Weekend Review: Lose Some, Win Some in Canada

Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

There’s always one team that gives Nashville trouble and we aren’t talking about Chicago or St. Louis; it is always that underdog team that your mind automatically – when going through the schedule – chalks up as a win. This year’s team that keeps knocking Nashville down a peg or two looks to be the Calgary Flames. Now, we aren’t saying Calgary is a terrible team by any means, but they aren’t a team we as fans go into thinking Nashville is going to have some trouble with… until this season. The season is still young, but losing twice to Calgary thus far (with only two meetings) and the fact that the Predators simply struggle against them could spell trouble down the road within the Western Conference. However, this weekend wasn’t a complete loss and happily, that win came in Canucklehead territory. Here are the highlights from this past weekend’s romp through Western Canada:

Friday, October 31st – Nashville @ Calgary:

First Period:
– The first period proved goal-less, with both Calgary and Nashville taking a good amount of shots (Calgary 10, Nashville 8).

Second Period:
– Calgary jumped on the board first with a PPG from Sean Monahan at 4:23 after Colin Wilson was charged with goaltender interference.
– Craig Smith would tie it at one with his fourth goal of the season at 5:30 with assistance from Ryan Ellis (5) and Mattias Ekholm (2).
craig smith– At 11:09, Nashville would gain the lead with a goal from James Neal, his sixth of the season. Mike Ribeiro (5) picked up the lone assist.
james nealThird Period:
– At 2:36, Jiri Hudler would tie the game in favor of Calgary for his third goal of the season.
– Calgary would collect a second PPG during the game with a goal from TJ Brodie at 4:23 pushing the Flames up 3-2.
– Not two minutes later at 6:37 Calgary would jump to 4-2 over Nashville with a clean goal from Johnny Gaudreau (2).
– Nashville would come back within one at 10:47 with a PPG from James Neal (7) with some assistance from Matt Cullen (2) and Filip Forsberg (7).
– Unfortunately, Calgary managed to keep Nashville at bay in time for regulation to run out, sealing the win in their favor 4-3 in the Saddledome.

Sunday, November 2nd – Nashville @ Vancouver:

First Period:
– The first period started off with a goal in favor of Vancouver, as Alexander Edler nabbed his second goal of the season on a PPG.

Second Period:
– Nashville would capitalize on the powerplay at 1:38 into the second with a goal from Filip Forsberg (2), though it was clear that former Predator, Dan Hamhuis knocked the puck in. James Neal (1) and Matt Cullen (3) would pick up the assists.
FORSBERG CANUCKSThird Period:
– Forsberg would sink one without the help of Hamhuis at 6:42 for his third goal of the season, with assistance from James Neal (2) and Mike Ribeiro (6).
FORSBERG CANUCKS 2– At 18:27, Colin Wilson would collect his first goal of the season and the GWG. Filip Forsberg (8) and Mattias Ekholm (3) picked up the assists.
COLIN– It is important to note that Vancouver was playing back-to-back games, but a regulation win is a regulation win.

Nashville is almost done with its trip around the Western Conference, with the next stop in Winnipeg to visit the Jets on Tuesday night.

Preds fall to Flames 3-2 in the Shootout

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Image Source: Zimbio

Ahh, the victories were short-lived, weren’t they? It is hard to argue against the fact that Nashville came out on sluggish note last night against the Calgary Flames. It was an all-around a sloppy game with too many mistakes and, although Calgary made a few of their own, they ate up every chance Nashville gave them and slipped by with the win in the shootout. But, all is not lost as the Predators did squeeze a point out of Calgary by sending it into overtime. Lest we not forget, there were some other slick moves that brightened last night’s loss that highlighted the potential within some certain players.

Scratches for Nashville: Rich Clune, Victor Bartley
Note: Sadly, Calgary scratched Brian McGrattan, a former Pred – though his time short – made a lasting impression on Nashville.

First Period:
– Unlike the first two games of the season, Nashville put a point on the board first with a goal from Filip Forsberg, his first goal of the season. Derek Roy (3) and Craig Smith (1) picked up the assists.
– Calgary didn’t give Nashville a chance to gain momentum as not even two minutes later, TJ Brodie skirted one by Pekka Rinne for his second goal of the season, tying the game.
– Nashville was given two chances on the powerplay during the first, but couldn’t garner the stability to capitalize on either one.

Second Period:
– Calgary would take the lead at 5:19, capitalizing where the Predators could not on the powerplay. The Flames took advantage of the powerplay within seventeen seconds.
– However, barely ten minutes later, Nashville would tie the game at 2 with a sheer luck tip-in from Mike Ribeiro, his first of the season and first as in Predators’ gold. Colin Wilson (1) and Craig Smith (2) garnered the assists.
– Derek Roy saved the Predators from possibly a complete loss with his ridiculous reflex skills, deflecting the puck from clearing the net while Pekka was distracted. Check out the gif below:
yxdZ1e– Toronto reviewed the play, but miraculously called it a no-goal. From the video angle in the .gif, it definitely looks like it passes that sweet red line, but if Toronto says no-goal, we’ll take their word… for once.

Third Period:
– Both the Flames and the Predators would scrap back and forth, though Calgary held onto the puck just a wee bit better. Neither team would notch a goal during the third, thus sending the game into overtime.

Overtime:
– Since this ends in a shootout, you can guess no one scored during the overtime “action”.
– Nashville took one shot on goal during overtime to Calgary’s two shots.

Shootout Summary:
Nashville – Derek Roy: Save
Calgary – Joe Colborne: Goal
Nashville – James Neal: Save
Calgary – Jiri Hudler: Save
Nashville – Olli Jokinen: Save

Three Stars of the Game:
Mark Giordano – Calgary
Karri Ramo – Calgary
Craig Smith – Nashville

Karri Ramo was on point last night and for that, we have to give him props. Any chance Nashville had where they managed to gather themselves into shot mode, Ramo was there with what we’d like to call “Pekka-like reflexes” to thwart the Preds.

A question we heard last night was, “What was up with that interference/embellishment call [on Engelland and Forsberg]?”
1377665821442Why can you not have both an interference call & an embellishment call on the same play, Susie? Because it doesn’t make sense; it’s that simple. It is almost impossible (with how NHL rules are set up) for you to call interference and embellishment on the same play. You either have one player interfere or you have the other player called for “diving/embellishment”. Sadly, it’s just one of those quirks in the NHL that no one bothers to address and still happens on occasion, much to the delight of those who enjoy yelling, “Ref, you suck” at any given moment.

No brooms for this home stretch, but Nashville has started out on the right foot this season, even with this mark on their record. We’ve seen some great potential from both our new guys and the old ones, which is a great sign for Laviolette and his staff.

The Preds head North to Manitoba to take on the Winnipeg Jets on Friday at 7PM and then catch a flight to Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Saturday night. Wee.

Predators Advance to Next Round, Eliminate Detroit 2-1

The Predators exit the bench after eliminating the Detroit Red Wings.

The Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings faced off in Game 5 last night in Smashville, with the Red Wings hanging at the mercy of the Predators in what could have been their final game in the playoffs. The Predators took Game 1  with ease, lost Game 2 at home, then pummeled the Wings back-to-back in the Joe. With Nashville holding the series 3-1, Detroit needed a “Pittsburgh/Vancouver” miracle to keep the series going, but Nashville was already looking forward to Round 2. Here are the highlights from last night’s history making game:

"All Night Long"

KEY POINTS:

  • Although day-to-day at this point, Hal Gill placed it safe and sat out yet again on the scratched list. Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Chet Pickard, Jack Hillen, Matt Halischuk, and Jordin Tootoo topped out the scratched list. After making a good impression in Detroit, Ryan Ellis got another chance at playoff time, along with Craig Smith.
  • After expressing much frustration, Alexander Radulov finally sealed a playoff goal at 16:10 in the 1st Period, thanks to a nice pick from David Legwand. Leggy’s 2nd assist was the only one on Rad’s first playoff goal.
  • The 2nd Period belonged solely to the Red Wings, with Jiri Hudler slipping a backhander passed Pekka Rinne at 13:45. Hudler’s goal was his second of the playoffs.
  • After helping Radulov seal his first goal, David Legwand reminded Detroit of how well he plays against them by scoring his 2nd playoff goal just 13 seconds into the 3rd Period. Gabriel Bourque (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (4th assist) picked up the assists on Leggy’s goal. With this goal, David Legwand has clinched the 1st Round game-winning goal two years in a row.
  • Although Leggy scored only seconds into the third period, giving Detroit plenty of opportunities to tie or even surpass the Predators, Nashville’s extraordinary defense held the desperate Red Wings back, sealing the series in Nashville’s favor and sending Detroit into an early retirement.
  • Although the Predators do better when out-shot, the Predators surpassed the Red Wings in shots on goal 25 to 22, with Pekka blocking all but one. Detroit attempted to stay under the Predators on shots, only surpassing them in the 3rd Period 8 to 7. If there was an MVP per Round, it’s clear Pekka Rinne would be the winner, hands down. Detroit had many a chance to take the lead and perhaps take the series, but Pekka Rinne and Nashville’s defense (A.K.A. Kevin Klein) thwarted any chance for advancement for the Red Wings.
  • The Predators only faced two of five penalties, with neither team able to score on the given power plays. Here are the two penalty offenders of Game 5 for Nashville:
  1. Mike Fisher – 31 seconds 1st Period – Interference
  2. Brandon Yip – 18:26 1st Period – Goalkeeper Interference

Reaching an outstanding 112 decibels, it was clear the fans were happy with the end result last night in the Bridgestone Arena as the Nashville Predators knocked off the Detroit Red Wings in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs. This is the third time in the past sixteen post-seasons the Detroit Red Wings have failed to reach the second round of the playoffs, even more reason for the Predators to celebrate.

As they say, third time’s the charm, as this is the third meeting between these two teams during the post-season, with Detroit knocking out Nashville in both 2004 and 2008. Last night was little brother’s turn to finally surpass big brother and how sweet it was.

The Predators will now take a nice hiatus while the rest of the league continues to knock one another out, but Nashville will ultimately face the winner of the Chicago/Phoenix game.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo courtesy of John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

GO PREDS

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)