Preds Knock Avalanche 3-0

Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America

After being knocked from the top spot in the Central Division and losing to Chicago on Saturday night, the Predators headed West for a mini trip while Marvel Universe takes over the Bridgestone Arena for a few days. Truly, Nashville’s powerplay seems to be their only weakness at this point and, while it isn’t the worst of situations, it is still adding insult to injury where Nashville could use some help in dire situations (i.e. game changer). Anyways, this is the first meeting between the Predators and the Avalanche this season and, where normally the Avs are heading the top of the Central Division, this year has been a little different (so far). Colorado is currently in sixth in the Central Division, while Dallas is rounding out the last spot at seven. As I mention in almost ever post that Nashville plays a team struggling with numbers, don’t count them out; the Predators are notorious for getting sleepy during games like these. Colorado also has one of the top penalty kill percentages thus far this season, which probably doesn’t mean much to Nashville as… they are terrible at powerplays to begin with.

First Period:

  • Just 2:23 into the period, rookie sensation Filip Forsberg sends one past Chet Calvin Pickard; Chet’s brother — remember Chet, guys? You know, our first…round…pick… Gabriel Bourque (1) and Seth Jones (6) picked up the assists on Forsberg’s 12th goal of the season.

Second Period:

  • No goals, but Nashville led SOG ten to Colorado’s eight.
  • Nashville was given three powerplay chances in the second, but could capitalize on none of them.

Third Period

  • The last two goals would be empty-netters, with Gabriel Bourque nabbing his first goal of the season at 18:10 with assistance from Mike Ribeiro (15).
  • And James Neal would pick up his tenth goal of the season and the game winner at 19:02. Mike Ribeiro (16) and Filip Forsberg (15) would grab the assist points.

Nashville’s week-long roadtrip has started off on the right foot, with the Predators now at a 18-7-2 record thus far this season. Next stop is in Glendale, Arizona to spend a little time with Martin Erat. This will also be Mike Ribeiro’s first return to Arizona since being let go last season. I’m sure they’ll be excited to see how well he’s been doing with Nashville, right…? Right?

Preds hand Avs Second Loss; Win 6-4

Courtesy: Getty Images

After a tough victory in Hollywood, it was off to the Mile High City to take on the 12-1-0 Colorado Avalanche last night. If you were to go by records alone (and were a betting man), you would’ve undoubtedly placed your money on the Avalanche, for Nashville stood at just 7-5-2 coming into last night’s game. But, hockey tends to fly a little differently than other sports and, even with the best record in the league, you could still meet them on a off-night. Is that what the Predators did or are they finally getting a feel for the ice? Was it the altitude? I’d say, it was mixture of the Predators easing together and the Avs having a bad night, simply because Nashville made some horrendous, rookie-esk moves that should have cost them the game. Likewise, they also made some outstanding plays that helped propel them to the 6-4 win over the Avalanche. Very Predator-like, I’d say. Here are the highlights from last night’s game:

First Period:

  • Viktor Stalberg collected his first goal in gold white at 13:12 with a wrister past Semyon Varlamov. Colin Wilson notched his fifth assist and Mattias Ekholm collected his fourth of the season. Now that he’s finally had his first goal taste, we guesstimate Stalberg will have many more to come.
  • P.A. Parenteau wouldn’t wait long to tie the game, sending a wrister of his own past Carter Hutton at 15:23.
  • Nashville would end the first period on a high as Craig Smith jumped the lead to 2-1 at 19:04, his fourth goal of the season. Colin Wilson picked up his second assist of the night (6th overall) and Ryan Ellis picked up his 2nd assist overall. A few minutes after Parenteau’s goal, Jamie McGinn sent Seth Jones roughly into the boards, causing Gabriel Bourque to wail on him (understandably). Though not deemed a major, McGinn was given a double minor of Charging and Roughing. Craig Smith would capitalize on the powerplay opportunity.
  • Nashville would out-shoot Colorado 10 to 2 in the first period.

Second Period:

  • Ryan O’Reilly (y’all remember Cal, right?) would start the second period in favor of Colorado, tying the game at 2.
  • Paul Gaustad would essentially “Dikembe Mutombo” with a tip-in (3rd goal) assisted by Filip Forsberg (4th assist). It was, essentially, Forsberg’s goal as he shot it directly at the net and probably would’ve gone in (we won’t say 100%) without the slight tough of Gaustad’s stick. No matter to us, a Predators goal is a good goal.

Google images

  • Colin Wilson would collect his first goal of the night – third point of the night – at 6:47 for his second goal of the season. Ryan Ellis (3rd assist) and Roman Josi (first assist) would assist on the play.
  • Colorado would again pull within one with a wrister from Paul Stastny at 13:37 for his fifth goal of the season.
  • The second period would end with Nashville clinging to a 4-3 lead.
  • After the clock had winded down to end the second period, Erik Johnson was thrown a 10-minute misconduct for tossing his broken stick into the stands. Although it was deemed unintentional, as he was actually just tossing it behind him to get rid of it, shards did fly into the crowd. And, as the rulebook states, it’s 10 minutes of bench time.

There’s more to the rule, but you can see the jist of it above. Either way, Johnson’s accident gave Nashville the much needed upper-hand going into the third period.

Third Period:

  • Matt Duchene would tie the game early in third at 4:23 for his tenth goal of the season.
  • Colin Wilson would tally his second goal of the night shortly after at 7:34 with a backhander (3rd goal of the season). Viktor Stalberg would pick up his first assist and David Legwand would notch his 9th overall.

  • Gabriel Bourque would collect his first goal of the season with an empty-netter at 19:42 to seal the game in favor of the Predators. David Legwand collected his 10th assist on that one, too.

Defeating a team that has only lost once this season? Yea, I’d say that’s a huge momentum builder if I’ve ever seen one. At least, I hope so. Also, how about Nashville when it comes to powerplay goals? The Predators started out 0-7 but are now 11-45… that’s third in the entire NHL. Muy bueno, y’all. Also, Carter Hutton, though a little shaky here and there, improves to 4-1-1.

So, who’s next? Nashville flies North to Winnipeg – yes, they are playing Winnipeg again – to carry the momentum through that game on Friday.

Blown Call gives Avs Win over Preds 6-5

Sergei Kostitsyn picks up a goal and an assist in Denver.

Missed us? Last week was a bit hectic and with all of us at the games, it was hard to motivate ourself to hit the blog after a long day. We’ll get to those games later, but right now, let’s discuss the game that went down today in the Mile High City.

With the season being as short as it is, there are going to be a lot of back-to-back games and today’s afternoon set in Denver is just the start of a long two-day stretch for the Predators. The Avalanche have had their share of highs and lows so far, but the last few games have been rough on the Avs, with Colorado losing three of their last four. Needless to say, the Avalanche, playing on without their fearless leader Gabriel Landeskog, were hankering for a win. The Predators, having lost three of the last five games, were sitting in a similar boat.

FIRST PERIOD

  • The Avalanche were quick to strike first, with a wrist shot from Aaron Palushaj at 3:43 for his second goal of the season.
  • The Predators would put the pressure on Semyon Varlamov, but the Avs would capitalize again at 9:30 over Mason on the powerplay, with a slap shot from Tyson Barrie, sending Colorado up 2-0 early in the first.
  • Colorado’s two goals would awaken the Predators at 17:20 with a powerplay wrister from Sergei Kostitsyn, his second goal of the season. Colin Wilson would pick up his seventh assist, along with Craig Smith (2nd assist).
  • The Predators kept the pressure in the Avalanche zone, out-shooting Colorado nine to eight.

SECOND PERIOD

  • The second period would become one for the history books, with outstanding goals and controversial miscalls.
  • Matt Duchene’s goal at 3:18 will forever be one of controversy, though it is clear that the lineman that missed the blatantly obvious offsides. You can see the play here:
  • Even if you don’t understand anything about hockey, you can tell something was wrong here. Even Duchene hesitated before shooting the puck, knowing good and well he was offsides. However, when the whistle was not blown, Duchene took full advantage of the mistake and capitalized with a goal. After the game, the NHL did agree that the offsides call should have been made, but what does it help now?
  • Mike Fisher would put the missed call behind him, sending a wrist shot past Varlamov at 10:16 for his third goal of the season. Shea Weber, who was originally accredited with the goal picked up his third assist and Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his fourth assist of the season.
  • Colorado wouldn’t give Nashville a chance to gain momentum, sending snap shot past Mason at 11:06 from Chuck Kobasew, his first goal of the season.
  • Colin Wilson would battle back at 13:17 with a backhand into the net for his fifth goal of the season. Martin Erat would nab his seventh assist and Jonathon Blum would collect his fourth.
  • Paul Stastny and Jamie McGinn would surprise and embarrass Mason with two goals in less than sixteen seconds of each other, sending the Avs up 6-3 late in the second. Mason was promptly pulled, giving Pekka the reins.
  • With Pekka Rinne in net, the Predators were able to hold the Avs back long enough for Jonathon Blum to nab his first goal of the season with a clean slap shot at 19:10.
  • Colorado got the upper-hand on Nashville in the second, out-shooting the Preds fifteen to twelve.

THIRD PERIOD

  • Unlike the second period, the third period was filled with exhaustion on both sides. Shea Weber would capitalize on a wrist shot, putting the Preds within one (6-5) at 18:42 for his second goal of the season. Mike Fisher (3rd assist) and Patric Hornqvist (4th assist) assisted in the late minute goal.
  • Nashville overpowered the Avalanche in the third, out-shooting them seventeen to five, but it just wasn’t enough to tie the game, giving the Avs a much needed win in regulation.

 

MUSINGS:

  • Patric Hornqvist returned to the lineup after suffering a lower-body injury against the Ducks on January 26th. Apparently, Hornqvist jumped right back in without skipping a beat, picking up an assist on Shea Weber’s goal and took twelve shots on goal.
  • Paul Gaustad suffered an “upper-body” injury in the first period, taking him away from the rest of the game. The Predators took a hit on the face-offs, with Colorado winning 29 of 46 of them. Yikes. Gaustad’s injury remains unknown and his condition is said to be “day-to-day” at this point.
  • Chris Mason got the nod as starter for the game, though it wasn’t exactly the presence he intended to make. Pekka would have to come in during the second period to take over, after Mason allowed two goals in just sixteen seconds.

 

As we mentioned before, the NHL admitted that Duchene’s goal should have been waved as he was offsides, but that does not help the Predators now, who would have eventually tied the game late in the third period, sending the game into overtime, which could have produced an entirely different outcome. But the nothing can be done now. The final score is in the books and, although we are not bitter about it (Duchene did what any player would do), when will the NHL take responsibilty for their linesmen missing such obvious calls?

The Predators head home to face the much missed (NOT) Jordin Tootoo and his Detroit Red Wings tomorrow night at home. Tickets are still available, but expect the 21st consecutive sellout tomorrow night.

Until then,
GO PREDS

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)