Third Time’s the Charm; Preds grasp 3-1 Win over Wild

Nick Spaling capitalizes in Minnesota

FINALLY! A POST WITHOUT EXPLAINABLE EXCUSES! Ahh, just kidding; the Preds didn’t do that bad during the last two games, but how refreshing it is to write the first winning post of the season! And against the power couple that is Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, no doubt!

The Predators started out a bit iffy tonight, similar to last night’s start with the Wild showing the upper-hand. Showing no fatigue from last night’s shootout loss to the Blues and the late night plane ride, the Preds kept par with Minnesota, inevitably holding strong for the win. Here are the highlights from tonight’s first win of the season:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad traveled to Minnesota with the team and even took to the ice during practice this morning. However, his upper-body injury is still on the mend, so he, Jonathon Blum, and Brian McGrattan were your three scratches for the night.
  • Gabriel Bourque, who played a substantial role during last year’s playoffs, boarded a plane from Milwaukee at 7AM this morning to join the team in St. Paul. Bourque did not originally join the team at the end of the lockout due to an injury, healing while with the Admirals.
  • Chris Mason was given his chance to hit the ice for the Predators once again since 2008, getting the nod as starting goalie against Niklas Backstrom. Pekka Rinne, after a rough two games at home, took a needed break, although many were weary of Mason’s preparation against a 2-0 opponent.
  • Minnesota started out on the feisty side, keeping the action centered around Mason and the Predators’ zone. At 6:02, Dany Heatley knocked one past Mason, his third goal of the season.
  • The Wild’s early strike stirred the pot for the Predators, waking them up near the end of the first period with a wrist shot at 16:31 from Nick Spaling, his first goal of the season, to tie the game. Kevin Klein and Brandon Yip both picked up their first assists of the season.
  • The second period remained quiet on the goal front, but not on the defensive and offensive front. The Predators put up more shots on goal during the second (10 to Minnesota’s 7), and Chris Mason made some key and valuable saves to avoid sending the Wild into the lead.
  • The majority of the third period had most Predators fans wondering if they were going to see yet another shootout (three in a row?!), with both sides taking an even amount of eleven shots on goal during the period. However, Martin Erat nailed the magic backhand past a misplaced Backstrom to put the Predators up 2-1 for his second goal of the season at 11:45. Unassisted, we might add.
  • The Wild would pull Backstrom to give them an extra hand, but a last minute slashing penalty on Pierre-Marc Bouchard ended up backfiring on the Wild, giving the Predators the upper-hand and David Legwand’s first goal of the season at 19:43 on the powerplay. His snapshot was assisted by Nick Spaling.

The game was full of penalty action, both on the Predators and the Wild. Thankfully for the Predators, none of their penalties had a reprocution of a goal in favor of the Wild, but the latter can be said for Minnesota. Here are your Predators that wanted some alone time in tonight’s game:

  1. Rich Clune – 1st Period, 2:18 – Fighting
  2. Nick Spaling – 1st Period, 12:16 – Tripping
  3. Patric Hornqvist – 1st Period, 19:55 – Roughing
  4. Shea Weber – 2nd Period, 4:03 – Interference
  5. Brandon Yip – 2nd Period, 19:17 – Roughing
  6. Patric Hornqvist – 3rd Period, 9:47 – Goaltender Interference

The Zach Parise/Ryan Suter pairing have proven to be a power couple in just two games, but it was proven tonight that they are flawed and are not invincible. Though Roman Josi and Shea Weber have not meshed as well as Suter/Weber once did, the season is still young and, though it is a shortened season, the Josi/Weber pairing has time (not too long) to mesh and maybe, just maybe, we’ll forget all about that “Ryan Suter” character.

Let us not forget backup goaltender, Chris Mason. The Wild were brutal on net when they were in the crease, giving both the Preds defense and Mason a run for his money for not being a lanky, 6’7″ Finnish phenom. Mason blocked 28 of 29 shots on goal; though you can argue Peks has stopped many more than that while balancing on his right pinkie, Mason revived a few reluctant fans (and analysts) who just weren’t sure about how he could stack up to both Pekka and former backup goalie, Anders Lindback. After tonight’s performance, it looks like Chris Mason has measured up and surpassed even our critiques.

The Predators are off tomorrow night, but face the Blues in St. Louis on Thursday night. After tonight’s reviving win, will the Predators take that momentum across the West?

Until then,
GO PREDS!

Predators nab Nine Picks in 2012 NHL Draft

2012 NHL Draft

Though once thought a complete loss for the Predators, David Poile was able to work his magic at the last minute and seal Nashville with a few key draft picks in both the second and third rounds. Thanks to his maneuverability, the Predators picked up nine potential players yesterday in the 2012 NHL Draft. Here is a quick rundown of who Nashville nabbed and what they could bring in the future:

Pontus Aberg

Pontus Åberg – Predators first draft pick (37th overall)
Thanks to Poile’s slick trade move with Tampa Bay, the Nashville Predators were able to snag this young forward who is said to be the ninth best skater in the draft. Per scouting reports, Aberg has killer shooting accuracy, tremendous puck handling skills, and tends to pass the puck well (Trotz will like that). However, reports on consistency issues have been brought up, bring certain current players to mind (SK74). But, keep in mind, Aberg is tied to Swedish team Djugarden through the 2013-14 season, so the 19-year-old has plenty of time to outgrow any issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colton Sissons

Colton Sissons – Predators second draft pick (50th overall)
With their second pick in the draft, the Predators stepped away with another forward, this time Canadian Colton Sissons. Scouting reports have nothing but praise for this young Center, acknowledging his strong skating and defensive style, along with unique offensive characteristics. As the captain for the Kelowna Rockets, the trait of leadership shines with this kid, proving he’ll fit in just fine when he’s eventually called to Nashville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Vesey

 

 

 

Jimmy Vesey – Predators third draft pick (66th overall)
The Predators chose an Ivy League bounder with their third pick, nabbing Left Winger and Boston native, Jimmy Vesey. Vesey is slated to play for Harvard this upcoming season, but don’t let his brains fool you; the kid broke the EJHL single-season scoring record (48-43-91), winning league MVP, and taking home the Bruins’ John Carlton Award for combining exceptional hockey skills with academic excellence. In his recent draft interview, Vesey stated that he looks up to Mike Fisher and has a thing for Country music. Sounds like, once makes his move to the NHL, Vesey will do just fine here.

 

Brendan Leipsic

Brendan Leipsic – Predators fourth draft pick (89th overall)
The Predators did a little trading with the New York Rangers to get their fourth pick, trading their 3rd Round pick in next year’s draft for a Canadian Left Winger, Brendan Leipsic. Currently on the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks roster, Leipsic is known for three attributes: speed, skating, and energy. However, similar to Aberg, Leipsic is prone to a bit of inconsistency at times. But, with his aggressive style and physical nature, Leipsic is bound to be a top forward at some point in his career.

 

 

 

 

Zach Stepan

Zachary Stepan – Predators fifth draft pick (112th overall)
Does his last name sound familiar? If you’re a fan of the New York Rangers, perhaps it does. Cousin to Derek Stepan, Zachary is blazing his own trail, even stating that he has been following the Predators for about two years now, impressed with how far the franchise has come. Stepan has trained under the Shattuck-St. Mary’s program, the same one that brought up Sidney Crosby. Speed, strength, and control keep this kid flying high on the radar, despite his small frame. His aggressiveness towards bigger players reminds us of a one, Francis Bouillon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mikko Vainonen

Mikko Vainonen – Predators sixth draft pick (118th overall)
With a name like Mikko, you must have guessed Nashville’s sixth draft pick hails from Finland. As Nashville’s first defenseman pick of the draft, Vainonen brings a lot to the table as defenseman go. At over 200 lbs, slow and steady is not an option for this Finn; Speed and his excellent stickwork make this kid a force to be reckoned with. However, as far as scouting reports go, most do not see this 18-year-old as more than just a puck pusher, but (being the age he is) he will have plenty of time to grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Fernholm

Simon Fernholm – Predators seventh draft pick (164th overall)
Yet another Swede to add to the Predators potential roster is defenseman, Simon Fernholm. At 187 lbs, the young Swede will need some time to grow into his defenseman position, but again, time will help build his character as an NHLer.

 

 

 

 

 

Max Görtz

Max Görtz – Predators eighth draft pick (172nd overall)
…And the Predators pick up another Swede with their eighth pick, Right Winger Maz Gortz from Swedish team, Färjestad. Gortz is a large forward, with a good release and solid technical skills. He will stay with Färjestad at least another season.

 

 

 

 

Marek Mazanec

Marek Mazanec – Predators ninth draft pick (179th overall)
With the parting of Anders Lindback, the Predators chose, with their final pick of the draft, a goalie from the Czech Republic by the name of Marek Mazanec. At 6’4″, we’re pretty positive this Czech goalie is well on his way to fitting in just fine amongst the organization’s goalies.

 

 

 

 

You won’t have to wait too long to see how these nine draft picks match with one another, as the Predators Prospect Camp starts this week at Centennial Sportsplex. All in all, we would conclude that Nashville had a very successful draft day and that maybe, just maybe, David Poile should get a little pat on the back.

Predators Sign Brandon Yip to One-Year Contract

Yip looks so intense, whereas the Red Wings look… out of it?

Just four days after announcing the trade of goalie Anders Lindback, the Predators have switched gears and have set up a contract with one of the players.

Brandon Yip, placed on waivers by the Colorado Avalanche and picked up by Nashville in January, has been signed to a one-year (one way), $750,000 contract for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Colorado initially placed the young Right Wing on waivers due to an ailing injury, but Yip shined with Nashville in the four months he was with the Predators.

Brandon didn’t shy away from leadership, leading us to believe that is one of the key reasons as to why David Poile signed the 27-year-old. That, and he doesn’t (hasn’t) defy Barry Trotz and didn’t cost too much to add on for another year. However, Yip’s determination proved reliable for the Predators during the regular season and in the post season, giving Poile even more reason to sign him on.

So that leads to who will be next? July 1st is around the corner and Poile and the crew have a lot of thinking to do. Did we think Yip would be the first to be signed on? No, but he will be key to Nashville’s success for next season. With Yip on board, will Poile bite his tongue and (do the right thing) and sign his college buddy Colin Wilson to a contract?

Preds on the Line as of June 19th

Again, who will be next? David Poile will hope it to be Ryan Suter, but we highly doubt that.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Image)

Lindback and K. Wilson Traded to Tampa Bay

Anders and his gummy bears will be truly missed in Nashville.

Welp, the first of the trades began today as backup goalie Anders Lindback and center Kyle Wilson were traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for two 2nd-Round picks in this year’s draft (which starts next Friday), a 3rd-Round pick in next year’s draft, and the rights to goalie Sebastien Caron.

After losing key draft picks for Paul Gaustad and Andrei Kostitsyn (one of which is for certain not returning next season), General Manager David Poile needed to make some drastic changes in order to make up for the trade deadline backfire. With the Lindback trade, Poile has jumped back to the front of the pack.

Along with the trade, Poile also informed us all that Ryan Suter will indeed test out the Free Agency waters (like we didn’t see that one coming). Poile stated that Suter will, however, see what other teams will offer him, then see if Nashville will counteract with an offer of their own.

As for who will replace Anders, it will more than likely be Jeremy Smith, the starting goalie in Milwaukee. Also in his press conference, Poile announced that Magnus Hellberg would be coming over from Sweden this upcoming season, meaning he will more than likely take Smith’s goaltending position with the Admirals.

Anders Lindback proved that he was ready to step into the spotlight this past season, so (even though we will miss him dearly) this trade works well in Lindback’s favor for sure. Being the starting goalie along with players such as Stamkos and St. Louis? Yes, we think Anders will do just fine.

We wish Anders well in Tampa Bay and will always welcome him back to Nashville.

 

How the Predators are shaping up as of June 15th, 2012:

Who’s gone (will go) & who’s still here as of June 15th

 

Photo courtesy of: Christian Petersen/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)

Penalties Plague Predators, Lindback Prevails

Anders Lindback protects the net from Stephane Veilleux.

With only three games left in the regular season, the Nashville Predators would either come out swinging or take their time, trying to avoid any injury or mishap possible. However, with a possible playoff position still looming in the air as to wether the Predators would start out at home or away, the boys couldn’t afford to sit back and let the Minnesota Wild (who are completely out of the playoff running) come out and steal the show.

It’s hard to believe that at one point during this season, Minnesota was sitting pretty at the top – and by top, we mean the entire league. Injuries hit the Wild hard this season, with Minnesota almost exhausting their farm team’s roster. But, that’s the beauty of hockey; nothing is for certain. However, just because Minnesota’s out of the running doesn’t mean they’ll just finish off the rest of their season quietly. The Wild have won their last three games, including Chicago 5-4 on Sunday. Needless to say, Minnesota came to the Music City raring to go.

KEY POINTS:

  • When Nashville announced that goalie Chet Pickard would be called up from the Milwaukee Admirals, it was pretty clear Pekka would be taking the night off. Though said from officials to be suffering from both the stomach flu and cold-like symptoms (well, which one?), it was obvious Pekka was on the scratched list just so he could have a night to rest and for Anders Lindback to get some much needed ice time.
  • Jack Hillen, Ryan Ellis, and Brian McGrattan were the usual scratches last night, but also making the list were Matt Halischuk, Jordin Tootoo, and (surprise, surprise) Colin Wilson. Halischuk has proven himself time and time again, but Trotz chose Craig Smith of the lineup in his place. As for Toots, well he may be sitting more often thanks to Radulov’s tremendous influence on the team so far. And, last but not least, Colin is well, still healing (…).
  • If you happened to catch the game last night, you would have noticed both teams had problems staying on their feet, with many of the players simply dropping to the ice. Snipers in the Bridgestone? No, just “choppy” ice conditions. Thanks to the unseasonable warm weather, the ice in the Bridgestone wasn’t at peak condition, thus allowing for more divots in the ice, causing issues with the blades on the skates. In fact, we are pretty positive Mike Fisher is made of lead.
  • The first period was slow for both teams, possibly because of the issue with the ice, but Nashville was able to release 10 shots to Minnesota’s 12. Both Lindback and Backstrom were ready, whether the ice was melting or not.
  • Gabriel put the first points on the board at 12:31 in the 2nd Period with a clean pass from Nick Spaling (11th assist). Bourque has been the rookie on fire as of late, sealing his 7th goal of the season.
  • Minnesota responded to Bourque’s goal at 17:53 with a goal from Dany Heatley, his 23rd goal of the season. The Predators and Wild would end the 2nd Period tied at one.
  • The 3rd Period resembled the first, with no goals recorded by either team. Both teams evenly hit seven shots on goal, but both Linback and Backstrom were still on their A-Games.
  • Overtime produced no goals, so to the shootout they went. This would be Anders Lindback’s first career shootout. Here’s how it played out:
  1. MINNESOTA – Erik Christensen – MISS
  2. NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
  3. MINNESOTA – Mikko Koivu – SAVE
  4. NASHVILLE – Alexander Radulov – GOAL
  5. MINNESOTA – Devin Setoguchi – SAVE
  • Radulov’s ego will rise as he continues to shine on NHL ice, which as long as he is wearing a Predators sweater, we don’t care. Anders Lindback not only made Nashville proud, he also made goalie coach Mitch Korn beam with pride, realizing that even behind Pekka, Nashville has an extraordinary goalie. Lindy was able to stop 25 of 26 goals on net.
  • As stated in the headline, penalties were Nashville’s best friend last night as the Predators racked up six penalties in the 1st and 3rd periods; that’s three more than Minnesota accumulated. Lucky for the Predators, the Wild weren’t able to capitalize on any of their penalty chances. Here are the six offenders:
  1. Ryan Suter – 7:25 1st Period – Cross Checking
  2. Brandon Yip – 16:42 1st Period – Roughing
  3. David Legwand – 18:53 1st Period – Interference
  4. Martin Erat – 0:42 3rd Period – Tripping
  5. Nick Spaling – 11:54 3rd Period – Hooking
  6. Andrei Kostitsyn – 19:48 3rd Period – Tripping

Although Minnesota snuck away with one point, Nashville ultimately left with the big W, which is better than nothing. It is understandable why the Predators want smooth sailing for the remainder of their regular season, but with Detroit nipping at their heels, Nashville can’t afford any losses this week.

The Predators finish their final home game on Thursday against the Dallas Stars, a fellow playoff contender. The Predators will end the their season in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

Out-Shot but not Out-Played: Oilers Top the Predators 6-3

Even though it was Sergei Kostitsyn's birthday, the Oilers made no attempt to play nice.

The Predators returned home after a treacherous trip out West. Although the Predators were able to sneak away with two wins (first in Phoenix with a SO win and then against the Ducks in regulation), none of the games they played showed any confidence in the team and each game was played with a bit of a lackluster effort. But home games are always a confidence boost, right? Especially sweeping out the Ducks on Sunday.

Easy wins should never be assumed by a team like the Predators. Although the Edmonton Oilers are currently sitting in 14th in the league (yes, that means they are the second to last) and are dead last in the Northwest Division, the Oilers aren’t a team to just cast aside. In fact, in the last three games the Predators played against the Oilers, they only won one on November 28th in Edmonton 2-1. Otherwise, Edmonton, although clearly the weaker of the two teams, has embarrassed the Predators on both home and away ice.

Either the Predators were suffering from jet lag (which was still hanging around since heading to the West) or they were suffering from Rads-is-on-his-way syndrome. Either way, the Oilers brought their A-Game and the Predators did not. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in Music City:

KEY POINTS:

  • Brian McGrattan, Roman Josi, and Jack Hillen sat out on the scratched list last night against the Oilers. Along with those three, Colin Wilson and Paul Gaustad rounded out the scratched bunch. Wilson is currently still on the fence with a “groin” injury, whereas Gaustad is quickly healing and could possibly be back for Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh.
  • Former Predator, Darcy Hordichuk got the ball rolling at 12:50 for the Oilers, scoring his first goal of the season past Pekka Rinne.
  • The Oilers quickly put themselves up 2-0 over the home team at 16:22 with a wrist shot from Ales Hemsky, his 7th goal of the season.
  • David Legwand would relieve Preds fans at 19:53 in the 1st with his 17th goal of the season past Devan Dubnyk. Leggy was assisted by Shea Weber (29th assist) and rookie Gabriel Bourque (10th assist).
  • Ales Hemsky would seal his 2nd goal of the night (8th of the season) 28 seconds into the 2nd, sending Pekka to the bench and bringing out Anders Lindback.
  • Edmonton would continue to attack, putting the Oilers up 4-1 at 5:51 with a power play goal from Ryan Jones (15th goal of the season).
  • Between this point and Nashville’s goal at 12:35, something happened. Something that sent both the team (the Predators) and the fans into an uproar. An apparent goal by Patric Hornqvist was waved off by the officials, even though it was clearly and quite obviously a goal. The fans clearly shared their feelings with the refs, and even the Oilers announcers were said to have said it was a terrible call.
  • The refs tried to make up the slip in judgement by giving the Predators a 5-on-3. Patric Hornqvist sealed a goal at 12:35 for his 24th goal of the season. Mike Fisher (23rd assist) and Martin Erat (39th assist) assisted on the power play goal.
  • The Oilers would end the 2nd Period with another goal from Ales Hemsky at 14:03, giving the Czech his first ever Hat Trick in the NHL.
  • David Legwand would seal his second goal of the night at 4:18 in the 3rd, his 18th goal of the season. Patric Hornqvist (13th assist) and Gabriel Bourque (11th assist) were back in the lineup with Leggy, assisting him on the goal.
  • Sam Gagner would seal any chance of the Predators returning to the game with an empty-netter at 18:19 for his 16th goal of the season.
  • Pekka Rinne has been looking a bit sluggish lately, and last night showed through his padding. Pekka was pulled early in the 2nd Period, right after Ales Hemsky sealed his second goal of the night. Anders played well, blocking 10 of 12 shots on net. Edmonton resembled the Predators in that they managed to still win, dispite only having 20 shots on goal. The Predators took an outstanding 41, but the accuracy of the shots failed against goalie, Devan Dubnyk.
  • The Predators only had two penalties compared to Edmonton’s five, but the Predators just couldn’t find a way to capitalize on them, minus one. Here are the two penalty boxers:
  1. Shea Weber – 4:09 2nd Period – Hi-Sticking
  2. Francis Bouillon – 14:28 3rd Period – Roughing

Sloppy plays equal a short time in the playoffs. The Predators have been struggling as of late and, with the playoffs inching ever so closer, now is not the time to slack-off. Lackluster plays and puck-handling mistakes lead to quick “couch” time, as we’d like to call it.

RADULOV UPDATE:
As expected, Alexander Radulov made it into Nashville late last night, stopping by the Bridgestone Arena to meet with General Manager David Poile, Head Coach Barry Trotz, and other members of the staff and team. Radulov practiced with the team this morning (Wednesday, March 21st) and is expected to make the trip to Pittsburgh with the team on Thursday. Whether or not he will hit the ice tomorrow is still in question, but he was placed on a line with Legwand and Hornqvist and is expected to play Saturday in Nashville against the Winnipeg Jets.

Alexander Radulov stated that he was happy to be back in Nashville and was ready to play tomorrow against Pittsburgh, but all decisions will be decided upon tomorrow. Here a picture from the press conference this morning:

Radulov shakes hands with Predators GM David Poile.

Again, one player (Radulov…cough) is not going to save the Predators from their sloppy mistakes. Yes, Radulov will help tremendously, but it may take a game or two before he gets into the swing of things back here in the NHL (Yes, there is a huge difference between the KHL and the NHL). The Predators are off to Pittsburgh for the night tomorrow to take on Steve Sullivan, Sidney Crosby, and the Penguins at 6PM. The Predators return to Nashville on Saturday to welcome the Winnipeg Jets at a special 6PM start time.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Kristen Jerkins Photography)

Lindback Shines for Predators, Ducks Swept by Nashville 3-1

The Predators celebrate their win over Anaheim on Sunday night.

After the excruciating loss against the L.A. Kings the night before, the Predators trudged across the street (basically) into Anaheim to face the always pleasant Ducks. The Predators have dominated the Ducks all season long, so sweeping the Ducks in their final meeting of the season would give the Predators a giddy up in their step after a tough Western trek. The Ducks are currently sitting in 12th in the Western Conference, but don’t let that fool you; Similar to the Kings and the Sharks, the Ducks aren’t a team to overlook. They can be dirty, physical, and competitive; Did the Predators pull out a regulation win? Here are the highlights from last night’s game in Anaheim:

KEY POINTS:

  • Brian McGrattan, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Paul Gaustad, Jack Maclellan, and Colin Wilson were the scratches for the night. However, it was Wilson’s injury that caused a stir among Predators fans yesterday. Wilson suffered a “tweaked” groin muscle during practice yesterday. Don’t worry, although he was missing from the lineup last night, it doesn’t seem to be life threatening.
  • Anaheim started out strong at 7:32 with a short-handed tip-in goal from Devante Smith-Pelly past Anders Lindback for his 5th goal of the season.
  • With no follow up goals in the 1st and no goals whatsoever in the 2nd, it was looking like Predators were struggling once again against their Western foes. However, Anders Lindback blocked 13 shots on goal during the second, proving he’s just as strong as Pekka Rinne.
  • Nashville looked like the Kings during the third period, coming out with a ferocity they should have emitted during the first two periods of the game. Patric Hornqvist struck fast at 1:19 with a wrist shot past Jonas Hiller for his 23rd goal of the season. David Legwand picked up his 30th assist and rookie Gabriel Bourque picked up his 8th.
  • Mike Fisher sounded off his 23rd goal as well at 10:27 with a beautiful tip-in with help from Ryan Suter (36th assist) and Martin Erat (38th assist).
  • David Legwand would seal the game for the Predators at 19:43 with an empty-netter power play goal for his 16th goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his 26th assist along with Kevin Klein for his 13th assist.
  • Besides the 3rd period, the Ducks out-shot the Predators in both the first and second periods. However, although backup goalie Anders Lindback hasn’t seen too much ice time behind Pekka Rinne, it was clear Lindback was itching for some ice time. If you hadn’t known Lindback was starting last night, you would have thought that was Pekka all the way. Blocking 30 of 31 shots on goal, we’d say Anders Lindback is a Pekka Rinne in the making.
  • Although the Predators allowed a short-handed goal in the first period, Nashville only gave the Ducks one penalty chance throughout the game. Martin Erat picked up an interference on goalkeeper penalty 33 seconds into the 2nd Period, yet Anders took control and blocked all 13 shots on goal during that period.

The Ducks were unable to snag one win over the Predators this entire season, hopefully giving the Nashville team a boost in confidence as they return to Smashville on Tuesday night to take on the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton is currently sitting in 14th in the conference and 5th (last) in the Northwest Division. But again, the Predators should not underestimate the struggling Oilers.

The puck drops in Nashville at 7PM tomorrow night.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit of: Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Predators Penalties prove Fatal against Hurricanes

Sergei and Andrei are reunited in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Predators took to the ice tonight in Raleigh, North Carolina after defeating the L.A. Kings 2-1 last night in Smashville. Back-to-back games can be pretty challenging, and the Predators went into tonight’s game with a boost from the recent trade pickups from yesterday afternoon. The Carolina Hurricanes are 5th in the Southeast, but don’t let that fool you; Carolina can be just as pesky as the Predators win it comes to sneaky wins. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game in Raleigh:

KEY POINTS:

  • Andrei Kostitsyn made his Predators debut tonight with his little brother against the Hurricanes. AK46 has been called the complete opposite of SK74, pushing himself as a consistent shooter.
  • Kevin Klein rested again tonight on the scratched list, along with Ryan Ellis and Brandon Yip. Brian McGrattan remains on the IR and new comer, Paul Gaustad stayed off the ice due to an upper-body injury.
  • The Predators came out strong with a wrist shot past Cam Ward from Craig Smith, his 12th goal of the season. Although Smith hasn’t had a goal since early January, he is 41st in the league for power play goals and 138th in assists. Matt Halischuk and Gabriel Bourque picked up assists on Smith’s goal.
  • Smith’s goal would be the only scored in the first, but Carolina’s Jamie McBain was quick to tie the game at 5:17 in the 2nd. McBain sent a slap shot past Anders Lindback for his 7th goal of the season.
  • Colin Wilson would answer the call for the Predators at 12:31 with a backhanded goal unassisted, his 15th goal of the season.
  • Carolina put their power play chances to use with two goals at both 13:04 and then at 17:24. Both goals were back-handers, the first one from Eric Staal (his 19th goal of the season) and the second from Tim Brent (his 9th goal of the season).
  • Bryan Allen would add salt to the wound with a goal at 1:28 in the 3rd, sending the Hurricanes up 4-2 over the Predators. As added insult to injury, the wrist shot past Lindback was Allen’s first goal of the season.
  • Rookie Gabriel Bourque would breathe life into the Predators at 2:18 with a wrist shot for his 4th goal of the season. Jordin Tootoo and David Legwand assisted on the rookie’s goal.
  • Unfortunately, the Predators just could catch enough momentum to snag an extra goal to tie the game and at least seal one point. The Carolina Hurricanes are now 24-26-13 on the season, the Predators 37-20-7.
  • Anders Lindback took over for Pekka Rinne tonight, blocking 29 of 33 shots on goal. Although Anders let a few slip by, quite a few were mistakes by the defense. The Predators were out-shot (surprised?) by the Carolina Hurricanes 33 to 29.
  • Unlike last night’s game, the Predators spent way too much time adding penalty minutes to their times sheet, with six penalties compared to Carolina’s one. Here are the six offenders of the bench:
  1. Jack Hillen – 1st Period 9:16 – Holding
  2. David Legwand – 1st Period 19:00 – Hi-Sticking
  3. Colin Wilson – 2nd Period 0.55 – Too Many Men/Ice
  4. Andrei Kostitsyn – 2nd Period 12:52 – Hooking
  5. Shea Weber – 2nd Period 17:13 – Hooking
  6. Mike Fisher – 3rd Period 8:50 – Hooking

The Predators have a few days to recuperate themselves before hitting the ice in sunny Miami on Saturday night where they will be faced with an old friend, Jerred Smithson.

On a lighter note from tonight’s game, Jordin Tootoo will be hosting another radio show tomorrow night with special guests Colin Wilson and Brandon Yip! You know you don’t want to miss that one, right?

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Winning Streak ends in Philly: Preds fall to Flyers 4-1

Alternate Captain Ryan Suter with the only goal on the night.

Though the Predators started out sluggish against Minnesota on Tuesday night and tricked the Wild, the Philadelphia Flyers didn’t fall for the act tonight, squishing the Predators in the city of Brotherly Love 4-1. It was clear from tonight’s performance, the Predators were still not completely back from the week-long break and are struggling to regain their game time composure. Although a loss is disheartening in its own way, at least it will no affect the Predators on the Western front end. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game in Philly:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jerred Smithson and Francis Bouillon were back tonight after suffering from upper-body injuries. As a result, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, and new kid Brandon Yip were all healthy scratches.
  • The first fifteen minutes were scoreless, with both teams putting decent pressure on both goals. Philly was able get the ball rolling first at 15:41 with a snap shot passed Lindback from Wayne Simmonds, his 14th goal of the season.
  • The Predators looked like they may have tied it a 1-1 with a shot from Weber, but due to his shot being deflected off of Craig Smith’s high stick, the goal was waved off.
  • Philly’s Matt Read would send the Flyers up 2-0 at 14:32 in the 2nd with a snap shot, his 16th goal of the season.
  • The Predators finally were able to slip one passed Ilya Bryzgalov with a wrist shot. A beautiful pass from Halischuk to Smith and finally to Suter sealed the goal. This was Ryan Suter’s 6th goal of the season.
  • The Flyers would silence the Predators at 15:19 with a another goal from Wayne Simmonds and then seal the game at 18:55 with an empty-netter from Claude Giroux, his 19th goal of the season.
  • Pekka Rinne took the night off to watch the game from the bench while backup goalie, Anders Lindback took the reins, blocking 24 of 27 shots on goal from the Flyers. Anders, although the losing goalie, made some key saves tonight, blocking the Flyers from accurately scoring more goals during tonight’s game.
  • The Predators and the Flyers both faced their share of penalties, with the Predators facing five and the Flyers facing six. Unforunately for the Predators, the Flyers were able to capitalize on two of the six, whereas the Preds were unsuccessful on all five. Here are the five offenders of the box:
  1.  Gabriel Bourque – 9:56 2nd Period – Too many men/ice
  2. Ryan Suter – 10:22 2nd Period – Delaying Game/Puck over Glass
  3. Francis Bouillon – 12:18 2nd Period – Roughing
  4. David Legwand – 12:18 2nd Period – Roughing
  5. Jerred Smithson – 14:44 3rd Period – Interference

The Predators didn’t exactly take this game too seriously and, even though the Flyers may be in the Eastern Conference and might not be a huge threat to the Preds at this particular moment, the playoffs will be a totally different matter. We, as fans, would not want this Preds team to show up against the Flyers in say, the Stanley Cup playoffs, now would we? Just a precautionary tale…

The Predators make their way back to Nashville to face the always pleasant St. Louis Blues Saturday night at 7PM. Don’t forget! The Nashville Predators Fangtastic 5K Run/Walk is going on that day and you can run/walk/jog, too! It’s $40 until Saturday, then $45. However, you get a ticket to Saturday’s game and a t-shirt (everyone loves t-shirts, right?)! You can get more information by visiting our EVENTS page!

Until then,
GO PREDS.