NSH claims 1st in League after OT Win over DAL

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Though it landed in overtime, the Predators captured the all-important two points to claim first in not only the Western Conference, but the entire League. Wowza. Or, as Sean McIndoe so eloquently put it:

Did the Predators ruin a bunch of predictions for the 2014-15 NHL season? Yea, I am going to go ahead and say that’s a big y-e-s to that one. It’s certainly not a bad thing. No one, not even the loyalest of fans, could have imagine that the Nashville Predators would be 27-9-4 at the beginning of January. And no one surely could’ve imagined that would be good enough to take the League. A team from Nashville?

I know, world; it’s hard to believe a bunch of hillbillies could muster the best team in the league. I must ask, though, as to why that always comes up. None of these guys [players], let alone the majority of the staff, administration, organization, what have you, aren’t even from Tennessee! Haters gonna hate. Shake it off.

SCRATCHES: Anton Volchenkov

First Period:

  • Shea Weber set the game in motion at 15:27 with a signature slapshot past Kari Lehtonen for his ninth goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (27) and Roman Josi (19) collect the assists.
  • Nashville would end the first period leading the Stars 1-0.

Second Period:

  • Jason Spezza would tie the game at 12:51, his seventh goal of the season.
  • In his NHL debut, nonetheless, Miikka Salomaki would claim his first career NHL goal at 16:47, pushing Nashville back into the lead 2-1. Roman Josi (20) and Calle Jarnkrok (6) collected the assists.
  • With just two seconds left in the period, Trevor Daley would sink one past Pekka Rinne to tie the game at two heading into the third.

Third Period:

  • Though it falls in the books that there were no goals tallied in the third period, a different story could be said for Preds fans. In a battle to get the puck to the net, Craig Smith got tied up with Kari Lehtonen, which allowed Filip Forsberg to sweep in for the score. Lindy Ruff and the Dallas bench called foul, claiming Smith was keeping Lehtonen from covering the post. Though originally called a goal, the play was then reversed in a matter of Smith committed “incidental contact” on Lehtonen. Of course, on review, it is clear that Jason Demers is crosschecking Smith into Lehtonen, thus causing the “incidental contact”, but it is all in the books at this point.

Overtime:

  • In a game that should’ve ended in regulation, Shea Weber sealed the victory in favor of Nashville just seventeen seconds into overtime, his second of the night and 10th goal of the season. Mike Fisher (7) and Colin Wilson (13) picked up the assists on Weber’s game winning goal.

Game. Set. Match. With the anticipated two points, the Predators bumped the Anaheim Ducks from the top of the Western Conference and League standings. However, Nashville isn’t out of the clear; both they and Anaheim share 58 points, but because the Ducks have played two more games, the Predators notch the top spot. With that, in order to push further ahead, Nashville will need to beat Minnesota tomorrow in regulation (or at least get one point) and hope that Anaheim gets steamrolled by the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

So Preds fans, bask in the glory that is top of the Central Division, Western Conference, and League.
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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 Sign Roy & Ribeiro to 1YR Deals

PicMonkey Collage

Who knew Nashville was in need of a few Centers? Late this morning, word came trickling through the social media world that David Poile had signed two Centers to the Nashville Predators roster. Those two? Former Phoenix Arizona Coyote, Mike Ribeiro (1-year, $1.05M) and former St. Louis Blue, Derek Roy (1-year, $1M). Both veterans of their trade, Ribeiro was drafted 45th overall in the 1998 Draft by the Montreal Canadiens and Roy drafted 32nd overall in the 2001 Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. They have both put up some outstanding numbers during their tenure, but – as more athletes do – have started to decline as they’ve aged. But let’s not forget Nashville just got away with a steal of a deal. Ribeiro, Roy and Jokinen each for 1 year for a total of $4.55M? Poile, you crazy GM, you! As I type, GM David Poile is hosting a presser to address the two new signees, with Ribeiro at his side. Here are some snippets from the press conference:

What? A player actually sought out Nashville on his own accord? Take that, Spezza. So, how many Centers does Nashville have now? Let’s see: Wilson, Ribeiro, Roy, Jokinen, Cullen, Gaustad, Smith, Jarnkrok, and Fisher (though he’s down for the count). That means someone will have to “fight for their job” as Poile has stated.

Interesting information coming out of the Preds organization this afternoon! We will add more as the presser continues and as more information becomes available.

No Love for Nashville in Ottawa, Preds fall to Senators 4-3

Gabriel Bourque scores his second goal with the Predators in Ottawa.

After the tough loss at home on Tuesday night, the Predators packed up and headed East to the capital of Canada to face to Ottawa Senators. Former Ottawa Senator, Mike Fisher, was given a standing ovation by the home crowd, his first game back in Ottawa since being traded to the Predators. Fisher spent his first 11 years of his NHL career in Ottawa and is missed dearly in Ottawa, but Nashville is happier to have him. Would the arrival of Mike Fisher mean the Senators would go soft on the Predators? Absolutely not. After losing seven straight games, the Senators were itching for a weak spot in the Predators and were able to capitalize on it, winning in regulation 4-3. Here are the highlights from Thursday’s game in Ottawa:

KEY POINTS:

  • Brandon Yip, Jack Hillen, and Brian McGrattan were all scratched for Thursday’s game, the typical bunch. Again, McGrattan could have livened up the game a bit, we think.
  • Ottawa wasted no time adding points to the board with a wrist shot passed Pekka Rinne at 4:46 by Jason Spezza, his 21st goal of the season.
  • Fourteen minutes later, the Predators would put the pressure on Ottawa, with a wrist shot from rookie Gabriel Bourque at 18:46, his second goal of the season and as a Nashville Predator. He was assisted by Jordin Tootoo and Ryan Suter.
  • Ottawa’s Chris Phillips would put the Senators up 2-1 at 7:50 in the second period with a wrist shot passed Pekka, his first goal of the season.
  • Patric Hornqvist would tie the game for the Predators once again at 12:40 on the power play, his 16th goal of the season. He was assisted by Ryan Suter and Martin Erat.
  • Ottawa would end the second period with the lead 3-2 at 18:55 with a tip-in by Jason Spezza, giving him his second goal of the night and his 22nd overall.
  • At 13:35, Chris Phillips would capitalize on his second goal of the night and his second overall with a wrist shot, sending the Senators up 4-2.
  • Martin Erat would gain the remaining goal for the Predators at 19:50, his 13th goal of the season. He was alone in his goal.
  •  Pekka Rinne made some amazing saves during this game, but let a few weak shots in the net. He was able to block 25 of 29 shots on goal.
  • The Predators took plenty of penalties during the game with six, whereas the Senators took five. The Predators were able to use one of the power plays to their advantage, but the Senators were able to use two of Nashville’s. Here are the guys who took the unnecessary penalties:
  1. Sergei Kostitsyn – 1:40 2nd Period – Holding
  2. Nick Spaling – 3:28 2nd Period – Tripping
  3. Francis Bouillon – 8:32 2nd Period – Hi-Sticking
  4. Martin Erat – 18:49 2nd Period – Hooking
  5. David Legwand – 11:55 3rd Period – Slashing
  6. David Legwand – 14:22 3rd Period – Hooking

This was the second straight loss for the Predators since December 23rd against Dallas and December 26th against the Red Wings.  The Predators will continue in the Eastern Conference on Saturday as they take on the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Boston Bruins in Boston at a special noon start.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)