Filip Forsberg is now one point away from tying Alexander Radulov’s franchise rookie record.

The Predators nab their first win of 2015 – though they tried to give it to Los Angeles – to give themselves a record of 25-9-3, but – as I write a lot – there’s not time for rest. Nashville has a bout with the leader of the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow night at 7PM. The Ducks rest just four points ahead of Nashville in the Western Conference, so it’s easy for me to say that a win in regulation tomorrow night would be splendid indeed. …And less stress on my heart, thanks.

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Okay, so heart attack relief comes in the form of the Central Division Standings.

SK74 headed to KHL for Good?

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Well, we all saw this coming… even the most diehard SK74 fans. It began even more clear during the lockout, when Sergei Kostitsyn, everyone’s favorite Belorussian, made a name for himself with the KHL’s Avangard Omsk. At the time, it was inspiring to Preds fans watching the struggling talent shine so brightly amongst the KHL; so much so that we all hoped he would bring that momentum back with him when the lockout ended… He didn’t.

SK74 managed to score 27 points in 28 games with Avangard, but only 15 in 46 when the NHL season resumed. Ouch.
Sergei was a force to be reckoned with when he was picked up from the Montreal Canadiens before the 2010-11 season, scoring 23 goals and picking up 27 assists in that season alone. But after that season, everything seemed to fall apart for the young Kostitsyn, with the 2011-12 season producing a lesser, but still good, 17 goals and 26 assists. This past season? An embarrassing three goals and twelve assists. Ouch again.

During the 2011-12 season, the Preds tried to bolster SK74’s momentum by bringing his older brother, Andrei on board, picking him up before the trade deadline from Montreal. Unfortunately, the plan backfired and trouble between the Kostitsyn brothers and Alexander Radulov resulted in Andrei and Radulov’s dismissal from the team. Understandably, that left a bad taste in Sergei’s mouth.

And again, when he went to the KHL during the lockout this past season, it was another sign that SK74 felt more comfortable amongst more common fellows. It couldn’t have been more clear as to how truly comfortable he was with Avangard and, for the Predators, that wasn’t a good sign for the future of SK74 with Nashville.

The GM of Avangard Omsk offered Sergei Kostitsyn a contract this past week, wishing him to return to the Alexander Frolov and Dmitry Semin line that worked so well together. Apparently, by the stats, it worked 10 times better than the SK74-Fisher-Erat line. Preds GM David Poile has been quoted has saying he would have “no objection” for allowing SK74 to return to the KHL.

The question in the coming day is, will David Poile risk one of two Compliance Buyouts to keep the struggling Belarussian or will he let Sergei go after this year? Also, there is the possibility that SK74 pulls an Alexander Radulov and runs off before his contract ends.

The truly sad thing is, even though he is given a lot of grief for his terrible performances and his huge mistakes (A.K.A. the infamous “quit” moment), Sergei Kostitsyn has a ton of talent that, for some reason or another, cannot be displayed. And that goes for any NHL team, not just the Predators. He struggled with behavioral and accountability issues while with Montreal and he would do it again with any other NHL team that gave him a chance.

Could it be he is more like Radulov in the sense that, in the KHL, rules are different and life is a little bit less strict for a player? I believe it is a mixture of that and the comfort level he feels being back in a more familiar role, surrounded by people who all speak the same language and there really isn’t a barrier for him to get stuck behind. Unlike his fellow non-American teammates, like Pekka Rinne and Patric Hornqvist, SK74 has not clung to English very well and is not comfortable with ten mics thrown in his face. However, interviews seem to come naturally to him when they are in Belarussian or Russian, two languages he is comfortable relaying information in.

You can’t hate the kid for wanting to return to something familiar and somewhere he excels. He’s given the NHL his best shot and, unfortunately for the few SK74 fans other there, it wasn’t his best. As long as he doesn’t jump ship like Radulov, we won’t turn our backs on SK. We’d like him give it all he’s got this last season because, even if Nashville offers him an extension, I believe this is our last season with Sergei Kostitsyn in the Predators gold.

No Love for Hillen: Predators extend Qualifying Offers

Poile: “Hey, did we forget anybody?” Trotz: “Nope.”

Poor, poor Jack Hillen! The Predators extending Qualifying Offers out to their Restricted Free Agents this afternoon, but the team left the 26-year-old defenseman off the list.

To add insult to injury, we weren’t surprised when Hillen was not extended an offer. Jack Hillen did well with the Predators for the one season he’s been with the team, but his skills did not shine through and make an impression. In fact, we were surprised he wasn’t traded before the deadline in the Spring.

Jack Hillen wasn’t the only one to not get an offer, technically. Milwaukee Admirals Zach Stortini and Brodie Dupont also will hit the unrestricted market on July 1st.

In case you forgot who the RFAs for Nashville are, here they are in all their glory:
Sergei Kostitsyn
Colin Wilson
Jonathon Blum
Alexander Radulov
Teemu Laakso
Jack Maclellan
Jeremy Smith
Atte Engren
Ryan Thang
Shea Weber

You’re probably wondering why Radulov, Laakso, and Thang are still on this list and why would Nashville extend offer to these three. Well, extending an offer does not mean the Predators and said player have reached a deal. Nashville simply offered base-line agreements, meaning any team that wishes to snag the rights to said players will have to counter-match what the Predators offered. In a nutshell, Nashville will take whatever they can wether the player stays or not.  So, although we know the Predators have parted ways with Radulov, they still, if possible, want to get vital draft picks, for instance, for his rights.

So, needless to say, the team and the players still need to eventually reach an agreement and work out a contract, but Nashville has taken the first step in offering these players a chance to wear gold once again in Smashville… except for Jack Hillen.

(Photo courtesy of Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Rangers want Radulov, Laakso bolts to KHL

Teemu Laakso thinks the KHL looks better than the NHL…

With the fate of several players coming to trial, so to speak, talks of jumping the Predators ship are finally coming out, with two in particular that bring a bit of curiosity.

The Rangers have been a strong force on the Eastern Conference side of the NHL for a while, but with the sudden news that Marian Gaborik will be needing shoulder surgery on his right arm, the Original 6 time needs a replacement- and fast. Their first look? Nashville’s “bad boy”, Alexander Radulov. Per the source, Predators GM David Poile and Rangers GM Glen Sather have just thrown around the idea, but no true offers have been thrown out there. You can read the full article here.

Along with the news of the Rangers pursuing Radulov, another player is making surprising news this morning. Teemu Laakso, who was called up from Milwaukee during last year’s playoff run and in a few games in this past season, has signed a two-year deal with the KHL’s Severstal Cherepovets. Laakso, who was drafted in 3rd Round of the 2005 NHL Draft, has spent the majority of his time in Milwaukee, a clue has to why he jumped ship and headed for more ice time in the KHL.

With these two stories bouncing around the NHL world, be prepared for more permanent news to come to light. Who will the Predators sign and let go? We’ll keep you updated.

Predators put on the Pressure, Coyotes Advance to Western Conference Finals

Wilson was ready in practice on Sunday and proved himself on Monday night.

It was do or die time for the Predators as they stepped out onto the ice in Phoenix on Monday night. Desperation was the main play and collecting goals was the idea. However, with Commissioner Bettman wringing his hands at the thought of selling off the Coyotes, the Predators would need just about everything to fall correctly into place. Unfortunately, even after doing everything they could, including out-shooting the Coyotes, the Predators just couldn’t muster past Phoenix to press on. Although the odds did not fall into the Predators’ favor, Nashville still kicked butt and took names like the team Nashville is used to seeing. Here are the highlights from last night’s series and post-season ender:

KEY POINTS:

  • After the loss on Friday night, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were back in the line up, benching the bruised and beaten Jordin Tootoo and Matt Halischuk. Jack Hillen took to the pre-game warmups, but enviably sat on the scratched list with Brian McGrattan, Ryan Ellis, and Craig Smith.
  • The Coyotes struck first, with Derek Morris notching his first goal of the playoffs at 3:54 in the 2nd Period. As with this entire series, the first team to score won.
  • Phoenix would jump up 2-0 over the Predators at 15:09 with a wrist shot passed Pekka from Martin Hanzal. Hanzal’s goal was his 3rd of the post season.
  • Nashville would pressure the goal hard, keeping the puck, for the most part, in front of Mike Smith. It seemed, though, that no matter what the Predators did, the odds just weren’t in their favor last night (nor the refs…). Colin Wilson, who recently bumped Sergei Kostitsyn from the top line of Fisher and Erat, was the only Predator to slip one passed Mike Smith at 14:01 in the 3rd Period. Although his first goal of the post season, had he spent more time on the ice in the playoffs, we are positive Wilson would have had more. David Legwand (3rd Assist) and Ryan Suter (3rd Assist) picked up the assists on Willy’s goal.
  • The Predators never seem to do well when they out-shoot their opponent, which was the case for last night as Nashville out-shot Phoenix 33 to 17. With every close call, the Predators just couldn’t knock out the relentless Mike Smith.
  • The Predators were given plenty of power play opportunities as well (four), but just couldn’t get a grip around one. In Nashville’s favor, the Predators only gave the Coyotes one power play, with Roman Josi taken an interference penalty at 4:19 in the 2nd Period.

The Predators battled hard, but with fatal mistakes and terrible calls, both made and missed, making it passed Round 2 just wasn’t in the cards this year for Nashville. Although favored heavily to make it to the Western Conference final, Nashville just couldn’t catch a break in this series. The Predators had a tremendous 2011-12 season and notched a few franchise records along the way. To say the Predators “flopped” or “failed” is not optional, for Nashville defied the odds of an extraordinary hockey club in a non-traditional hockey market yet again.

Win or lose, we stand proudly behind the Nashville Predators.

With the advancement to the Western Conference finals, the Phoenix Coyotes will take on the L.A. Kings once the Capitals/Rangers series ends (possibly) tomorrow night. The New Jersey Devils surpassed the Philadelphia Flyers about an hour ago to move on to the Eastern Conference final.

The memories we gained from this past season and post season are once in a lifetime and we are proud to stand behind our Nashville Predators. Lady Preds will continue to post news and information throughout the off-season, so keep checking in!

Until October,
GO PREDS.

Preds gain Momentum in Game 3, Fall Hard in Game 4

The Game Ops Department really stepped up for Round 2

After A. Kostitsyn and Radulov’s curfew incident, it would be up to the rest of the team to take the reins and prove to the NHL world that, even though some of their players aren’t taking the playoffs seriously, there are others who are willing to step up and earn their place on the ice. Lady Preds has had a busy weekend, so we apologize for not having Wednesday and Friday’s games up earlier, but we shall condense them both into one post for your viewing pleasure. Here are the highlights from Game 3 and Game 4 in Nashville.

GAME 3 – WEDNESDAY NIGHT:

  • For their first game at home for Round 2 against Phoenix, Nashville’s Game Ops department really stepped up to amp up the fans. With laser etchings of the Predators logos, a catfish, the players numbers and even signatures, it was hard not to be completely mesmerized. Here’s a video of it shot by a fan:
  • With AK46 and Rads suspended for the night, two hungry bench-warmers got the chance to prove themselves on the ice Wednesday night. Those two? None other than Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo. Although we wouldn’t deem Hali a bench-warmer, he has been sitting out a few games due to an ailing injury. Tootoo, on the other hand, has been warming the bench during the playoffs, so proving his worth and not losing focus was key for the enforcer. Also getting another shot on the ice was Mr. Controversy himself, Colin Wilson. Brian McGrattan, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen and Ryan Ellis topped out the scratched list.
  • David Legwand took advantage of a scoring opportunity at 8:10 in the 1st, notching his 3rd goal of the playoffs. Gabriel Bourque (2nd Assist) picked up the lone assist on Leggy’s wrister past Mike Smith.
  • Mike Fisher would counter Legwand’s goal at 9:16 of the 1st, grabbing his first goal of the playoffs thus far. Sergei Kostitsyn (1st Assist) and Martin Erat (3rd Assist) picked up the assists.
  • Nashville would hold the 2-0 lead over Phoenix in both the second and the third periods, giving the Predators their first playoff win in this series against the Coyotes. David Legwand tried pressing the Predators further with a second goal of his own, but the goal was inevitably ruled as an “intent to blow” call.
  • Nashville took control of the game defensively, with Pekka Rinne blocking all 32 shots on goal, his first shutout of the 2012 playoffs. The Predators gave the Coyotes four power play chances, but Nashville’s defense stepped up when needed and held Phoenix at bay to seal the win. Here are the four penalty offenders:
  1. Mike Fisher – 11:04 1st Period – Interference
  2. David Legwand – 15:39 1st Period – Hooking
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 12:59 3rd Period – Hooking
  4. Martin Erat – 14:18 3rd Period – Tripping
  • Interesting note: Although all four players took 2 minutes in the penalty box, each man collected a point in the game winner for the Preds.
  • The Predators proved that a snide incident involving two irresponsibly players would not phase them while fighting for the Stanley Cup. However, Nashville would have to come out with the same intensity on Friday to keep them from falling deeper into the hole…
GAME 4 – FRIDAY NIGHT:

  •  After a stellar performance on Wednesday night, it was obvious why Coach Barry Trotz did not put Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn back in the lineup. However, would Phoenix expect this out of Trotz and anticipate Nashville’s every move? From its outcome, it looks as if Nashville fell right into Phoenix’s trap, which was for the Predators to come out and play the exact same way on Wednesday.
  • After getting bruised and beaten on Wednesday, Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo took the place of AK46 and Radulov once again, with both players showing great determination on Wednesday. Colin Wilson also came out, once again, proving his puck-handling skills are worth the ice time. Jack Hillen, Brian McGrattan, Ryan Ellis, and Craig Smith continued on the scratched list.
  • Paul Gaustad and Kyle Chipchura dropped the gloves in the first period, with the announcers originally calling Gaustad as Kevin Klein. Here is the video of the two knuckle heads:
  • Rostislav Klesla wasted no time pummeling the Predators, sending already bruised and beaten Matt Halischuk violently into the boards. Klesla was only given a minor penalty of 2 minutes, but Brendan Shanahan ruled this afternoon that Klesla will be suspended for one game (Game 5) due to his unsportsmanlike hit. Luckily, Halischuk was not seriously injured. The video of the hit is below, but you can check out Shanahan’s take on the hit here.
  • Coyotes captain Shane Doan would scored shortly after Klesla’s hit on Halischuk at 14:52, his third goal of the playoffs.
  • At one point during the third period, Nashville was able to slip the puck past Mike Smith for a goal, but in true NHL referee fashion, the goal was waved off due to an “intention to blow” call. This is the second consecutive goal that has been waved off for Nashville due to this “unbelievable” call. Although completely overrun in the first period, the Predators pressured hard in the second and third periods, but were unable to slip past the Coyotes defense.
  • Nashville out-shot Phoenix by one (25 to 24), but even with all the potential chances the Predators were given, Nashville just wasn’t able to pull one out. It also did not help that Phoenix was out to weaken the Predators, pummeling them left and right into the boards.
  • Both Nashville and Phoenix had the same amount of power play chances at three, but neither team was able to capitalize on their advantage. Here are the three Predators offenders of the first period:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 1:30 1st Period – Interference
  2. Paul Gaustad – 10:00 1st Period – Fighting
  3. Gabriel Bourque – 15:55 1st Period – Slashing

Although coming out with an intensity that can only be described as Predators hockey on Wednesday night, Nashville’s flame completely burned out on Friday, not what the Predators needed in order to contend for the Cup. It was clear Phoenix was completely and utterly prepared for Nashville to play the exact same way they did on Wednesday, which is one of the major flaws in the way Barry Trotz coaches. Now, don’t get us wrong, Trotz is an outstanding coach… in the regular season. However, teams anticipate opponents to fall to familiarity, and Nashville did just that on Friday night. They played it safe and kept the same lineups and plays as Wednesday, giving Phoenix the completely advantage. The one change that was noted was that SK74 was bumped from the star lineup and replaced with Colin Wilson. And, a question we ask, why wasn’t Paul Gaustad in the face-offs? With the highest winning percentage, why did he not get first choice in face-offs?

We could ask questions like these all day until our faces turn blue, but what ultimately matters now is that the Predators stitch themselves back up, change it up a bit, and come out swinging in Glendale tomorrow night. With the Stanley Cup on the line, if Nashville is as hunger as they think they are, tomorrow will not even be a factor.

Until then,
GO PREDS