Preds narrow past Red Wings in OT, 4-3

Craig Smith picks up his first goal of the season against Detroit

After Monday’s rough ending against the Colorado Avalanche, the Predators had two choices: either shake it off and prepare themselves for the first meeting of the season against the Detroit Red Wings or let frustration take over and destroy any chance of making a recovery. What did the Predators ultimately choose to do as they welcomed Jordin Tootoo and the rest of the Motor City to Nashville Tuesday night?

FIRST PERIOD

  • Craig Smith took the first strike, sending a wrister past Jimmy Howard at 5:01 to seal his first “regulation” goal of the season (he has done his share of shootout goals) and also on the powerplay. Colin Wilson, who continues to dominate in points, picked up his eighth assist of the season, along with Shea Weber who picked up his fourth.
  • A little over five minutes later, Gabriel Bourque notched his fourth goal of the season with a tip-in at 10:41. Scott Hannan (first assist) and Mike Fisher (fourth assist) would nab the assists on Bourque’s goal.
  • Detroit goaltender, Jimmy Howard would be pulled after Bourque’s goal, but not from a terrible performance or an injury sustained in the game. Howard had been suffering from blurred vision, but professed that he was fine in practice Tuesday morning. But during game time, his vision just wasn’t up to par to face the Predators.
  • The Predators wouldn’t hold their 2-0 lead for long, for Detroit had a short-handed goal up their sleeves. Daniel Cleary broke free on the Predators’ powerplay and slipped a wrister past Pekka Rinne to put Detroit on the board at 15:01. Pavel Datsyuk picked up the assist.

SECOND PERIOD

  • The second period would produce no goals, but plenty of action left both sides frustrated and exhausted. Nashville would out-shoot Detroit 12 to 7, but backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was everywhere the Predators wanted to be.

THIRD PERIOD

  • A costly mistake by Kevin Klein at 11:33 gave Detroit its second goal of the game, awarding the goal to former Pred, Jordin Tootoo. As pressure took to the net, Klein accidentally knocked the puck into his own goal.
  • Roman Josi would quickly give the Predators the upper-hand once again at 12:54 for his first goal of the season. His first goal was also unassisted.
  • Just as Josi put Nashville up 3-2, Detroit fought back, with Pavel Datsyuk nailing his eighth goal of the season, tying the game at 3.

OVERTIME

  • Nashville wasn’t going to see yet another shootout, with Shea Weber sealing the winning goal in OT at just 44 seconds into the period. Weber’s third goal of the season was assisted by Sergei Kostitsyn (fifth assist) and Colin Wilson (ninth assist).

 

MUSINGS:

  • Patric Hornqvist’s presence was well-received on home ice after missing the last ten games (excluding Monday on the road). Hornqvist led the Predators in shots-on-goal with four against the Red Wings, which doesn’t sound like too much, but he did take twelve shots alone the night before against Colorado. Considering he has only played in two games and has garnered sixteen shots-on-goal? Yea, Patric is creating chances that other players just can’t do; though Colin Wilson has been giving Patric a run for his money.
  • Paul Gaustad, still nursing an upper-body injury, was missing from action against Detroit as expected. Nashville took the hit on face-offs, losing the majority of them against the Red Wings. Hal Gill was scratched, along with Brian McGrattan, who is spending some quality time in Milwaukee.
  • Shea Weber may have found his rhythm, picking up an assist and a goal, his first game with two points. Weber has already notched his third goal of the season, hopefully giving us all a collective sigh of relief for the Captain.
  • Rich Clune is pulling out his checkbook, as he has been fined for boarding Colorado Avalanche forward Aaron Palushaj during Monday’s game. In the amount of $1,452.70 (half of his daily salary), the fine will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Brendan Shanahan has been awfully busy for such a short season…
  • Head Coach Barry Trotz has taken on a new title: Longest tenured coach in the National Hockey League. The Buffalo Sabres fired Lindy Ruff, who had been with the team for sixteen years, passing the title on to Barry Trotz.

 

The Predators almost let the Red Wings slip away with the win, but a win’s a win (even in OT) against Detroit. The Predators were given a rare two day break before facing the Vancouver Canucks for the first time tomorrow night.

Until then,
GO PREDS

NHL cancels all Games Scheduled until the 24th

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Surprise, surprise… The NHL has announced the cancellation of all regular season games up until October 24th, with more to follow suite in two-week increments.

For the Predators, this means seven games, including ones against St. Louis, Detroit, Colorado, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, and Vancouver (four of those seven are home games against Colorado, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis).

Both sides (NHL and NHLPA) aren’t budging over the $3 billion in revenue differences, leading most everyone to brace for a long and painful lockout.

Although it may or may not add up to much, contacting the NHL and NHLPA is a minor step that could measure up to a huge difference for the fan “voice” during this lockout. If you do decide to voice your opinion to either side, don’t fire off steam. Yelling and cussing will fall on deaf ears, but reasonable, passionate fans will be heard. Give it a shot.

NHL League Offices:
1185 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone – (212) 789-2000
Fax – (212) 789-2020

National Hockey League Players’ Association:
20 Bay Street, Suite 1700
Toronto, ON

Image credit: Bruce Bennett – Getty Images

The Tootoo Whistles Silenced: Jordin Tootoo takes Deal from Detroit

Tootoo heads North to Nashville’s rival.

Welp, weren’t we all thrown for a loop? One move we did not see coming came from Jordin Tootoo himself. Tootoo chose to accept the Detroit Red Wings’ three-year, $1.9 million contract after turning down Nashville’s almost identical offer.

When Tootoo decided to turn down the Predators’ offer, it was clear he was letting everyone know his distaste in being benched late in the past season. Of course, as a free agent, Toots was given free range to dip his feet in other franchises’ waters, but when TSN announced Jordin Tootoo’s decision, all of Nashville went silent, as jaws hit the floor.

Detroit. He chose Detroit.
Not Vancouver, not Anaheim, not Chicago (granted, we aren’t sure if these teams even offered him anything, but he admitted three other teams made him offers). Detroit.

His decision to head North to Nashville’s rival “big brother” can be seen in many, many different lights. Either Nashville’s “sizable” three-year contract was bogus or Jordin Tootoo just made it very, very clear to Nashville and its fans he was an unhappy camper by giving them a big middle finger.

It’s hard for us to believe that, after everything Nashville has done for Toots (along with vise versa for what he’s done for Nashville), the enforcer would up and leave to, of all the teams, the Predators’ biggest rival just because he was benched for the later half of the season.

“It’s definitely a great opportunity to put on that Red Wings jersey and play for an Original Six team,” Tootoo stated on a conference call with the Red Wings. This whole sentence feels like, in essence, a knife digging deeper into the backs of the Predators and its fans. Playing for an Original Six team is truly a great feeling for an NHL player but, again, it comes down to which team he ultimately signed with and its history with Nashville.

Although we ultimately have to thank Jordin Tootoo for all that he did for the city of Nashville, we can’t help but refer back to his final ‘Tootoo on 2’ video. The whole “only wanting to hold the Cup in Nashville” and “Nashville is my home”; was that all a lie just to warm our little hearts?

In the end, Toots has signed the papers and is on his way to Detroit, wiping his hands of Nashville for good. Toots, of all people, should know, Predators fans don’t take players leaving on bad terms easily (ask Dan Hamhuis). If he had chosen to go to any other team, Predators fans should be more than happy to cheer for the enforcer when he returned to play against Nashville. However, since he will be wearing red and white, Toots better prepare for the Tootoo whistles to be chucked at him. Nashville and Detroit open the 2012-13 in Motor City on October 12th at 6:30PM.

Good luck in Detroit, Jordin… but don’t expect fans to welcome you back with open arms.

(Photo courtesy of Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Predators stay Busy while Suter Watch Continues

McGrattan, Gaustad, Mason, and Gill all quipped for Nashville next season.

The Predators made some key moves before and on July 1st, the day that Free Agency went into effect. Though many eyes are watching the Suter and/or Parise situation, the Predators weren’t going to hold off until #20 finally came to a decision.

On Friday, just two days before his chance at Free Agency, Nashville signed the Goliath himself, Hal Gill to a two-year, $4 million contract, sealing himself to Predators gold for the 2012-13 season. With the size, strength (and surprisingly a bit of speed – when he gets moving), Gill will continue to shine alongside Roman Josi for two more years.

Fairly late last night, Nashville released the news of the signing of another trade deadliner – Paul Gaustad. Obviously, Poile recognized his expertise in Face Offs and Penalty Kills, signing Goose to a four-year, $12 million contract. Wowza. There is much debate about wether Nashville overpaid for Gaustad, but his last contract was for $9.2 million; of course he wasn’t going to go for anything less. Plus, Gaustad’s consistency rules him as a green flag for Nashville; something they’ll really need if Suter bails.

The Predators decided, for their first ever July 1st signing, to chose goalie (and former Predator) Chris Mason to a one-year, $1.25 million contract as a backup for Pekka Rinne. Though many were lead to believe Milwaukee’s Jeremy Smith was going to jump over to Nashville and cover Rinne, Poile did not lie when he said he wanted a veteran goalie to take the backup position. However, one-year contracts can mean many a thing; Wether Nashville brought Mason back aboard to help get Smith ready to take over or what, we don’t think Mason will be with Nashville very long. The Predators have never had a veteran backup before, so it will prove interesting to see how Mason will do behind the Finnish phenom.

And, as of a few moments ago, Brian McGrattan posted an excited tweet about returning to Nashville (to counteract a previous disheartening announcement from Jordin Tootoo…). The Predators confirmed that they did, in fact, sign enforcer Brian McGrattan to a one-year, $600,000 contract to wear the gold once again in the 2012-13 season. With Tootoo’s signing with Detroit (we’ll have a whole separate post about that one), it seems like Big Ern will be the new favorite of the Predators. After being picked up in October of last year, Preds fans fell in love with the big guy, thanks to his beloved antics, wild fights, and heartbreaking struggles off the ice. Like we said, McGrattan will be replacing Toots very quickly as everyone’s favorite tough guy.

As of 8:30, that is all Nashville has locked in for certain, but Ryan Suter watch is still having some of us bite our nails until the bitter end. As we mentioned earlier, Jordin Tootoo split for Detroit, leaving a bunch of bewildered, speechless fans in his wake. Like we said, we’ll have a complete post dedicated to his “unjustified” decision momentarily. Besides Tootoo, Nashville said au revoir to veteran Francis Bouillon, as the Montreal Canadiens took him back for a one-year, $1.25 million contract. Bouillon is a bit of a hometown hero in Montreal, so returning to Canada is a welcoming sign for the Cube. He was a class act in Nashville and we wish him all the best with the Habs.

It’s getting late, but the night’s not over; anything is bound to happen now that the free agents are on the loose. Stay tuned for more information with the Predators as it comes through the media.

Predators take the Joe 3-1 despite being Out-Shot 41 to 17

Pekka Rinne blocks 40 of 41 shots on goal against Detroit.

The Nashville Predators had already claimed one victory in the Joe Louis Arena on Sunday, their first post-season win in Detroit in franchise history, meaning the Detroit Red Wings would come out swinging in the next round. However, Nashville had a relatively good season against the Red Wings in Detroit, so the pesky Predators weren’t just going hand the Wings the victory without a price. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in the Detroit/Nashville series:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jordin Tootoo, Hal Gill, Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, and Chet Pickard were the scratches for the night, giving Ryan Ellis another chance at playoff hockey. Along with Ellis returned Matt Halischuk, who was feared to have broken a few ribs against Detroit on Friday night.
  • Both the first and second periods proved goal-less, but that doesn’t mean neither team was given prime scoring chances. Thanks to a stellar performance from the Finnish phenom, Pekka blocked 11 shots during the first (Nashville only shot 7) and 17 in the second (Nashville only got 3 shots).
  • After David Legwand’s first goal was waved off due to an “intent to blow the whistle” call, Gabriel Bourque made sure his goal was seen around the arena at 1:55 into the third period. Bourque’s snap shot passed Jimmy Howard was his third of the playoffs and Alexander Radulov (3rd assist) picked up the lone assist on the goal.
  • Jiri Hudler would score a few minutes later on the power play at 3:14 with a tip-in passed Pekka Rinne, his first goal of the post season.
  • Kevin Klein would shine yet again against Detroit, sinking his 2nd post season goal at 6:25. Klein’s wrist shot was assisted by Martin Erat (2nd assist) and Mike Fisher (2nd assist). While the Detroit line followed Martin Erat, Kevin Klein was left wide open, cleaning tapping the puck into the net while Jimmy Howard and the rest of the team tried desperately to adjust.
  • Nashville would hold off Detroit until 19:21 when David Legwand made certain Detroit acknowledged his goal. Leggy was unassisted on his tip-in goal.
  • As stated in the headline, Nashville was out-shot 41 to 17 overall, but if you’ve followed the Predators at all this past season, you’ll agree this isn’t surprising that Nashville was able to pull out the win. During this series, Nashville has been out-shot all but once, and that was last Friday when they lost. It’s clear Nashville does much better when they aren’t constantly taking shot after shot, despite the fan base wishing they would.
  • The Predators were plaque with penalties, yet again, but only allowed one power play goal out of seven chances for the Red Wings. Nashville was only given three power play chances, with David Legwand capitalizing on the last one. Though the refs seemed to favor Detroit, it was clear the penalties called for both teams were over the top. Here are the seven penalty offenders:
  1. Roman Josi – 7:38 1st Period – Interference
  2. Alexander Radulov – 12:18 1st Period – Tripping
  3. Roman Josi – 14:27 1st Period – Cross Checking
  4. Francis Bouillon – 14:01 2nd Period – Hooking
  5. Andrei Kostitsyn – 2:44 3rd Period – Too Many Men/Ice
  6. Andrei Kostitsyn – 7:15 3rd Period – Interference
  7. Matt Halischuk – 13:41 3rd Period – Interference

If there is one thing Detroit needs to realize, it’s that Nashville does better both on the road and when out-shot. After last night’s game, we’re pretty sure the team has come to that realization. With this win in Detroit, Nashville has now pushed themselves up 3-1 on the series, meaning one more win and they clinch the series. The Predators returned home last night at 12:45AM to a sea of adoring fans, who stood out in the cold and rain to welcome their boys home. The Predators could end the series with a win on Friday in Nashville, so be prepared for both teams to come out with passion.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Nashville finds Strength in Detroit; Predators Win 3-2

Take that, Klein haters!

Game 3 of the Detroit/Nashville series started bright and early today with the puck dropping at 11AM; the first game scheduled for the day.

Nashville struggled Friday night on home ice, losing to Detroit 3-2 in regulation and tying the series 1-1. With two games down in Nashville, it was time for the Predators to head north to the Motor City to throw-down in the Joe. However, the Predators last visit in Detroit bounced in their favor, wiping out the Red Wings 4-1. Needless to say, the Predators aren’t afraid of Detroit and its fans, but would it be enough to erase the power play issues from Friday? Here are the highlights from today’s game in Detroit:

KEY POINTS:

  • Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen, Chet Pickard, Brian McGrattan, and Hal Gill rounded up the scratched list for Game 3, but one surprise was the scratch of Matt Halischuk. In replace of Hali, Jordin Tootoo hit the ice, along with rookie Ryan Ellis.
  • Good thing Shea Weber feeds positively off of negativity, for he sealed the first goal of the game at 2:48 on the power play for his 2nd goal of the playoffs. Every time Weber’s stick would touch the puck, a cascade of “boos” would float amongst the crowd, but Weber quickly silenced them. Andrei Kostitsyn (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (2nd assist) picked up the assists on Weber’s silencer.
  • Kevin Klein would pick up a goal of his own at 3:50 in the 2nd Period, his first of the playoffs after scoring only four during the season. Martin Erat picked up his first assist of the playoffs, also the first point acquired by the top line of SK74-Marty-Fisher.
  • Pavel Datsyuk would finally get Detroit’s ball rolling at 15:03 with a wrap-around goal passed Pekka Rinne. This was Datsyuk’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Johan Franzen stopped the hearts of millions watching when he was able to slip the puck by Pekka Rinne, essentially tying the game with under a second left in the 2nd Period. The goal was reviewed and it was clear the clock had run out just milliseconds before passing Pekka, rendering it no good. Whew!
  • Sergei Kostitsyn would sink the third goal for the Predators at 16:30 with a clean snap shot passed Jimmy Howard. Mike Fisher picked up his first assist and point of the playoffs along with Kevin Klein (1st assist) on SK74’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Henrik Zetterberg would leave fans biting their nails at 19:06 when he was able to put the Red Wings within one of tying the game with Nashville on the power play, but the Predators defense would prove impenetrable, holding the Wings at bay until the final horn sounded to end the game.
  • Call this the Series of the Penalties! Twelve penalties in all, with six penalties for each team, giving both Detroit and Nashville equal power play opportunities. Unlike Friday, Nashville was finally able to snag a power play goal, but Detroit was able to snag one as well. Pointless penalty of the day came from Jordin Tootoo, who was called for roughing after pushing on Henrik Zetterberg. If you’re going to take a penalty, at least get a few swings in first! Here are the other Predators who took some time to reflect in the box:
  1.  David Legwand – 12:53 1st Period – Tripping
  2. Jordin Tootoo – 1:21 2nd Period – Roughing
  3. David Legwand (served by Patric Hornqvist) – 14:33 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Mike Fisher – 17:46 2nd Period – Roughing
  5. Sergei Kostitsyn – 19:49 2nd Period – Hi-Sticking
  6. David Legwand – 18:23 3rd Period – Holding
  • Pekka Rinne blew Detroit away in usual fashion, blocking 41 of 43 shots on goal. Nashville lacked on the shots on net, only attempting 22, but the accuracy was much better and Howard just wasn’t expecting to be taken out on his own ice.
  • Kevin Klein stepped up today, gaining an assist and a goal, only his 2nd playoff goal of his career. Both Kostitsyn brothers picked up points, with Andrei gaining an assist and Sergei collecting a goal. The top line all finally found a groove, with Fisher and Erat both gaining assists and, again, SK74 with a goal. 
The Predators came out swinging in the first period, but the second and third periods left us biting our nails down to the quick. However, a win’s a win and we will take it, especially when it is up in Motown. This win was actually Nashville’s first post-season win in Detroit in franchise history. As “Not Paul Gaustad” said on Twitter:

Follow @PaulsStick on Twitter

The Predators stay in Detroit until Tuesday, taking on the sea of Red at 6:30PM. Although the defense has been doing pretty well thus far, if Hal Gill can return by Tuesday, we believe there’s no stopping Nashville from taking this series.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Penalties Eat Away at Game 1, Predators snag Win 3-2

Alexander Radulov prepares during pre-game practice.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” – No, it’s not Christmas; It’s NHL Playoff time! The Nashville Predators hosted the Detroit Red Wings to Game 1 at the Bridgestone Arena last night in the heart of Smashville amongst a sea of pure gold. For the first game of Round 1 set on the schedule, a lot of eyes were on Nashville and it’s arena. It was clear that the “Keep the Red Out” memo got around town, for there were only a handful a Wings fans floating amongst the gold and blue.

For the first time in franchise history, the Predators topped the Red Wings in points, thus giving Nashville home ice advantage. This isn’t, however, the first time Nashville and Detroit have faced one another in the first round of the playoffs. Nashville and Detroit met in both 2004 and 2008, but Detroit powered through both times, ending the Predators from the get-go. This year is different. Nashville has been predicted over Detroit in almost all circumstances, and for once, the Red Wings find themselves on the underdog side of the fence.

KEY POINTS:

  • Ryan Ellis, Brian McGrattan, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jordin Tootoo, and Jeremy Smith (called up from Milwaukee to back up Peks in case Lindback was still iffy) topped out the scratched list for Game 1. However, one name that surprised many fans was leading penalty killer, Hal Gill. Gill was expected to be scratched and due to that fact, the rest of the defense would have to step up.
  • Paul Gaustad sent the crowd in an uproar at 6:59, his first goal of the playoffs and as a Nashville Predator. Brandon Yip (1st assist) and Francis Bouillon (1st assist) picked up assists on Goose’s goal.
  • Detroit’s Darren Helm left the game during the 1st Period after sustaining an injury after coming in contact with Alexander Radulov. Helm knocked Radulov to the ice, and, in a freak accident, Radulov’s skate flew up and slashed Helm across the arm. Helm left the ice immediately and would end up not returning the rest of the game. Helm’s gash across his arm was deemed surgery worthy, as Radulov’s skate hit some major tendons. Helm’s playoff run is more than likely over for now.
  • Henrik Zetterberg would tie the game at one with a wrist shot passed Pekka Rinne at 2:29 of the 2nd Period on the power play, his first goal of the playoffs.
  • Gabriel Bourque would put the Predators up 2-1 ten minutes later at 12:29 for his 1st goal of the playoffs. Matt Halischuk, who was originally awarded the goal, picked up the assist.
  • Gabriel Bourque would nail his second goal of the night at 11:35 of the 3rd Period, putting the Predators up 3-1 over the Red Wings. Nick Spaling (1st assist) and Patric Hornqvist (1st assist) picked up the assists.
  • Tomas Holmstrom would give Detroit its second goal of the night at 17:53 with Detroit’s second power play goal, but the Predators would run the clock down, sealing the win in their favor 3-2.
  • Although the First Star of the Game was awarded to Gabriel Bourque, Pekka Rinne shined through out the game, blocking 35 of 37 shots on goal, including this one that got him the #2 spot on ESPN’s Top 10:

    Isn’t that chanting of “Pekka” just music to your ears?
  • As stated in the headline, penalties plagued the entire game, with a total of 17 penalties called amongst both teams. Many would say the refs were being extra cautious due to the fact the Big Wigs like Gary Bettman was there, but best believe there won’t be nearly as many penalties on Friday night. The Predators faced ten penalties in Game 1 alone, with Detroit scoring their two goals on two of them. Here are the ten penalty box bummers:
  1.  Brandon Yip – 1:59 1st Period – Roughing
  2. Gabriel Bourque – 8:50 1st Period – Boarding
  3. Roman Josi – 1:10 2nd Period – Cross Checking
  4. Martin Erat – 13:50 2nd Period – Roughing
  5. Patric Hornqvist – 19:54 2nd Period – Hi-Sticking
  6. Roman Josi – 5:06 3rd Period – Hooking
  7. Jack Hillen – 14:52 3rd Period – Interference
  8. Ryan Suter – 16:08 3rd Period – Slashing
  9. Martin Erat – 19:37 3rd Period – Holding
  10. Shea Weber – 20:00 3rd Period – Roughing
  • See that last penalty? If you saw or read any of the highlights from last night, the biggest story was not of the Predators winning or Pekka Rinne’s amazing blocks, but of an incident between Shea Weber and Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg. After the whistle had blown, Shea Weber grabbed Zetterberg’s head and slammed it into the glass, thus putting him the box for the remaining seconds. Wings fans called for suspension, but instead the league fined Shea $2,500, which is A-Okay with us. Of course, Weber better be on his best behavior, for the league probably won’t be as lenient if he were to do something of the sort again. However, the league also has a more level head than fans. Brendan Shanahan, the head of disciplinary actions (who is also a former Red Wing), chose to fine Weber instead of suspending him, clearly since Zetterberg was not injury by the hit. Yes, Weber was in the wrong, but Shanahan is aware that Weber is in no way a malicious player and would not have done this without being provoked. You can clearly see where Zetterberg provoked Shea in this video:

Game 1 is in the books and favored the Predators 3-2, but Friday looms quickly and the Red Wings tempers are rising. Friday will prove to be a little more difficult for the Predators, even if they are at home. Detroit doesn’t want to get swept, and we doubt the will, but they also known that Nashville is clearly the favored team in this match up.

The puck drops thirty minutes early tomorrow, starting at 6:30 rather than 7PM. Be prepared to lose your voice, Preds fans. We’re going to run this town.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo courtesy of Kristen Jerkins Photography

Fans Appreciate Final Home Game, Predators Shutout Stars 2-0

Pekka Rinne hits the ice after sitting a night on the scratched list.

KEY POINTS:

  • Jordin Tootoo managed to avoid the scratched list Thursday night, but a few other guys weren’t as lucky. Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk, Jack Hillen, and Ryan Ellis topped out the scratched list on Fan Appreciation Night.
  • With the first two periods proving scoreless, it was Francis Bouillon who finally got the ball rolling at 4:28 of the 3rd Period, sealing his 4th goal of the season. Patric Hornqvist (16th assist) and Andrei Kostitsyn (19th assist) picked up the assists on Frankie’s goal.
  • Patric Hornqvist would put the Predators up by 2 at 18:00 in the third for his 26th goal of the season. Brandon Yip (4th assist) and Mike Fisher (27th assist) picked up the assists on Horny’s 26th goal.
  • The Stars pushed the limit during the 3rd period after Frankie’s goal, but it was Pekka’s keen eye that gave the Predators their 5th shutout of the season. The Predators out-shot the Stars 31 to 28, something that normally doesn’t happen for the Predators.
  • Like Tuesday, penalties plagued the Predators and caused a bit of lag for the team. Four penalties compared to Dallas’s two could have ended badly for Nashville, but thankfully, Dallas was unable to slip one passed the Finnish Phenom. Here are the four offenders:
  1. Bradon Yip – 2:44 1st Period – Interference
  2. Hal Gill – 12:39 2nd Period – Interference
  3. Andrei Kostitsyn – 9:52 3rd Period – Tripping
  4. Mike Fisher – 19:05 3rd Period – Delaying Game – Puck Over Glass

On another good note to go along with the shutout, Detroit lost to the New Jersey Devils Thursday night, bumping the Predators back into the 4th playoff position. With Detroit’s loss, the Predators are now guaranteed no worse than 5th position. However, it will be up to Chicago on Saturday to decide if the Predators will keep 4th position and home ice advantage.

So, if you didn’t get one of the jerseys off of the players’ backs, don’t worry – No one else we know did either. But what a great way to end the regular season at home with a shutout.

The Predators are off to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche for the last game of the regular season. The puck drops at 8PM CT.

Until then,
GO PREDS

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

Predators Power past Detroit 4-1, Gain 4th Position

Alexander Radulov celebrates his 2nd goal since returning to Nashville on 3/22.

Had we not been on the brink of passing out from exhaustion, we would have had this post up right after last night’s game ended because… did you see that Predators team?!

Normally an intimidating and hostile place for an opposing team to visit, the Predators had no fear walking into The Joe last night and taking back the 4th position in the Western Conference playoff race from the Detroit Red Wings. In a nutshell, if the Predators can continue to play the way they did last night, Predators fans better get ready for a long and prosperous post season. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in the Motor City:

KEY POINTS:

  • Martin Erat and Roman Josi were back in the lineup last night, a relieving sign since Marty has been missed on the SK-Fish-Marty line. Hal Gill has been truly missing Roman Josi, for these two have a chemistry only Disney can create. Jordin Tootoo came off the scratched list himself, his upper-body injury proving to be nothing to worry over. Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Brian McGrattan, and Jack Hillen rounded out the scratched list.
  • The first period remained scoreless, with both Pekka Rinne and the newly-returned Jimmy Howard blocking some key shots on goal. Nashville out-shot Detroit 9 to 7 in the first period, but even though his first game back due to injury, Jimmy Howard was ready to go.
  • Gabriel Bourque was finally able to get the best of Howard at 13:05 during the 2nd Period, sending a wrist shot over the goalie’s shoulder. Jordin Tootoo picked up his first assist since February 28th (24th assist) along with Hall Gill (12th assist) on Bourque’s 6th goal of the season.
  • Francis Bouillon would put even more pressure on Detroit with a wrist shot of his own at 19:27 (ROAD GOO GOOS!). While Detroit’s defense was focused on Alexander Radulov, Frankie was able to sneak in and put the Predators up 2-0 for his 3rd goal of the season. Radulov (3rd assist) picked up the assist on Frankie’s goal, too.
  • Alexander Radulov would out-dance Detriot and Howard once again, sealing his 2nd goal of the season at 2:40 in the 3rd Period. Andrei Kostitsyn (17th assist) and Pekka Rinne (5th assist) picked up the assists on A-Rad’s goal.
  • Detroit was finally able to get one past Pekka Rinne at 16:57 with a wrist shot from Jiri Hudler for his 24th goal of the season.
  • Shea Weber added a nail to the coffin for Detroit at 19:20 with a bouncing empty-netter, his 17th goal of the season. David Legwand (32nd assist) picked up the assist on the captain’s bouncer.
  • Obviously, all of the “Pekka-ing” around town channeled the Finnish goalie, for Pekka Rinne was unstoppable last night (minus one goal, of course). Pekka was able to stop 31 of Detroit’s 32 shots on goal last night, giving Peks his 42nd win. Check out this unbelievable video of Pekka Rinne completely robbing Henrik Zetterberg from a goal.
  • In typical Nashville fashion, the Predators were out-shot 27 to 32, but thanks to Pekka, the defensive lines, and accurate shots, Nashville proved to be the better team last night.
  • Although playing like a Stanley Cup contender would, the Predators had their share of penalties last night. Although only one more than Detroit, it was still more than they needed to risk. Here are the three penalty box buddies:
  1.  Paul Gaustad – 5:42 2nd Period – Tripping
  2. Nick Spaling – 14:04 2nd Period – Hooking
  3. Alexander Radulov – 16:24 2nd Period – Too Many Men/Ice

By coming out in Detroit and embarrassing the Red Wings at home, the Predators not only pushed past Detroit for 4th spot, they also boosted their confidence as they come home tonight to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Back-to-back games are rough, so the Predators will need to cling to the confidence of last night to take on Chicago tonight.

The puck drops at 7PM in Smashville.

Until then,
GO PREDS.