PPG for NSH; Preds bump Coyotes 5-1

Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

Nashville’s week-long trip West continued last night against the Arizona Coyotes, the Predators’ first trip to Glendale this season. Arizona, who has been on a three-game losing streak, is sitting in the same position in the Pacific Division as Nashville’s previous opponent, the Colorado Avalanche, are in the Central Division: sixth out of seven. With more losses than wins (10-15-3), the Coyotes need a confidence boost, and why not thwart the on-the-rise Predators? Not only is it Martin Erat’s former, former team that he needed so desperately to be out of, Arizona is also the former home of newest Nashville Predator, Mike Ribeiro. Ribeiro struggled both on and off the ice while with the Coyotes, prompting the organization to cut ties with him. Nashville swooped in and snatched the center up, which raised a few eyebrows as a rather risky move. Ah, but that risky move has proven successful as Ribeiro has become a staple of the Predators lineup. Currently holding down the 6th ranking amongst players in +/-, he also holds 18th amongst players in assists and 15th amongst players in save percentages. And Martin Erat? He has had five goals this season compared to Mike Ribeiro’s eight and (his true replacement) Forsberg’s twelve. But who’s counting, right?
filip

First Period:

  • Arizona’s Antoine Vermette (7) got the ball rolling with a powerplay goal at 4:11 with assistance from Mikkel Boedker (9) and Keith Yandle (17).
  • Mike Fisher wouldn’t wait long, scoring his first goal of the season at 6:57 and a powerplay goal on top of that. A what? I don’t know what that is! Phil Housley is taking in a deep, thankful sigh right about now. Shea Weber (10) and Filip Forsberg (16) nab the assists on Fisher’s goal.
  • James Neal would push Nashville up 2-1 at 11:06 for his eleventh goal of the season. Mike Fisher (3) and Roman Josi (12) would assist in said goal.
  • At 18:30, Ryan Ellis would nab his third goal of the season, giving Nashville a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. James Neal (7) and Mike Ribeiro (17) would be awarded the assists.

Second Period:

  • Just like in Colorado, no goals were mustered during the second period.

Third Period:

  • At just 2:43 into the period, Calle Jarnkrok would tally his second goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (2) and Filip Forsberg (17) power in with the assists.
  • Olli Jokinen would nab the GWG at 7:20, though it was a deflection off of Weber’s shot (oh well, he’ll take all the points he can get) for his second goal of the season. Colin Wilson (7) and Shea Weber (11) would be of assistance.

Another win tallied on this mini road trip as Nashville defeats the Coyotes 5-1 in Glendale. Not to jinx anything, but Nashville is now 19-7-2 on the season and is 2-0-0 on this road trip going into San Jose on Saturday. Though this should have been the game that Pekka Rinne got a much needed rest, he has still managed to keep it strong, blocking 57 of 58 shots in these past two games. Will Hutton get the start against the Sharks? Eh, though they are fourth in the Pacific Division, they are on a two-game winning streak and are 16-11-4. That’s a toughie to call, but we’ll see who gets to mind the net soon.

Ellis Goal leads to Victory in SO against Coyotes 3-2

Image Source: Kristen Jerkins

Image Source: Kristen Jerkins

Back home in Smashville are we for a few and the first guest on the list? The former never-were-in-Phoenix-to-begin-with Arizona Coyotes! The Coyotes, coming into Nashville with a 2-2-0 record, were pretty well prepared to leave with victory in their hands. Stop for a moment – I just noticed Pekka Rinne chatting it up with former Preds goalie, Devan Dubnyk in the background of the picture above. Not that that’s special or anything, I just wanted to point that A.D.D. moment out – carry on. However, in order for Nashville to remain at the top of the Central Division standings, they’d need to pull off a win against Martin Erat & his brood.

Notable Mentions: Keith Yandle debuted in his 500th NHL Career game last night in Nashville, which is a pretty big milestone, I guess. Congrats, Yandy.

First Period:
– Coming out sluggish and uncoordinated once again, it wasn’t long before the Coyotes and Rob Klinkhammer (2) would capitalize on this Nashville weakness and light the lamp in Arizona’s favor.
– Mike Ribeiro would retaliate against his former team at 12:05 for his third goal of the season. Ryan Ellis would be the lone assistant (2) on Ribeiro’s goal.
RIBEIRO
Second Period:

– After collecting an assist, Ryan Ellis nabbed his first goal of the season at 5:12 in the second, picking up assistance from Derek Roy (4) and Seth Jones (2).
– Arizona wouldn’t give Nashville too much to celebrate for at 11:48 as Keith Yandle sends one clean past Pekka’s barrier on the powerplay.

Third Period:
– Arizona would nabbed yet another power play goal thanks to former Pred, Martin Erat at 7:42 into the third; his second goal of the season.
– James Neal couldn’t wait 19 seconds later before answering Erat’s goal with one of his own, his second of the season. Mike Ribeiro (2) and Ryan Ellis (3) would both collect two more points on the night with their assists.

Overtime:
– With three shots from Nashville and just two from Arizona, this puppy was headed to a shootout.

Shootout Summary:
Nashville – Derek Roy – Goal
Arizona – Mikkel Boedker – Save
Nashville – Craig Smith – Save
Arizona – Sam Gagner – Save
Nashville – Filip Forsberg – Save
Arizona – Antoine Vermette – Goal
Nashville – Ryan Ellis – Goal
Arizona – Martin Erat – Save
Here’s a .gif of Ellis’s game winner against Dubby:
ELLISWINNER

With a win in the shootout, Nashville remains on top of the Central Division leader board… phew! It is important to note how well both Ryan Ellis and Mike Ribeiro looked tonight (among other players) and how Craig Smith needs to take some anxiety medicine; boy needs to take a deep breath and stop with all these silly mistakes. We know he’s better than that; we’ve seen it.

Next in line to come for a visit are the Chicago Blackhawks, who will be gracing us with their presence on Thursday. Chicago is sitting behind us both in the Central Division standings and in the league. I am sure they want to get past us tomorrow night if they can.

Coyotes best Preds in SO 5-4

Courtesy of Getty Images

The Predators headed out to sunny Arizona for their first of seven away games on this historic 17-day road trip around the league. The Preds and Coyotes have butted heads in recent years, thanks to a meeting between the two in the second round of the playoffs two years ago. This season, however, the Coyotes are sitting just a little higher than Nashville with a 8-3-2 record compared to Nashville’s 6-5-1 going into Halloween’s game. So, how did Nashville fair in the Arizona heat? Check the highlights:

First Period:

  • Matt Hendricks scored his first goal of the season & with the Predators organization nine minutes into the game with a wrister past goalie Thomas Greiss. David Legwand (7th assist) and Mattias Ekholm (2nd assist) would notch the assists.
  • Eric Nystrom would put Nashville up 2-0 at 14:12 with a backhander for his third goal of the season. David Legwand would pick up his second assist of the night (8th assist) and Patric Hornqvist would tally his 3rd of the season.
  • A late powerplay goal from David Legwand would send the Predators up 3-0 at the end of the first period, Legwand’s second goal of the season. Seth Jones (4th assist) and Shea Weber (3rd assist) would help with the assists.

Second Period:

  • The second period would rest solely in the hands of Phoenix, with both goals awarded in their favor.
  • Jordan Szwarz would notch his first goal of the season at 2:21 in the second.
  • Derek Morris then collected his fourth goal of the season with a slapshot past Carter Hutton at 9:51.
  • Phoenix would end the second period down just 2-3.
  • Though Nashville had more shots on goal (8), Phoenix was able to connect more with two of their six.

Third Period:

  • Paul Gaustad would gain momentum at 4:15 with a wrist shot for his second goal of the season. Nick Spaling would notch his second assist of the season on Gaustad’s goal.
  • The Coyotes wouldn’t hang behind too long, with a powerplay goal by Shane Doan at 6:16, putting Phoenix again within one.
  • Antoine Vermette would tie the game at 8:17, eventually sending the game into overtime.
  • Again, Nashville came out with more shots on goal at 19 to Phoenix’s 10, but the connection was just not in the favor of Nashville during the second and third periods.

Overtime:

  • No goals with Phoenix getting four SOG and Nashville just two.

SHOOTOUT:
PHOENIX – Mike Ribeiro – MISS
NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – MISS
PHOENIX – Radim Vrbata – MISSNASHVILLE – Matt Cullen – MISS
PHOENIX – Oliver Ekman-Larsson – MISS
NASHVILLE – Mike Fisher – MISS
PHOENIX – David Rundblad – MISS
NASHVILLE – Gabriel Bourque – MISS
PHOENIX – Mikkel Boedker – GOAL
NASHVILLE – David Legwand – MISS

It’s never a good feeling to have control during one period and then completely lose it the next, never regaining it the rest of the game. Nashville puttered out after the first, but at least pulled it into overtime to gain a point than a complete loss. Something to note, Viktor Stalberg made his presence known on the first line, stopping the puck from going into the net during the second period, which could have been costly for Nashville in the end.

SCRATCHES FOR NASHVILLE:
Rich CluneFilip Forsberg
Victor Bartley

Frustration Builds as Predators fall 4-0 to Coyotes

It has to be frustrating to more than just the fans, right?

Is frustration building amongst the team or is it just amongst the fan base? It would be difficult to believe that the team wouldn’t be, as the season just isn’t adding up to what they imagined thus far. It isn’t as if the Predators are just daydreaming along, but they just can’t seem to get the upper-hand when it comes to hammering a nail in the win column. The Predators had plenty of opportunities tonight, but again, the Predators just couldn’t squeeze one in, inevitably locking the 4-0 shutout in favor of the Coyotes. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jonathon Blum and Brian McGrattan continue to sit on the scratched list, with Patric Hornqvist joining them, for what looks like 3-4 weeks with a sprained knee.
  • Although the Predators came out on fire, the Coyotes scored first, with a wrister from Antoine Vermette past Pekka Rinne at the three-minute mark in the first (his third goal of the season). Phoenix would out-shoot the Predators 5 to 3 in the first period.
  • The second period would produce another goal for the Coyotes, sending Phoenix up 2-0 at 16:48 with a wrist shot by Lauri Korpikoski (third goal of the season). Phoenix would again out-shoot Nashville, this time 9 to 7.
  • Poor passing attempts would prove fatal for the Predators in the third, with Nick Johnson notching his first goal of the season with a – get this – wrister past Peks at 11:34.

The Predators were given plenty of powerplay opportunities, and managed to shutdown all six penalty kills awarded to the Coyotes. Here are the six troublemakers:

  1. Rich Clune – 15:12 1st Period – Fighting
  2. Craig Smith – 6:28 2nd Period – Hooking
  3. Matt Halischuk – 11:03 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Martin Erat – 5:24 3rd Period – Roughing
  5. Colin Wilson – 8:08 3rd Period – Too many men/ice
  6. Gabriel Bourque – 13:15 3rd Period – Tripping

Frustration. The word of the day, folks. We can’t imagine the team and the fans are feeling anything else. The second shutout of the season, the Predators are needing more help than we first imagined. Poor passes, unnecessary penalties, and zero offense won’t get you into the post season, especially when you are working with a 48-game season, and you’ve already lost five of the six.

What can the Predators do to reach Stanley Cup potential? I am afraid we’ve exhausted all of our options, but as a UT/Titans fan, you have to keep your head held high. Still early, the Predators can bounce back.

KEEP CALM AND GO PREDS.

The Desert proves too much for Predators, Phoenix takes Series 2-0

Brandon Yip has some choice words with Michal Rozsival.

Even before the puck dropped Friday night for Game 1 between the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes, it was clear that this would be a series to make or break the playoffs. Because Phoenix was ranked with the 3rd seed, Nashville would have to start the series with two games in Glendale, Arizona, giving the Coyotes the upper hand with home ice advantage. However, Nashville has a point of making the best of an underdog situation, but would it be enough with an equally as skilled goalie like Mike Smith? Here are the highlights from the first two games of Round 2 between Nashville and Phoenix:

G A M E 1:

  • Colin Wilson, Jordin Tootoo, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, Matt Halischuk, and Ryan Ellis found themselves on the scratched list, but there is one name that did not make that list: Hal Gill. The week long break after Round 1 gave Gill just the amount of recovery time he needed to step up in Game 1 of Round 2.
  • Phoenix took the lead first at 7:23 with a wrist shot by Radim Vrbata on the powerplay, his first goal of the playoffs.
  • Brandon Yip would answer the call at 14:09 for his first goal of the playoffs with a wrist shot of his own. Francis Bouillon (2nd assist) and Craig Smith (1st assist) picked up the assists on Yip’s goal.
  • Rostislav Klesla would put the Coyotes up 2-1 early into the 2nd Period at 3:05 for his 2nd goal of the playoffs with a backhander passed Pekka Rinne.
  • Andrei Kostitsyn would respond at 11:19 for his 2nd goal of the playoffs with a wrist shot passed Mike Smith. Patric Hornqvist (2nd assist) and Francis Bouillon (3rd assist) picked up the assists.
  • Mikkel Boedker would end the 2nd Period with a wrist shot for his 3rd goal of the playoffs.
  • Martin Erat would tie the game at 15:18 in the 3rd Period on the powerplay, his first goal of the playoffs. Patric Hornqvist (3rd assist) and and Ryan Suter (1st assist) grabbed the assists.
  • After an impressive 3rd Period and OT push by the Predators, Ray Whitney ended the game in favor of the Coyotes at 14:04 in OT, his 2nd goal of the playoffs.
  • The Predators blew the Coyotes out of the water in shots (42 to 24), but Mike Smith lived up to his name, blocking 39 of those shots on goal. Pekka Rinne and the defense fell to Phoenix, who had a difficult time with both face-offs and miscommunicated plays.
  • Along with miscommunication and terrible face-offs, the Predators had a difficult time slipping the puck passed Mike Smith on power plays, and Nashville was given five chances against Phoenix’s three. Out of their three chances, the Coyotes were able capitalize on their first one, and Nashville was also only able to capitalize on one. Here are the three offenders:
  1.  Kevin Klein – 6:26 1st Period – Tripping
  2. Ryan Suter – 15:43 1st Period – Tripping
  3. Pekka Rinne (Yes, the goalie picked up a penalty & it was served by Brandon Yip) – 2:47 3rd Period – Interference

The Predators tend to have a rough start after taking long breaks (i.e. the All-Star break), but after one game, surely the Predators were able to get a good feel of what the Coyotes were capable of. Surely, right?

G A M E 2:

  • Colin Wilson was given his taste of playoff freedom tonight, stretching his legs on the ice after being scratched since March. Craig Smith, Jordin Tootoo, Ryan Ellis, Jack Hillen, Brian McGrattan, and Matt Halischuk rounded out the scratched list for Game 2.
  • The Coyotes started the game off with a goal at 8:32 with a wrist shot from Antoine Vermette, his 5th goal of the playoffs.
  • Andrei Kostitsyn would nab his 3rd playoff goal at 17:13, tying the game up going into the 2nd Period. Kevin Klein (2nd assist) and Nick Spaling (3rd assist) walked away with the assists.
  • The 2nd Period belonged to Phoenix, with Martin Hanzal gaining his 2nd goal of the playoffs at 3:47.
  • Radim Vrbata would push Phoenix up 3-1 at 7:05 for his 2nd goal of the playoffs.
  • Patric Hornqvist would seal his first goal of the playoffs with a tip-in passed Mike Smith at 11:20 on the power play. Ryan Suter (2nd assist) and Mike Fisher (3rd assist) picked up the assists.
  • Exactly thirty seconds later, Taylor Pyatt pushed the Coyotes up 4-2 for his 3rd goal of the playoffs.
  • Ryan Suter would score early in the 3rd Period (53 seconds) for his first goal of the playoffs. Shea Weber (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (5th assist) nabbed the assists on Suter’s goal.
  • Shane Doan would silence the Predators at 3:36 with a tip-in goal, his second goal of the playoffs.
  • The Predators toned down the shots on goal in Game 2, only sending 33 towards Smith compared to Phoenix’s 39 at Rinne. However, the weaknesses in Nashville’s defense looked like a wide open net to Phoenix, who ate up every mistake the Predators made. Powerplays favored the Predators, however, with Nashville capitalizing on two of four chances. Nashville’s defense stepped up during the penalties, but failed during even play. Trotz’s experimental Josi/Klein line completely buckled under the pressure of the Coyotes, proving Roman Josi and Hal Gill should stick together.
  • As stated above, the Predators gave the Coyotes four powerplay chances, but luckily were unable to nab their chances. Here are the four penalty takers:
  1. Brandon Yip – 12:57 1st Period – Roughing
  2. Shea Weber – 17:07 2nd Period – Boarding
  3. Mike Fisher – 19:50 2nd Period – Roughing
  4. David Legwand – 19:14 3rd Period – Cross Checking

The Phoenix Coyotes are relentless at home and Nashville just wasn’t prepared for the Coyotes to come out swinging after just finishing their Round 1 with the Chicago Blackhawks. It was clear in Game 1 that Nashville was taken aback by the Coyotes’ ferocity, but were completely mauled in Game 2. The Predators head home to Nashville tonight to continue the series, hoping the familiarity of the Bridgestone Arena will bring life back into the struggling team.

What the Predators need to focus on/fix:

  • Miscommunication
  • Frustration/Complete mental breakdown
  • Fallout of the defense
  • Face-off wins
  • Turnovers

Game 3 starts an hour later than usual with the puck dropping at 8PM. Nashville will need to buckle down and work together to climb out of this hole they have dug called ‘Phoenix’ and remember that this isn’t the regular season. With such a prime opportunity to reach the Cup, why start breaking down now?

Until then,
GO PREDS