Nashville Knocks Dallas 3-2

Source: Shannon Byrne/Pinterest

After suffering a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday night, Nashville cut their losses and headed South to Dallas to take on the Stars.

First Period:
– No goals for either side, but plenty of shots as Nashville takes eleven and Dallas takes ten.

Second Period:
– Craig Smith struck gold first at 4:10 with a PPG, his fifth goal of the season. Derek Roy (6) and Ryan Ellis (6) picked up the assists.
– Filip Forsberg would capitalize on his own PPG at 13:57, also for his fifth of the season. Roman Josi (3) and Mattias Ekholm (4) nab the assists on Forsberg’s goal.
– Trevor Daley would put Dallas on the board at 16:26, ending the second period 2-1 in favor of Nashville.

Third Period:
– Patrick Eaves would tie it up at 7:23 in the third, his second goal of the season.
– However, Matt Cullen would sink the game winning goal at 13:47 for his first goal of the season. Derek Roy (7) and Mattias Ekholm (5) collect the assists.

The Predators have one last stop in St. Louis before heading back to Nashville to face the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. This will be the first meeting of the season with Division rival St. Louis, who are currently 9-3-1 on the season. If Nashville beats the Blues in regulation, they will return to the top of the Central Division. No pressure.

Preds Outrival Stars 4-1

Image Source: Zimbio.com

Image Source: Zimbio.com

The Predators continued their home stand last night by rolling out the carpet to divisional rival, the Dallas Stars. During the off-season, Nashville and its citizens were given a new reason to despise our neighbors to the West, due in part to a little nah-saying from a new member of the Stars, Jason Spezza. The Center made it verbally clear before being traded from the Ottawa Senators that he would not want to come to Nashville and join the Predators. Welp, I sure hope you don’t need that bridge one day, Mr. Spezza, as you not only lit the match, you torched the entire viaduct. Good job.

Anywho – enough about that guy – after slipping past the Senators Thursday with a win, how would Nashville fair against a tougher opponent with Dallas? Smoke ’em, that’s what. Here are the highlights:

Scratches: Rich Clune & Victor Bartley
Starting Lineup: Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Eric Nystrom, Paul Gaustad (A), Taylor Beck, Pekka Rinne

First Period:
– The Stars took control early in the first with a goal from Antoine Roussel at 7:14.
– Gaustad would drop the gloves with former Predator, Vernon Fiddler at 11:37
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Second Period:
– With less than one minute left in the second period, the Captain would notch his second goal of the season at 19:19 to tie the game at 1. Filip Forsberg (3) and Derek Roy (2) would collect the assists on Weber’s goal.

Third Period:
– Just like on Thursday, the third period would be Nashville’s waking point, with Paul Gaustad sinking his first goal of the season at 8:33. Taylor Beck (1) and Eric Nystrom (1) would pick up the assists.
– After collecting an assist, Eric Nystrom would go a step further and pick up a goal at 9:54, his second of the season. Gaustad (3) would nab the assist.
– Roman Josi would finish the beating with an empty-netter at 19:57 for his first goal of the season, with Eric Nystrom (2) collecting another assist and Shea Weber (1) picking up his first of the night and season.

Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star – Paul Gaustad
2nd Star – Eric Nystrom
3rd Star – Shea Weber

The Predators wrap up their first home stand Tuesday night as they welcome in the Calgary Flames.

Preds take Home Opener over Senators 3-2

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Happy Friday, everyone and boy, doesn’t it feel good to officially have hockey back in the Athens of the South? The Preds made sure you were awake last night as the narrowed passed the Ottawa Senators for a 3-2 victory in their Home Opener. So, without further ado, here is your recap from last night’s nail-biter:

Scratches/IR: Victor Bartley, Taylor Beck, Mike Fisher (IR), Matt Cullen (IR), Viktor Stalberg (IR).

Notes before the Game: Has everyone seen the awesome opening video/projector-on-ice show that the Preds outdid themselves with last night? If you haven’t, we have the YouTube link below, but if you want to see this in person, you better have or find tickets to Saturday’s game against Dallas. Jump to the 2:00 minute mark to see the projector show in action — special thanks to Jeremy K. Gover for the video.

y5XBNDPardon my language but… that was pretty. damn. cool. Again, if you missed it last night, be there tomorrow night.

First Period:
No goals with Nashville out-shooting Ottawa 13 to 9.

Second Period:
Ottawa would strike first on the board at 1:15 into the 2nd Period with goal from Kyle Turris. The Senators would hold Nashville at bay through the remainder of the second period.
Nashville would remain on top of Ottawa in terms of shots, taking 10 to Ottawa’s five.
In an “old habits die hard” moment, David Legwand – who spent an eon with the Predators and was their first ever draft pick – headed to the wrong penalty box after tripping Seth Jones. .Gif courtesy of the fine folks over at On The Forecheck.
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Third Period A.K.A. Wakey-Wakey Time:
Thanks to a penalty from Jared Cowen at 19:41 in the second period, Nashville started the third period out with a lovely power play, which Craig Smith took advantage of for his first goal of the season. Smith was assisted by Filip Forsberg (1) and Derek Roy (1).
Less than seven minutes later, Shea Weber would give the Predators a 2-1 with a wrap around goal with some assistance from Ryan Ellis (1) and Paul Gaustad (1).
Not to be outdone, Eric Nystrom would answer at 10:20 with his first goal of the season, pushing Nashville up 3-1 with assistance from Paul Gaustad (2) and Filip Forsberg (2).
However, the Senators weren’t snoozing through the third. Ottawa’s Alex Chiasson would sink one past Pekka Rinne to put the Senators within one with a little under six minutes to go in regulation.

Even with Craig Smith taking a hooking penalty with less than two minutes left in regulation (and Leggy taking a holding call with under a minute left), the Predators whipped back and held the Senators at bay to win their first game of the season.

Three Stars of the Game:
First Star: Shea Weber
Second Star: Filip Forsberg
Third Star: Paul Gaustad

So, needless to say, Nashville started out on the right foot yesterday, though there definitely were some bumps in the road that need to be looked at and addressed. The Predators are back tomorrow at 7PM to take on division rivals, the Dallas Stars.

Seek Change or Bent on Tradition: Nashville’s Fan Base

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Though the odds were slim (miniscule, even), coming into last night’s game against Dallas, Nashville still had a shot at squeezing into a playoff spot. And, in a fashion fit for a Hallmark movie, the deciding factor came down to a shootout; an area Nashville has struggled with this season and in the past. The Predators, in order to keep that playoff hope alive, needed the full two-points of a win over the Dallas Stars. Did last night’s game have a happy ending?

No.

Gabriel Bourque’s two goals kept the game tied to send it into overtime and inevitably into a shootout; Roman Josi’s shootout goal pushed Nashville to another round, but it was with the leadership of Captain Jamie Benn that snuffed the light on Nashville’s playoff hopes; and possibly a few positions as well.

No one likes missing the playoffs and, every season that is cut short, doesn’t mean heads should roll as a consequence. But for Nashville, struggle to make it to the playoffs, let alone contend, has been a multi-year occurrence. It may finally be time to put the focus on the coaching staff and their guidance. Now, before you accuse me of hating on Barry Trotz, let’s get this straight: Barry Trotz is an amazing leader on and off the ice. As Patten Fuqua so nicely put it:
https://twitter.com/smashville/status/453909920945950720

The same goes for David Poile. Some times, it’s just better to take a step back, re-evaluate the situation, and move on. Both Trotz and Poile have been at the helm of the Nashville Predators organization for fifteen years, but when you continuously hit a rut every season in just about the same area (i.e. no playoffs – second round), it’s time to make changes (and not necessarily on the player-front). Though committed wholly to this organization, many players have begun expressing their frustration; some have even asked to be traded. Will we see players ask to be traded over this upcoming off-season? Maybe, maybe not, but we wouldn’t blame them.

It’s easy for fans to turn on each other at this point; you have two dividing sides: Those seeking a major change and those bent on tradition.
Neither side is more of a “loyal fan” than the other, but at times, it gets down right vicious. But honestly, what doesn’t tempt vicious behavior on Social Media?
Everyone’s opinion is different and everyone’s view on how the team and organization can benefit varies, but let’s be honest here: Nothing proceeds without change. The game is changing and the Predators need reflect those changes before the organization winds up somewhere in Canada. I’m not saying the Predators need to throw everything out and start from scratch, but some hard-hitting decisions and changes need to be made and first and foremost is to re-evaluate the coaching staff.

So what if Trotz and Poile are booted in the off-season? Does that mean Nashville will be in the Stanley Cup finals during the 2014-15 season? No, not it doesn’t (though that’d be pretty nice). What it does mean, however, is that the organization has taken responsibility for its continuous issues and has taken what it thinks are the necessary steps in order to push forward. It also shows that the organization realizes that relying solely on a goaltender and putting the blame on his absence is complete nonsense and asinine. Mind you, the team won 27 games without Rinne, so please, put that ideology to rest, will ya?

I could dive into the details, the stats, what have you regarding why the Predators need a major change, but I will leave that to the other bloggers (they have a little bit more time and resources than I do). I can see both sides of the fan base debate, but the point of this post is to get both sides thinking. Do you want to see this organization prosper? Do you want the team you canonize to hoist the Stanley Cup? Then take a step back, re-evaluate your perspective, and allow some sort of change to happen.

Western Conference Standings Update

I hope that photographer didn’t like that camera.

The standings are in from the last games of March, riding on the heels of the last month of regular season hockey. And, from the looks of it, Nashville is going to be fighting all the way through the month of April. Here is a snapshot from NHL.com of the current standings going into April:

Image Source: NHL.com

Image Source: NHL.com

The last post was written before all the games were over today, thus the standings are a tad bit different if you read it or have read it. With Columbus’s win over Anaheim, the Blue Jackets buzz past Nashville, Edmonton, and Dallas to take the elusive 8th spot, knocking St. Louis into 9th. Nashville is now in 12th of 15, just two points behind Columbus. But Dallas, Edmonton, and St. Louis stand in their way, all of who are fighting for that last playoff spot as well.

Check out the post below about what all Nashville faces going into the month of April. By the looks of tonight’s outcomes, it’s looking like it’s going to be an even rougher final month of hockey.

 

The OT Champs: Preds comeback against Stars 5-4

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Overtime seems to be the way of the world for the Nashville Predators this season. The NHL season is just barely a month old and the Predators have already seen ten overtime periods (and six shootouts) in just twenty games. I am no math wizard, but anyone can do the equation on that one. I remember getting excited when games would go into overtime and it was a treat to see a shootout; now, it’s just part of the normal routine as a Nashville Predators fan.

But what about the team? Do they enjoy the uncertainty of overtime and/or shootout? You can’t say it’s for the worst – overtime and shootouts, no matter the outcome, get both teams at least one point, which is better than nothing with a loss in regulation. But with only four regulation wins out of twenty games, is Nashville banking on non-regulation points to power them into the playoffs and does said technique even work during that critical time period?

Monday night’s game of high blood pressure. The tension was high from the get-go with Nashville opting for “God Bless America” over the traditional national anthem (Stars fans tend to get a little rowdy during particular points in the song). After defeating the San Jose Sharks three to one on Saturday night, Dallas was flying high as they entered Music City. Nashville, on the other hand, were a bit bruised and beaten after suffering two shutouts back-to-back against Vancouver on Friday and Detroit on Saturday. Would the Stars’ momentum power them past the ailing Predators? Here are the highlights from last night’s game:

FIRST PERIOD

  • The first period remained relatively quiet, with both teams taking their share of shots at their respective nets. The Predators did manage to out-shoot Dallas eight to six at the end of the period.
  • Craig Smith relieved fans from the possibility of a shutout at 13:43 of the first period with a snap shot passed Cristopher Nilstrop for his second goal of the season. Rich Clune picked up his first assist of the season and Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his sixth.

SECOND PERIOD

  • Apparently something snapped between the two teams during the first intermission, for the second period turned the tides on a new game. Dallas wasted no time tying the game at 1:20 into the 2nd period with a slap shot past Rinne by Matt Fraser for his first NHL career goal.
  • Fifteen seconds later, Reilly Smith would pick up his third goal of the season with a tip-in goal, nudging the Stars over the Predators 2-1.
  • Roman Josi would collect his second goal of the season at 3:05 with a slap shot assisted by David Legwand (4th assist) and Patric Hornqvist (5th assist).
  • Mike Fisher would pick up a double minor for a high-sticking penalty at 7:29, giving former Pred, Vernon Fiddler his first goal of the season with a slap shot, thus beginning the onslaught of tension between the teams.
  • Brandon Yip and Eric Nystrom would drop the gloves at 11:45. Yippers isn’t one to back down from a fight, but he isn’t the first to start a scrum, either. Here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it:
  • Loui Eriksson would push the Stars up 4 to 2 with a powerplay tip-in past Pekka Rinne at 9:21 for his fifth goal of the season.
  • Mike Fisher and Vernon Fiddler would jabber back and forth, a typical trait of Fiddler that works very well against his opponents. It wasn’t until after Shea Weber was high-sticked in the face (and would eventually need stitches) that things started to turn in favor of Nashville. It’s amazing what an Angry Shea will do to motivate a team.
  • Patric Horqnvist would rally back for the Predators at 13:43 with a powerplay backhander, his second goal of the season. Martin Erat would pick up his eighth assist and Roman Josi would pick up his third of the season, second point of the night.
  • The Stars would hold the lead 4-3 at the end of the 2nd period, with them out-shooting Nashville thirteen to ten. After a few scrums around the net and a couple dirty swings, both teams were ready to seal the win in the third period.

THIRD PERIOD

  • Still working with the momentum from the second period, both teams kept both goaltenders on their toes, but it would be Mike Fisher who would find the sweet spot, backhanding a goal through Nilstrop’s five hole. Fisher’s game tying goal was his fourth of the season, with an assist from Colin Wilson (10th assist) and Roman Josi (4th assist, 3rd point of the night).

OVERTIME

  • It took Roman Josi just 28 seconds into overtime to collect his third goal of the season for the GWG. Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his seventh assist with Shea Weber picking up his fifth assist.

 

MUSINGS:

  • Roman Josi not only sealed the game winning goal in favor of Nashville, he also hit a career milestone. Josi collected four points overall during last night’s game, a career high in his young professional career.
  • Speaking of milestones, Mike Fisher’s GTG was his official 200th career goal.
  • And yet another milestone to talk about, last night’s game was Shea Weber’s official 500th professional game, all noted as a Nashville Predator.
  • Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad, and Brian McGrattan were all scratched for the night, with Gaustad expected to return Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks. Gill, who is suffering from an upper-body injury, is still deemed day-to-day.

 

Although regulation wins are cleaner and a bit less stressful, points are points and, in the race for the Stanley Cup, one point is better than no point, right? Either way, overtimes and shootouts are becoming part of the norm for the Nashville Predators, so as long as they can get the two points out of them, a win’s a win.

UNTIL THEN,
GO PREDS