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!

Showing some Rust, Preds fall to Blue Jackets 3-2 in SO

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Don’t let the score dishearten you, folks.

Well, let’s first start off with WELCOME BACK TO SMASHVILLE!

For fans all over the NHL world, today – January 19th – might as well had been renamed Christmas Day. NHL hockey official returned and every hockey fan rejoiced, eager to don their favorite jerseys and return to their game day rituals.

In Smashville, tonight was electric. Hungry fans clawing to see their beloved team back on the ice; the past week open practice teasing them to push onward to Saturday. A Plaza Party to kick the festivities off, along with a “Gold Carpet” event with the players revving the fans into utter hockey ecstasy.

On the schedule for the shortened season opener? The Columbus Blue Jackets. Not exactly a formidable opponent in the past, but with the extended offseason, this season could bring forth a team not even on the radar to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. Tonight, Columbus wasn’t going to let a little offseason rust slow them down.

***

It’s been a while since the last post game write-up (too long, NHL & NHLPA), so we’ll give you a quick rundown of how our post game synopsis work. We basically cover the highlights (who scored, who got the assists, who was scratched, who got penalties, etc.). In a sense, we keep it short and simple. New this season, we are adding scores from around the league. You know, just in case you need to keep up with your fantasy team.
Okay, enough chitchat – You’ll see below how we cover the games, so there you go:

KEY POINTS:

  • Though not announced, the scratches for the Predators tonight included Jonathon Blum, Victor Bartley, and Rich Clune.
  • Also not announced was tonight’s starting lineup that included Shea Weber, Sergei Kostitsyn, Mike Fisher, Martin Erat, Roman Josi, and Pekka Rinne.
  • Martin Erat started the game out on fire, sending a wrister past goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky within 39 seconds of puck being dropped. Sergei Kostitsyn and Pekka Rinne picked up the assists on the new Alternate’s first goal of the season. Here’s the video of Erat’s goal:

  • The Predators would continue to hold the Blue Jackets at bay until Columbus snuck in a tying goal on a powerplay from Nick Foligno at 16:08 in the first.
  • Ryan Ellis would put the Predators back on top at 17:55 on a powerplay of his own, with Sergei Kostitsyn picking up his second assist and Patric Hörnqvist picking up his first.
  • Columbus wouldn’t stay behind for long, answering to the Preds at 12:05 in the second period, the tying goal scored by center Artem Anisimov.
  • The third period would produce no goals, sending the game into overtime, giving both teams a point overall. Like the third period, overtime saw no goals, leading the season opener into a shootout.

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

– COLUMBUS – Cam Atkinson – SAVE
– NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
– COLUMBUS – Artem Anisimov – SAVE
– NASHVILLE – Mike Fisher – SAVE
– COLUMBUS – Jack Johnson – GOAL
– NASHVILLE – David Legwand – GOAL
– COLUMBUS – James Wisniewski – SAVE
– NASHVILLE – Ryan Ellis – SAVE
– COLUMBUS – Ryan Johansen – SAVE
– NASHVILLE – Colin Wilson – SAVE
COLUMBUS – Derick Brassard – GOAL
– NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – SAVE

PENALTY SUMMARY:

Brandon Yip – 6:49, 1st Period – Roughing
Scott Hannan – 13:31, 1st Period – Fighting
Martin Erat – 15:14, 1st Period – Slashing
Shea Weber – 9:53, 2nd Period – Fighting
Shea Weber – 9:53, 2nd Period – Roughing
David Legwand – 5:00, OT – Holding

Rusty is a good word to describe both teams (and from what we hear, all the teams in the league, as well) tonight, but Columbus was able to shake those rusted bolts loose just enough to squeak past the Predators to nab the win. Though the Predators don’t leave tonight completely empty handed, we’re sure they aren’t leaving without a nice talking to by Mr. Trotzy, either.

Without a preseason to ease the players back into their routines (and the fact some players are adjusting to new lineups and positions), it was truly anyone’s game tonight, with both teams trying to feel out their new adjustments. Sadly, this is the real deal, not just an exhibition. The Predators will have to recuperate swiftly and adjust accordingly by Monday, as their next opponent swept the Red Wings 6-0 tonight. The Blues are wound up from hibernation and, after tonight’s performance, may want to lay a wallop on the repairing Preds, too.

Attendance: 17,113 (sellout)

Until Monday,
GO PREDS

Check the chalkboard, folks.

Check the chalkboard, folks.

 

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)

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

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)

The Predators Wipe Out Avalanche 4-2

Patric Hornqvist battles against former Predator Shane O'Brien

After a rough game against the L.A. Kings on Tuesday, the Predators needed a jolt on the ice to get the momentum going once again. Although currently 2nd in the Northwest Division and coming off a two-win streak against the Wild, the Avalanche have been a bit iffy this season. However, the Avalanche are not one to sit back and take a beating and Thursday’s game proved to be one with attitude. Here are the highlights from Thursday’s game against the Mile High team:

KEY POINTS:

  • Another night for plenty of healthy scratches, including Colin Wilson. Along with Wilson, the scratch list included Brian McGrattan, Craig Smith, Kevin Klein, and Jack Hillen. Although a healthy scratch, Klein is still suffering from an upper-body injury, but has yet to be placed on the IR.
  • Colorado started the night off with a goal at 1:14 with a wrist shot from Jamie McGinn for his 16th goal of the season.
  • The Predators quickly responded with their own goal at 2:54 with a wrist shot from Mike Fisher for his 20th goal of the season. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter picked up the assists on Fish’s goal.
  • Brandon Yip finished out the 1st Period with a tip-in past Semyon Varlamov at 6:58. After being credited to Roman Josi, it was finally rewarded to Yip for his 2nd goal of the season. Roman Josi and Gabriel Bourque picked up the assists.
  • The Avalanche came out with their pants on fire during the second, but not with shots on goal. In fact, the Predators out-shot Colorado 13 to 9 in the 2nd. Instead, the Avalanche took to throwing elbows and finally, at 19:43, Jordin Tootoo and Cody McLeod dropped the gloves and threw the fists.

    Unfortunately, Toots didn’t fair too well against McLeod, but it did get the crowd stirred up quite a bit. It also got the Predators fired up a bit, too.
  • While at even play with both McLeod and Tootoo taking the fighting penalty, Sergei Kostitsyn sealed his 17th goal of the season with a wrist shot at 19:28. Not only did SK74 put the team up 3-1, he also captured the elusive Goo Goo Goal. Matt Halischuk was the lone assist on SK74’s Goo Goo Goal.
  • The feisty Avalanche would continue to pressure the Predators into the 3rd Period, with Paul Stastny sealing his 17th goal of the season at 4:58.
  • Martin Erat would nail his 16th goal of the season on the empty-netter at 19:16, ending the game in the Predators’ favor 4-2. Paul Gaustad was the lone assist on Erat’s empty-netter.
  • The Predators, although bruised and blooded by the Avalanche, still managed to out-shoot Colorado in every single period, ending the game with 31 shots to Colorado’s 17. Pekka Rinne returned to his usual self after a rough game on Tuesday night, blocking 15 of the 17 shots.
  • Along with plentiful shots on goal, the Predators also managed to stay out of the penalty box more than two times. Colorado gave the Predators four penalty opportunities, none of which were capitalized on. Former Predator, Shane O’Brien found himself in the penalty box twice, once for interference, then for hooking. Here are the two penalty box lovers:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 18:31 2nd Period – Fighting
  2. Mike Fisher – 19:43 2nd Period – Roughing

The Predators have beaten the Avalanche all three times this season and will see Colorado one last time during the season on April 7th in Denver.

The Predators finish up at home on Saturday as the Detroit Red Wings come storming into Nashville at 7PM.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bitter Beginning ends in Unbelievable Comeback for Preds, Win 5-4 over Wild

Matt Halischuk has become a leader amongst the Preds this season.

What a bittersweet way to return from the All-Star Game week-long hiatus! If you missed tonight’s game (or changed the channel during the second period), you missed a win that was definitely in true Predators fashion. The first two periods were sluggish and disappointing for the Predators, but the third period truly heated up for the lazy Preds and hung a nice embarrassment over the heads of the Minnesota Wild, who clearly should have won this game. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • Francis Bouillon and Jerred Smithson were both scratched tonight, still suffering from their upper-body injuries. Brian McGrattan was, of course, the healthy scratch for the night.
  • Both the Predators and the Wild started the game out sluggishly, but unfortunately for the Predators, the Wild woke up at 8:04, with a snap shot from Dany Heatley passed Pekka Rinne.
  • Minnesota would continue to outplay the sleepy Preds with another goal at 12:36, Heatley’s second goal of the night and 17th for the season.
  • The second period had many Preds fans turning the channel, as Cal Clutterbuck nailed a wrist shot passed Peks at 1:29, putting the Wild up 3-0.
  • Matt Halischuk was the first Predator to wake up, realizing their was a hockey game going on at 9:33 with a tip-in, his 12th goal of the season. Halischuk has become a silent, but deadly key player amongst the Predators this season and we expect even more to come as the season continues. Halischuk was assisted by Kevin Klein and Brandon Yip.
  • When Predators fans began to think their team might have a chance, Kyle Brodziak all but wiped that hope from many with a wrist shot just 16 seconds into the third period.
  • When all seemed lost for the Predators, the entire team woke up at 9:22 when the new kid, Brandon Yip sent a wrist shot passed Josh Harding. The goal was put under review for Toronto to check out. Thankfully, the big wigs played in the favor of the Preds and gave Yip his first goal as a Nashville Predator. Yip was assisted by Matt Halischuk and Craig Smith.
  • Patric Hornqvist gave fans hope at 16:39 with a wrist shot, his 15th goal of the season. He was assisted by Sergei Kostitsyn and Shea Weber.
  • Before the Wild announcers could even announce Hornqvist’s goal, Mike Fisher tied the game at 4-4 at 17:00, his 13th goal of the season. Fisher was assisted by Colin Wilson and Martin Erat.
  • Mike Fisher sealed the game (and sending almost ever Predators fan into a frenzy) at a lone wrist shot, his 14th goal of the season.
  • The Predators out-shot the Minnesota Wild 30 to 25, with 12 of their shots taken in the third alone. Although Peks was a little off during the first and second periods, he was able to 21 of 25 shots on goal (not bad from being away for a week).
  • The Predators and the Wild also faced two penalties a piece, but the Wild was the only team able to capitalize on the penalty. Here are the two Preds who sat out in the box:
  1. Shea Weber – 12:15 1st Period – Holding
  2.  Jordin Tootoo – 6:02 2nd Period – Roughing (with Cal Clutterbuck)

Again, terrible first two periods, but outstanding third by the Nashville Predators. But hey, we expect the pesky Preds to make these out-of-nowhere turnarounds every now and then, don’t we? The Predators lucked out against the Wild, who obviously thought they had the win in the bag when they were up 5-2 in the third period. However, the Philadelphia Flyers probably won’t be as oblivious to the Predators comebacks (the Wild really shouldn’t be surprised, either) and hopefully this was the wake-up call the Preds needed before getting back on a winning schedule.

The Predators head to Philadelphia on Thursday and take on the Flyers at 6:00PM.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

Predators overthrow Blackhawks 3-1, Preds now Third in Central Division

Mike Fisher continues his dominance against the Central Division.

The Predators may have just destroyed the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, but that didn’t seem to effect them much when game time rolled around tonight in Chicago as the Predators smashed the Blackhawks 3-1 in regulation. With this win, the Predators are  now third in the Central Division, knocking Chicago down to fourth. Here are the highlights from tonight’s extraordinary win in the Windy City:

KEY POINTS:

  • Brian McGrattan was scratched yet again tonight, along with Francis Bouillon, who did make the trip to Chicago. His travel to Chicago with the team gave hope as to if he would play tonight, but it was nothing but false. A surprise scratch was Jerred Smithson, who is still feeling the effects of his recent upper-body injury. Hopefully, it’s just a precautionary scratch.
  • Craig Smith took Chicago by storm at 11:49 in the first, sending the wrist-shot passed goalie Corey Crawford. Smith’s 11th goal of the season was assisted by Matt Halischuk.
  • Mike Fisher wasted no time after Craig’s goal to seal his own against the Blackhawks at 17:34 with a wrist-shot. Patric Hornqvist was Fisher’s only assistant on his 12th goal of the season.
  • The second period was relatively quiet compared to the first, with neither team scoring, despite five power play opportunities between both teams. However, new kid Brandon Yip has proven himself physically as he took on Steve Montador during this period. At first, it looks as if the two are just hugging, but Yip throws some damaging punches, clearly the victor in this fight. Here’s the video:
  • Chicago would finally get the ball rolling at 7:20 of the 3rd period, Dave Bolland with a slap shot that narrowly slipped passed Pekka Rinne on the power play.
  • Colin Wilson would capitalize on the empty net at 19:47, his 10th goal of the season. He was assisted by David Legwand and Ryan Suter.
  • Not many shots were taken throughout this game, with only 26 from the Predators and 25 from the Blackhawks. Despite this, Pekka Rinne had his share of action tonight, with most of the play in the Predators zone. Pekka was remarkable as ever, enough for him to take the lead in this NHL 2012 Vezina Trophy poll:

Yes, it's in Finnish, but that doesn't mean anything!

  •  The Predators started showing some fatigue after the first period, a sure sign that they played the night before. However, although Chicago did put pressure on the Predators, it just wasn’t enough to sidetrack them from wanting the third position in the Central Division. The Predators gave up several penalty kills to Chicago, 5 to be exact, and the Blackhawks were able to use one to their advantage. Luckily for the Predators, Pekka and the defense avoided more than just one power play goal. Here are the four penalty offenders:
  1. Mike Fisher – 1:17 2nd Period – Tripping
  2. Brandon Yip – 13:12 2nd Period – Fighting
  3. Mike Fisher – 6:53 3rd Period – Delaying Game – Puck over Glass
  4. Martin Erat – 8:41 3rd Period – Hi-Sticking
  5. Shea Weber – 15:17 3rd Period – Too many men/ice
The Predators will take on the Minnesota Wild next Tuesday in Minnesota, but before then, Shea, Craig, and Ryan will participate in the All-Star Game this weekend, with events starting this Thursday night.
Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Predators blast the Blackhawks 5-2

The Predators with their first win over the Blackhawks this season.

The Predators welcomed Central Division rival (for the first time this season) the Chicago Blackhawks into Smashville tonight before a sold-out crowd, the 15th for the Predators. Although the crowd was about 55% Preds fans, 45% Blackhawks fans, the Predators didn’t seemed too phased by the large amount of red throughout the arena. With Chicago being 4th in the league (3rd in the division) and the Predators being 8th (4th in the division), a win over Chicago would be a huge boost for the Predators. And, in true Predators form, Nashville whipped the Blackhawks 5-2 in regulation. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • A surprising scratch tonight was Matt Halischuk, who was given the night off for new kid Brandon Yip to hit the ice for the first time as a Predator. Brian McGrattan was also scratched for the night and, as expected, Ryan Suter is still out due to an upper-body injury.
  • Marián Hossa gained the first goal of the night, putting Chicago up over the Predators at 15:05 with a nice backhand shot. However, the Predators fans didn’t have to wait long for the home team to respond…
  • At 17:19, Craig Smith chipped a nice wrist shot passed Corey Crawford on the power play, his 10th goal of the season. He was assisted by both Ryan Ellis and Sergei Kostitsyn. There’s a good reason why Nashville is 2nd in the league on the power play.
  • Kevin Klein wasted hardly any time during the second period, sending the Predators up 2-1 with a wrist shot. He was assisted by both David Legwand and Gabriel Bourque and this is his 3rd goal of the season.
  • The Predators continued to dominate in the second period, with a wrist shot goal from Colin Wilson at 11:14, his 9th goal of the season. He was assisted by David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist.
  • Sergei Kostitsyn, who was denied a goal earlier in the game, finished up the second period with a wrist shot at 16:03. This was SK74’s 12th goal of the season and has a 27.3% shooting percentage. Also, a side fun fact, Sergei is the only player this season to score two Frosty goals. He was assisted by Mike Fisher and Martin Erat.
  • Marián Hossa scored his second goal of the game (20th for the season) at just 48 seconds into the 3rd period, making Preds fans wonder if the Blackhawks would try to redeem themselves in the third.
  • However, Patric Hornqvist renewed faith with a nice slap shot at 3:08, his 13th goal of the season. It looked like at first Kevin Klein had sealed the goal, which would have made for his first multi-goal in a game. However, after it was rewarded to Klein, it was soon given to Hornqvist. Maybe next time, Klein!
  • The Predators out-shot the Blackhawks by only one shot, 23 to 22 and Pekka Rinne was able to block all but two. After allowing four goals, Corey Crawford was pulled and replaced by Ray Emery (Yea, he played for Anaheim last season…). Emery blocked four of five shots during the third, but it just wasn’t enough to save the Blackhawks in Smashville.
  • There weren’t many penalties during this game, with the Predators only giving the Blackhawks one power play chance. The Blackhawks, however, gave the Predators two chances, one of which the Predators capitalized on. Here is our one Predator who faced the penalty box:
  1. Jack Hillen – 14:08 3rd Period – Roughing
  • Francis Bouillon was injured during the first period and left the ice for the remainder of the game. According to Head Coach Barry Trotz, Bouillon’s injury does not look serious, but there’s no way of truly telling. We are hoping this upper-body injury does not involve a concussion again. There is a good chance someone will be called up from Milwaukee due to Bouillon’s injury, and it could possibly be Jonathon Blum. Time will tell.

With this win over the Chicago Blackhawks, the Predators are now 9-2-2 against the Central Division and are now 28-16-4 on the season. The Predators have Sunday off, but welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets into Nashville on Monday night. The Predators will then take on Chicago once again on Tuesday night in Chicago.

Thanks for coming down, Chicago! We’ll see you Tuesday!

Until then,
GO PREDS.

Predators Shutout Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0

Pekka Rinne continues to dominate against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Predators finished up their short, three-game road trip last night against division rivals the Columbus Blue Jackets. Okay, using the word “rivals” is being overly nice, considering the Predators have won four games against them and only lost one 4-3 in overtime. Needless to say, both the Predators and the fans were expecting a nice recovery win after being shutout 3-0 against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. Pekka Rinne and the Predators answered that loss with a shutout of their own, denying the Columbus Blue Jackets any goal 3-0. Interestingly enough, although the Blue Jackets are last in the league, Columbus was the only team left that had yet to have a shutout all season. Welp, that ending last night. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in O-HI-O:

KEY POINTS:

  • Ryan Suter was missing from action once again last night due to his upper-body injury. Although still unnamed, coach Barry Trotz did say it was not his head, so no concussions for number 20. Good news for Jerred Smithson, as he was released off the IR last night just in time to play against the Blue Jackets. Brian McGrattan was scratched along with the new kid from Denver, Brandon Yip.
  • With the news of Smithson’s release off the IR, news of a new Right Wing that was picked up off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche began to circulate. Brandon Yip was drafted 8th in the 2004 Draft by the Avalanche and has recently recovered from groin and arm injuries he sustained during the season, keeping him from major ice time. Most would say this could put the Predators in a sticky situation, but then again, same was said when the Predators picked up SK74 also…
  • Neither team was able to collect any goals during the first period, but Martin Erat was finally able in the second to give the Predators the advantage at 11:08. He and Sergei Kostitsyn completed a nice 2-on-1 to collect the goal. This was Marty’s 11th goal for the season.
  • Mike Fisher wasted no time grabbing his 9th goal of the season at 13:11 with assistance from Martin Erat and Roman Josi on the power play.
  • Shea Weber and his sniper shot from 160 feet away to the empty net sealed the game in the Predators favor at 19:28. Jerred Smithson and Kevin Klein helped set up the impressive shot. This was Weber’s 10th goal of the season.
  • Pekka Rinne was the much deserving 1st Star of the Night last night with his incredible 38 saves, including quite a few inhuman moves to block the net. After resting against the Rangers, Peks definitely proved he was rested up against the ever-competitive Central Division. This win over the Blue Jackets was Pekka’s 120th win of his career.
  • The Predators may have won 3-0, but they were out-shot 38 to 25. The Predators also gave the Columbus Blue Jackets more power play chances, but the Blue Jackets were unable to capitalize from any of them. Here are the three guys who took the penalties:
  1. Nick Spaling – 7:34 2nd Period – Tripping
  2. Francis Bouillon – 3:53 3rd Period – Hooking
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 18:43 3rd Period – Slashing

The Predators are still 4th in the Central Division, but are now 27-16-4 on the season and are 9th overall in the league. The Predators welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to Nashville tomorrow night, who are currently in 3rd in the division. As you might assume, the Predators are clawing their way to the top to topple the Detroit Red Wings, who are currently on a five-game winning streak.

The Predators and the Blackhawks drop the puck at 7PM tomorrow night. Don’t forget: If you normally purchase the $10 tickets at the box office on Saturday mornings, they have changed the way you can get tickets now. To sway the sell of tickets to scalpers, the Predators are now “raffling” the 100 $10 to fans who get to the box office 30 minutes before tickets go on sale. Hopefully this will work out well in the favor of the fans.

Until then,
GO PREDS.