Preds take Home Opener 2-1 over Canes

Source: Sanford Myers/Getty Images

Ah, it’s good to be back, isn’t it? The Predators opened the 2015-16 at home last night against the Carolina Hurricanes and picked up the first of many (knock on wood) wins of this young season. Despite the win, the Predators looked a little less “on fire” during the second and third periods, which allowed the Hurricanes to make a comeback in shots-on-goal and in score. Here are some highlights from last night’s opener:

First Period:

  • Just fifty-seven seconds into the match, Ryan Ellis took a hi-stick to the face from Jordan Staal, resulting in a powerplay opportunity for Nashville.

  • In a déjà vu moment from last season, Craig Smith opened the season with a powerplay goal to put Nashville up 2-0 at 2:23.

  • About twelve minutes later, rookie Viktor Arvidsson notched his first NHL-career goal at 17:05 to put Nashville up 2-0. The fact that Arvidsson could not contain his excitement afterwards makes me happy.

  • Nashville would dominate the first period with 14 SOG compared to Carolina’s five.

Second Period:

  • No goals, but the pace was more like molasses for Nashville as the air was let out of the tires a bit. Carolina put on the pressure, but the Predators were able to maintain the 2-0 lead.

Third Period:

  • Again, the Hurricanes picked up the pace where the Predators left off and added even more pressure.
  • Eric Staal was able to inch one past Pekka Rinne at 18:20 with the extra man on the attack.
  • The last minute and a half was intense, but Nashville managed to keep Carolina from tying the game.

Overall, the Predators looked good during their season opener, but the “cooling of the jets” during the second and third periods could be worrisome. The defense stood tall against the Hurricanes and held them back, but I don’t know if Nashville could hold back a stronger team. The Oilers will take advantage of this easily on Saturday if the Predators don’t address it. The penalty kill looked fabulous last night and the powerplay is good as well. Improvements could be had here and there, but overall, I was pleased.

The Predators are back at it tomorrow at 6PM as they welcome in the Edmonton Oilers. The first 10,000 fans wearing gold will get a golden foam helmet! Whoop!

Gritty Third Period leads to NSH Victory over CAR

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

A gritty third period indeed. After a lackluster performance within the first and second periods, the outcome of the game in favor of Nashville looked pretty bleak going into the third period. Carolina, who were 12-24-4, were already up by one on Nashville and, even though that should be nothing for a team that is 25-9-4 should be concerned with, the Predators have a lengthy record of flunking against the Hurricanes.

SCRATCHES:

  • James Neal Anton Volchenkov

First Period:

  • The Hurricanes jumped on the board with a powerplay goal at 17:25 from Eric Staal, his eleventh of the season for Carolina.
  • Carolina managed to notch twelve shots on net, while Nashville desperately hunted for it, only tallying seven shots on net.

Second Period:

  • The second period brought zero luck to either contender on the side of goals.
  • Nashville came out with a bit more gusto this period, taking twelve shots to the net compared to Carolina’s five.

Third Period:

  • Peter Laviolette must have sacrificed a rookie during the second intermission because the Predators finally hit the ice with some power in the third.
  • Ryan Ellis (5) put the team on the board at 4:43 with a tricky slip behind Cam Ward’s back. Viktor Stalberg picked up his second assist for the season – his first one gained just last Saturday against the Kings.
  • Carolina would regain the lead at 8:14 with a powerplay goal from Justin Faulk, their second of the night.
  • A little over two minutes later, Mike Fisher would tie it once again for his sixth goal of the season. Colin Wilson (12) and Filip Forsberg (24) tally the assists.
  • Noteworthy: With his 24th assist, Filip Forsberg has now surpassed Alexander Radulov’s Franchise Rookie Record of 37 points; Forsberg leads rookies in the league with 38 points, 14 goals, 24 assists, and 23 plus-minus points. If he isn’t a Calder contender, I will have no reason to doubt the NHL just hates Nashville.
    radulov
  • Roman Josi would nail the GWG at 15:17 for his seventh goal of the season, bringing Nashville back from a dismal first and second periods. Viktor Stalberg (3) and Eric Nystrom (4) would nab the assists.

As the saying goes, “They don’t ask ‘how’ you won, but ‘if’ you won. Gritty wins in regulation still give you the two points.” — Someone says that. And, as news on the standings goes, Chicago (54) was blanked by the Colorado Avalanche last night, pushing Nashville (56) up two points. Though the Predators were already at the top of the Central Division, it’s still nice to push forward even farther from the Blackhawks. It is important to note that the Predators are also just two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for first in the Western Conference.

The 18-15-6 Dallas Stars roll into town on Thursday, then Nashville is off to St. Paul to visit Ryan Suter and the 18-15-5 Minnesota Wild.

Predators Penalties prove Fatal against Hurricanes

Sergei and Andrei are reunited in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Predators took to the ice tonight in Raleigh, North Carolina after defeating the L.A. Kings 2-1 last night in Smashville. Back-to-back games can be pretty challenging, and the Predators went into tonight’s game with a boost from the recent trade pickups from yesterday afternoon. The Carolina Hurricanes are 5th in the Southeast, but don’t let that fool you; Carolina can be just as pesky as the Predators win it comes to sneaky wins. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game in Raleigh:

KEY POINTS:

  • Andrei Kostitsyn made his Predators debut tonight with his little brother against the Hurricanes. AK46 has been called the complete opposite of SK74, pushing himself as a consistent shooter.
  • Kevin Klein rested again tonight on the scratched list, along with Ryan Ellis and Brandon Yip. Brian McGrattan remains on the IR and new comer, Paul Gaustad stayed off the ice due to an upper-body injury.
  • The Predators came out strong with a wrist shot past Cam Ward from Craig Smith, his 12th goal of the season. Although Smith hasn’t had a goal since early January, he is 41st in the league for power play goals and 138th in assists. Matt Halischuk and Gabriel Bourque picked up assists on Smith’s goal.
  • Smith’s goal would be the only scored in the first, but Carolina’s Jamie McBain was quick to tie the game at 5:17 in the 2nd. McBain sent a slap shot past Anders Lindback for his 7th goal of the season.
  • Colin Wilson would answer the call for the Predators at 12:31 with a backhanded goal unassisted, his 15th goal of the season.
  • Carolina put their power play chances to use with two goals at both 13:04 and then at 17:24. Both goals were back-handers, the first one from Eric Staal (his 19th goal of the season) and the second from Tim Brent (his 9th goal of the season).
  • Bryan Allen would add salt to the wound with a goal at 1:28 in the 3rd, sending the Hurricanes up 4-2 over the Predators. As added insult to injury, the wrist shot past Lindback was Allen’s first goal of the season.
  • Rookie Gabriel Bourque would breathe life into the Predators at 2:18 with a wrist shot for his 4th goal of the season. Jordin Tootoo and David Legwand assisted on the rookie’s goal.
  • Unfortunately, the Predators just could catch enough momentum to snag an extra goal to tie the game and at least seal one point. The Carolina Hurricanes are now 24-26-13 on the season, the Predators 37-20-7.
  • Anders Lindback took over for Pekka Rinne tonight, blocking 29 of 33 shots on goal. Although Anders let a few slip by, quite a few were mistakes by the defense. The Predators were out-shot (surprised?) by the Carolina Hurricanes 33 to 29.
  • Unlike last night’s game, the Predators spent way too much time adding penalty minutes to their times sheet, with six penalties compared to Carolina’s one. Here are the six offenders of the bench:
  1. Jack Hillen – 1st Period 9:16 – Holding
  2. David Legwand – 1st Period 19:00 – Hi-Sticking
  3. Colin Wilson – 2nd Period 0.55 – Too Many Men/Ice
  4. Andrei Kostitsyn – 2nd Period 12:52 – Hooking
  5. Shea Weber – 2nd Period 17:13 – Hooking
  6. Mike Fisher – 3rd Period 8:50 – Hooking

The Predators have a few days to recuperate themselves before hitting the ice in sunny Miami on Saturday night where they will be faced with an old friend, Jerred Smithson.

On a lighter note from tonight’s game, Jordin Tootoo will be hosting another radio show tomorrow night with special guests Colin Wilson and Brandon Yip! You know you don’t want to miss that one, right?

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)