2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Review

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Columbus, Ohio was the place to be this weekend has the city hosted the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. As you know, Nashville was chosen as the host city for the 2016 ASG Weekend, which will be an event on its own. But until then, let’s recap the fun that happened this weekend in Columbus… Oh, and for the sake of keeping this post from being ninety pages long, we’ll stick to Nashville’s accomplishments:

Team Foligno:

  • Nick Foligno – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Brian Elliot – St. Louis Blues
  • Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Kevin Shattenkirk – St. Louis Blues
  • Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg Jets
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Arizona Coyotes
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton Oilers
  • Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Anze Kopitar – L.A. Kings
  • Radim Vrabata – Vancouver Canucks
  • Ryan Johansen – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Zemgus Girgensons – Buffalo Sabres
  • Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
  • Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Coaching Staff: Darryl Sutter – L.A. Kings

Team Toews:

  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Roberto Luongo – Florida Panthers
  • Jaroslav Halak – New York Islanders
  • Aaron Ekblad – Florida Panthers
  • Mark Giordano – Calgary Flames
  • Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Brent Seabrook – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
  • Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
  • Patrik Elias – New Jersey Devils
  • Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
  • Rick Nash – New York Rangers
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Jakub Vorachek – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Coaching Staff – Peter Laviolette – Nashville Predators

As you recall, Pekka Rinne was not included in the All-Star “draft” due to sustaining a knee sprain. Because Filip Forsberg was chosen last for Team Toews, he was the lucky winner of a brand new Honda Accord. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also won a new Honda, as he was chosen last for Team Foligno.

Source: @NHL

Source: @NHL

Saturday – Skills Competition – Winner: Team Foligno

Despite a good show by Team Toews, it was Team Foligno who reigned in the Skills Competition held on Saturday evening. Both Weber and Forsberg participated in the relay and shootout, but it was Weber who shined – not surprisingly – during the Hardest Shot round.

Shea originally missed his first shot, but more than nailed his second attempt, clocking his shot at 108.5 MPH. Weber certainly won the competition, but missed notching the hardest shot ever recorded, which is held by Zdeno Chara at 108.8 MPH. Forsberg shined in the relay portion, showing off his crazy insane puck-handling skills.

Sunday – All-Star Game – Winner: Team Toews

Though the fell short in the Skills Competition, Team Toews out-powered Team Foligno by a long shot during the actual All-Star Game, winning 17-12. And, believe it or not, though the All-Star Game tends to always have a ton of goals, this was the highest scoring game in its history. Filip Forsberg’s two goals helped get Team Toews to the win, the first goals scored by a Nashville Predator in an All-Star Game. Shea Weber also notched an assist off of Tyler Seguin’s goal.

From the World Wide World of Twitter:

So that’s a wrap on the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. Next Stop: Nashville! But before then, the Predators must press forward with the remainder of this season and push into the playoffs. Pekka Rinne should also be re-evaluated soon, along with Ryan Ellis. The Predators return to the regular season this Tuesday as they welcome in the Colorado Avalanche at 7PM.

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.

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 7.07.01 PM

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

Preds Win second straight SO; Rout Kings 4-3

Source: Brooks Bratten Twitter - @brooksbratten

Source: Brooks Bratten Twitter – @brooksbratten

I dare you not to stare at the photo of Shea Weber above for more than three seconds; he looks so delighted. And rightfully so as Nashville knocked the defending Stanley Cup Champions (L.A. Kings) in a shootout last night 4-3. Oh yea, and there are some other reasons why Shea might be a little giddy this morning, but we’ll cover that in the highlights of last night’s game:

First Period:

  • Nashville lit the lamp at 6:24 to get the ball rolling; Craig Smith’s seventh goal of the season. Colin Wilson (5) and Anton Volchenkov (3) pursued the assists on Smith’s goal.
  • The Kings were quick to put their name on the board, tying it at 11:32 with a goal from Jamie McBain (his first of the season – you’re welcome).
  • Though both even on the scoreboard, Nashville would send twelve shots-on-goal compared to L.A.’s seven.

Second Period:

  • Marian Gaborik would give L.A. the lead at just 1:01 into the second, his fourth goal of the season.
  • It would take a little over seventeen minutes later for Nashville to retaliate with a goal from Ryan Ellis (2). Colin Wilson would pick up his second assist of the night (6) and Craig Smith would collect his first of the night (6). Oh yea, and the first of one of these of the season:
    CATFISH
  • Not even a minute later, Eric Nystrom would tip one in from Taylor Beck (3) and give Nashville a 3-2 lead late in the second. Shea Weber also picked up an assist on Nystrom’s goal, his seventh of the season and – remember when I said he’d have another reason to be happy? – is now the franchise defenseman leader in assists with 223.

Third Period:

  • Just 38 seconds into the third period, Drew Doughty would sink a clean goal through Pekka Rinne’s five-hole, tying the game.
  • Though Nashville did everything right to push back into the lead (with a number of nail-biting dings off the post and floating pucks), Martin Jones kept his composure and helped send the game into overtime.

Overtime:

  • It was clear Nashville was in control during overtime, out-shooting the Kings four to one and keeping Jones on his toes. Unfortunately, no goals were tallied in overtime, thus throwing Nashville into its second-straight shootout.

Shootout:

  • NSH – Derek Roy – MISS
  • LAK – Jeff Carter – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – MISS
  • LAK – Marian Gaborik – MISS
  • NSH – Ryan Ellis – MISS
  • LAK – Anze Kopitar – MISS
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • LAK – Tyler Toffoli – MISS
  • NSH – Roman Josi – MISS
  • LAK – Jarret Stoll – MISS
  • NSH – James Neal – GOAL
  • LAK – Dwight King – MISS

Phew! For a second there, I thought we were going to have to go through the entire roster and then some! Both goaltenders, Rine and Jones, were on point and one was going to have to budge sooner or later. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, it was Martin Jones who cracked first, a kid who only moved up into the NHL from a stint in the AHL last season. However, the kid is good – when others would flinch under the sight of a Shea Weber cannon, Jones stood tall. With this SO win (and St. Louis’ loss in a shootout against the Senators), the Predators are back atop the Central Division, but St. Louis is still biting Nashville’s heels. The Predators are back in action tomorrow night for a Turkey Day throw-down with our friends from the North, the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers, who have lost their last five games and are sitting dead at the bottom of the Pacific Division, will be another possible “Florida Panthers scenario” if the Preds don’t mind their p’s and q’s. By assuming Nashville will overpower and kick the Oilers to the curb is as inaccurate as they come. The Oilers are due and win and punting Nashville on an American holiday is just what the doctor ordered.

Late Goal gives Preds Win over Kings 4-3

Courtesy: Getty Images

Game 2 of the longest road-trip in Predators history and, after coming up short in Phoenix, Nashville would need to slip around the 9-5-0 L.A. Kings to keep the coal burning. The second meeting between the pair, the Kings visited the Music City back on October 17th and left with a win in a shootout, 2-1. So it was now Nashville’s turn to come into the Kings’ home and steal a victory, yes? Jump on down to the highlights:

First Period:

  • David Legwand, who apparently wants to show who’s boss here lately, collected his third goal of the season at 11:15 on the powerplay. Seth Jones picked up his 5th assist, along with Patric Hornqvist collecting his fourth.
  • Shea Weber wouldn’t be quieted for long, scoring his own powerplay goal at 19:06 with Patric Hornqvist notching his fifth assist and Mike Fisher picking up his fifth as well.
  • The Kings were going down without a fight first, with Anze Kopitar sinking a wrister past Carter Hutton just 20 seconds after Weber’s goal.
  • The Kings would out-shoot Nashville 16 to 9, so give Carter Hutton some credit that only one was able to get passed him.
  • Rich Clune, after being scratched numerous times, returned in time to receive a 10-minute misconduct due to fighting and instigating Daniel Carcillo. Don’t get upset if you see Clune scratched again in the near future; it happens when you’re an enforcer.

Second Period:

  • Eric Nystrom would being the lone star in the second period with a snap shot past Jonathan Quick at 8:41 for his fourth goal of the season. You want to talk about someone who has shown his worth after being picked up during the off season. Patric Horqnvist would continue his helpfulness with an assist, his sixth of the season and third of the game.
  • Mike Fisher left the game during the second period after sustaining a lower-body injury. He did not return for the remainder of the game.

Third Period:

  • And here’s where L.A. would come roaring back like the lions they are. Dustin Brown would collect a sneaky tip-in at 9:41 for his third of the season, putting the Kings back by one.
  • Mike Richards would then tie the game at 11:18 with a powerplay goal from a Ryan Ellis penalty. At this point, the game looked like a flashback from the Phoenix game.
  • At 16:04, David Legwand would swoop in and seal the game in Nashville’s favor with a wrister, his second goal of the night & fourth overall. Mattias Ekholm would pick up the assist (3rd assist).
  • In a game similar to the one before it, Nashville slipped out of Hollywood with the win, thanks to David Legwand. Now, we know it takes a team to collect a win, but give a hand to Mr. Legwand; he started the game and ended it.
  • The Predators are now off to the Mile High City to take on the Colorado Avalanche for the second time this season. The first match up left the Predators with a loss of 3-1… let’s hope for better this Wednesday.

SCRATCHES FOR NASHVILLE:
Victor Bartley
Gabriel Bourque
Matt Hendricks

Preds Fall to Kings in SO, 2-1

pekkarinne

The Predators had arguably the best game performance of the season Thursday night, despite falling short in the shootout against the L.A. Kings. To keep this short and sweet since WordPress finally wants to work & because this game was three days ago, we’ll jump straight to the highlights:

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Matt Cullen would notch his first goal as a Predator at 10:33 with wrister past Jonathan Quick. Craig Smith (4th assist) and Gabriel Bourque (2nd assist) would gain the assists on Cullen’s first goal.
  • Just before the end of the period, L.A. would tie the game with a wrister from Slava Voynov at 19:18, his second goal of the season.

SECOND, THIRD & OVERTIME PERIODS:

  • Neither teams would be able to capitalize on the many penalties tallied in the second, third & overtime periods. Jonathan Quick would lose his helmet a few times, causing some understandable frustration in both the Preds and fans.

SHOOTOUT:
Craig Smith – MISS
Mike Richards – MISS
Filip Forsberg – MISS
Jeff Carter – MISS
Matt Cullen – MISS
Anze Kopitar – GOAL

Nashville came away victorious in the shots-on-goal area, notching 35 over L.A.’s 30. Nashville’s penalty kill has been on the up-and-up, which has always been a weak spot for them. The Predators end their home stance 3-3-1.

L.A. Kings take advantage in 3rd, Predators fall 4-2

Kevin Klein returns to the lineup on Saturday to take on the L.A. Kings

The Predators left San Jose with a shootout loss against the Sharks and came into Los Angeles, hoping to knock out the Kings, who are currently sitting in fourth place in the Pacific Division. Unfortunately for the Predators, like the Sharks, the Kings are desperate and hungry for a playoff spot. With Colorado, San Jose, and L.A. all bouncing around the last playoff spot, the Predators would have to come out strong and physical against the Kings to knock them down a notch. However, the Kings weren’t backing down. Here are the highlights from Saturday night’s game in Los Angeles:

KEY POINTS:

  • As expected, Kevin Klein returned to the lineup after sitting on the scratched list for a few weeks due to an upper body injury. Colin Wilson, Roman Josi, Brian McGrattan, Jack Maclellan, and (unfortunately) Paul Gaustad rounded out the scratched list.
  • The Kings took a bite out the Predators at 7:53 in the first with a snap shot past Pekka Rinne from Anze Kopitar (his 23rd goal of the season). Kopitar’s goal would be the only goal during the 1st Period, with L.A. cranking out 10 shots on goal and Nashville only taking 5.
  • The Predators would tie it at one with a power play goal from Martin Erat at 13:43 in the 2nd for his 18th goal of the season. Marty’s slap shot past Jonathan Bernier was assisted by Ryan Suter (35th assist) and Shea Weber (28th assist).
  • The Kings came out on fire during the 3rd Period, pressuring Pekka and the net with three goals at 8:04, 13:02, and 16:19. L.A.’s first goal was a tip-in by Dustin Penner for his 6th goal of the season. The second goal was snared by Dwight King, his 4th goal of the season. The third goal was sealed by Kyle Clifford for his 5th goal of the season.
  • Mike Fisher would attempt to regain composure for the Predators at 17:18 with a backhanded goal for his 22nd goal of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to derail the Kings’ momentum. Fisher’s goal was assisted by Kevin Klein (12th assist) and Martin Erat (37th assist).
  • Pekka Rinne took a beating Saturday night, although he did block 23 of 27 shots taken at him and the net. It was cracks in the Predators defense that the Kings took advantage of, knocking the Nashville team on their butts during the third period. The Predators were able to snag a power play goal and managed to stay away from the penalty box, minus three times. Here are the three culprits:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 15:01 2nd Period – Interference
  2. Jack Hillen – 2:02 3rd Period – Hi-Sticking
  3. Brandon Yip – 18:21 3rd Period – Holding

It was clear the Predators did not expect the L.A. Kings to come tearing onto the ice as maniacally as they did during the third period, thus resulting in the 4-2 loss in regulation. The Predators have no time to sulk in misery, though; They will cross the street (basically) into Anaheim to face the Ducks on Sunday. The Predators have muscled-over the Ducks all season, so a final win would boost the team as they return to Nashville on Tuesday. After a nasty loss like tonight, the Predators will have to put forth an effort that, although the Ducks aren’t contenders, they can’t be overlooked.

The puck drops in Anaheim at 7PM.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit of: Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)