Preds hold lead early, fall to Blackhawks 5-4

Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

So I asked the in the previous post (the Philadelphia one) as to who would be in net for Nashville tonight. Who is surprised it was Pekka again? Now, don’t get me wrong, if I had my way, Pekka would be half human/half machine and fully capable of handling a full 82-game season; no offense, Hutton. But alas, he is a mere mortal and needs a rest every now and then. However, there’s a good chance Rinne will not rest for tomorrow’s game either, as St. Louis is nipping at our heels as I type. Call me a worrier, but after losing him last season to that E. Coli hip, I have every reason to be nervous of his health. Though the Predators have gained strength under the leadership of Peter Laviolette, Pekka Rinne is still saving their butts more often than not.

Anywho, let’s discuss Chicago, who sits just two points ahead of Nashville for first in the Central Division. However, to discuss the bigger picture, it seems as if Anaheim is Nashville’s biggest threat thus far (when discussing the Cup); they are currently 24-8-6. So a night in the Windy City then back home to face the Blues? Giddy-up.

First Period:

  • Roman Josi got the party started at 11:50 in the United Center with a snap shot past Corey Crawford for his fifth goal of the season. Paul Gaustad tallies the lone assist.
  • Craig Smith pushed Nashville up 2-0 with a wrister at 17:12, his 11th goal of the season. Colin Wilson (9) and Mike Ribeiro (21) claim the assists.

Second Period:

  • James Neal picked up his 12th goal at 7:28 with a excellent tip-in with assistance from Colin Wilson (10) and Pekka Rinne (1). No, that isn’t a typo – Rinne, in fact, picked up the assist.
  • Brad Richards cut the Predators lead 3-1 at 10:33 with a slap shot past Rinne for his seventh goal of the season.
  • Chicago would then come within one of Nashville at 15:48 with a wrister from Andrew Shaw, his sixth of the season.
  • Just two minutes later, Chicago would tie it with slapshot from Marian Hossa on the power play, his eighth goal of the season.
  • With a power play goal of his own, James Neal gave Nashville the lead once again, his second goal of the night and 13th of the season. Filip Forsberg (21) and Roman Josi (17) collect the assists.

Third Period:

  • Sadly, at 18:47 with the extra attacker, Bryan Bickell sends a wrister past Rinne to tie the game, sending it into overtime.

Overtime:

  • No goals in overtime – to the shootout we go.

Shootout:

  • NSH – Ryan Ellis – MISS
  • CHI – Jonathan Toews – GOAL
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • CHI – Patrick Kane – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – MISS

And with that, the Nashville Predators fall 5-4 in the shootout and are now 24-9-3. As I have mentioned several times, the Predators take on the Blues tomorrow night at home. Luckily, the Blues may be just as exhausted as they, too have played tonight. However… they beat the Avalanche 3-0. Sheesh.

James Neal, a Hat Trick & Victory over Chicago: Oh My!

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Image Source: Zimbio

The Predators and Blackhawks have had a unique friendship since Nashville entered the league sixteen years ago and, with Nashville just one point ahead of Chicago from leading the Central Division, tonight was bound to lead to some indiscretions between the two. The Preds and Hawks have already met once this young season; last Saturday, to be exact. Nashville lost in OT to a short-handed goal from Jonathan Toews, but because it was pushed into overtime, Nashville left with the point Chicago didn’t intend to share. Fast-forward to tonight, where the kind folks of Music City welcome in the ever-so-pleasant beings of the Windy City. Here are the highlights:

First Period:
– Chicago struck first at 12:21 with wrister from Ben Smith for his first goal of the season.
– However, James Neal would retaliate at 19:12 with a clean snap shot for his fifth goal of the season. Seth Jones (3) and Mike Ribeiro (3) would notch the assists.

Second Period:
– James Neal would produce a second goal with another nasty snap shot at 16:12 for his sixth goal of the season. Filip Forsberg (5) would pick up the lone assist

Third Period:
– Just 1:52 into the third, Neal would collect his first natural Hat Trick as a Nashville Predator. Ryan Ellis (4) and Filip Forsberg (6) would collect the assists.
mL3G1R– Andrew Shaw would collect a rather interesting tip-in at 12:36, putting Chicago within one of Nashville.- Chicago would pull Raanta at just under 1:30, but it wouldn’t be enough as Nashville sealed the deal 3-2 in regulation to send the Hawks flocking back to Chicago.

Talk about playing under pressure and completely owning it. THAT’S the Pesky Preds we know and expect to see! And how ’bout these apples: The Nashville Predators are now the only team in the NHL that remains undefeated in regulation. Soak that in for a long moment, Preds fans; you deserve it. Nashville is now 5-0-2 and takes that momentum into Saturday when Patric Hornqvist & the Pittsburgh Penguins pop into town. It’s also James Neal bobble-head night; you want that.

Austin Watson’s NHL Debut marred by Preds 4th loss to Chicago

Source: Zimbio.com

The post-season train is about to board and Nashville is falling further and further to the back of the pack, with Chicago claiming their ticket and jumping aboard with tonight’s win over the Predators 5-3. As stated in a previous post, the lockout was more than helpful for the Chicago Blackhawks, as they started out the season undefeated through 24 games. Though they have since lost, their record against Nashville thus far remains 4-0.

Don’t laugh off the Predators just yet, though. They fell to the Blackhawks 3-0 in their first meeting, but Nashville has kept the games close against the leader of the NHL. But close doesn’t cut it when the playoffs are on the line and, though they fought a good fight, quality doesn’t always produce quantity when it comes down to it.

Here are the highlights from tonight’s game at the United Center:

BEFORE THE GAME:

  • Though he played in yesterday’s game, Mike Fisher was pulled from the lineup for safety reasons and an emergency recall from Milwaukee was made. Insert, Austin Watson: Nashville’s first round pick from the 2010 NHL Draft. As Milwaukee’s leading scorer, it was more of a “when is he coming” situation for the Predators.

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Andrew Shaw drew blood first with a slap shot past Pekka Rinne at 6:34 into the game, his 8th goal of the season.
  • Nashville would kill any chance of a shutout for Chicago at 17:16 with a wrister from Nick Spaling, his 7th goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn would pick up his 11th assist of the season.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Similar to the first period, Chicago would start out with a goal first, this time from Bryan Bickell, his 8th of the season.
  • The Predators would respond at 5:54 with a clean slap shot from Shea Weber, his 8th goal of the season. Nick Spaling would pick up the assist on Weber’s goal, his 4th of the season.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • David Legwand would give Nashville its only lead of the night at 6:54 for his 11th goal of the season. Matt Halischuk (5th) and Shea Weber (15th) would nab the assists on Leggy’s goal. Legwand is now just one goal away from his 200th NHL career goal.
  • Chicago would both tie and take the lead within 55 seconds of each goal, the first one nailed by Brandon Saad and the second collected by Jonathan Toews.
  • With the clock winding down, Patrick Kane collects his 20th goal of the season with an empty netter, sealing the game 5-3 in favor of the Blackhawks.

     

    The Blackhawks only needed one point to punch their ticket into the playoffs, but with their win in regulation, Nashville may have unwillingly handed Chicago their possible ticket, too.

The Predators have made the playoffs every year since 2003, spoiling Predators fans who weren’t aware of the franchise before that year. Do fans know how to handle an early off season filled with golf while watching other teams claw for the Cup?

The Predators pack up and head home to welcome the St. Louis Blues to the Bridgestone on Tuesday night. The Predators are just five points behind Detroit for 8th position and just six from St. Louis who sits in 7th. Two things need to happen to help the Predators: everyone else to lose and Nashville to actually win.

Around the League: Two Games & Fired Up

The 2012 NHL Playoffs are in full swing, with every team already playing two games each (minus Florida and New Jersey, who started on Friday).

So far, everyone is tied at one a piece, minus Philadelphia, who holds a 2-0 lead over Pittsburgh, and the Kings, who hold a 2-0 lead of their own over the Vancouver Canucks. Here’s a good layout of how everything is going thus far:

The Panthers and the Devils just had to start on Friday...

We have to say, these playoffs haven’t been boring, with seven overtimes being forced (both Chicago/Phoenix games went to overtime). Along with overtimes and unbelievable comebacks (thanks a lot, Chicago…), it looks like Brendan Shanahan’s going to have a long night…

Detroit fans complained about Shea Weber’s hit on Henrik Zetterberg during Game 1 on Tuesday, but after all of the cheap shots that happened thus far, Weber’s hit looks like a tap compared to the following videos:

Andrew Shaw plows into Phoenix goalie, Mike Smith:


Shaw was immediately ejected from the game. Whether intentional or not, any hit to a player’s head is subject to automatic suspension, which means Chicago may not have Shaw in Game 3.

Carl Hagelin elbow’s Daniel Alfredsson in the head:


Hagelin has his disciplinary hearing with Mr. Shanahan on Sunday.

Matt Carkner’s cheap shot on Brian Boyle:


Scroll to 2:08 in the video where the camera angle clearly shows Carkner’s brutality. Carkner was penalized with a game misconduct, along with Rangers player, Brandon Dubinsky who was trying to defend his fellow teammate.

I'd throw that Gatorade cooler, too.

There was probably plenty of other controversial plays, but it is well passed midnight and we want to go to bed at some point, but you get the fact that these first two games have been awfully interesting. Most of us were thinking the majority of the fights would come out of the Penguins/Flyers match up, but they’ve been relatively quiet (minus the Flyers owning the first two games in the series).

Game 3 starts tomorrow for a few teams, including the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings. For the Panthers and the Devils, Game 2 is just beginning. We will update happenings from around the league throughout the week, so keep checking in!