PPG for NSH; Preds bump Coyotes 5-1

Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

Nashville’s week-long trip West continued last night against the Arizona Coyotes, the Predators’ first trip to Glendale this season. Arizona, who has been on a three-game losing streak, is sitting in the same position in the Pacific Division as Nashville’s previous opponent, the Colorado Avalanche, are in the Central Division: sixth out of seven. With more losses than wins (10-15-3), the Coyotes need a confidence boost, and why not thwart the on-the-rise Predators? Not only is it Martin Erat’s former, former team that he needed so desperately to be out of, Arizona is also the former home of newest Nashville Predator, Mike Ribeiro. Ribeiro struggled both on and off the ice while with the Coyotes, prompting the organization to cut ties with him. Nashville swooped in and snatched the center up, which raised a few eyebrows as a rather risky move. Ah, but that risky move has proven successful as Ribeiro has become a staple of the Predators lineup. Currently holding down the 6th ranking amongst players in +/-, he also holds 18th amongst players in assists and 15th amongst players in save percentages. And Martin Erat? He has had five goals this season compared to Mike Ribeiro’s eight and (his true replacement) Forsberg’s twelve. But who’s counting, right?
filip

First Period:

  • Arizona’s Antoine Vermette (7) got the ball rolling with a powerplay goal at 4:11 with assistance from Mikkel Boedker (9) and Keith Yandle (17).
  • Mike Fisher wouldn’t wait long, scoring his first goal of the season at 6:57 and a powerplay goal on top of that. A what? I don’t know what that is! Phil Housley is taking in a deep, thankful sigh right about now. Shea Weber (10) and Filip Forsberg (16) nab the assists on Fisher’s goal.
  • James Neal would push Nashville up 2-1 at 11:06 for his eleventh goal of the season. Mike Fisher (3) and Roman Josi (12) would assist in said goal.
  • At 18:30, Ryan Ellis would nab his third goal of the season, giving Nashville a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. James Neal (7) and Mike Ribeiro (17) would be awarded the assists.

Second Period:

  • Just like in Colorado, no goals were mustered during the second period.

Third Period:

  • At just 2:43 into the period, Calle Jarnkrok would tally his second goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (2) and Filip Forsberg (17) power in with the assists.
  • Olli Jokinen would nab the GWG at 7:20, though it was a deflection off of Weber’s shot (oh well, he’ll take all the points he can get) for his second goal of the season. Colin Wilson (7) and Shea Weber (11) would be of assistance.

Another win tallied on this mini road trip as Nashville defeats the Coyotes 5-1 in Glendale. Not to jinx anything, but Nashville is now 19-7-2 on the season and is 2-0-0 on this road trip going into San Jose on Saturday. Though this should have been the game that Pekka Rinne got a much needed rest, he has still managed to keep it strong, blocking 57 of 58 shots in these past two games. Will Hutton get the start against the Sharks? Eh, though they are fourth in the Pacific Division, they are on a two-game winning streak and are 16-11-4. That’s a toughie to call, but we’ll see who gets to mind the net soon.

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Ellis Goal leads to Victory in SO against Coyotes 3-2

Image Source: Kristen Jerkins

Image Source: Kristen Jerkins

Back home in Smashville are we for a few and the first guest on the list? The former never-were-in-Phoenix-to-begin-with Arizona Coyotes! The Coyotes, coming into Nashville with a 2-2-0 record, were pretty well prepared to leave with victory in their hands. Stop for a moment – I just noticed Pekka Rinne chatting it up with former Preds goalie, Devan Dubnyk in the background of the picture above. Not that that’s special or anything, I just wanted to point that A.D.D. moment out – carry on. However, in order for Nashville to remain at the top of the Central Division standings, they’d need to pull off a win against Martin Erat & his brood.

Notable Mentions: Keith Yandle debuted in his 500th NHL Career game last night in Nashville, which is a pretty big milestone, I guess. Congrats, Yandy.

First Period:
– Coming out sluggish and uncoordinated once again, it wasn’t long before the Coyotes and Rob Klinkhammer (2) would capitalize on this Nashville weakness and light the lamp in Arizona’s favor.
– Mike Ribeiro would retaliate against his former team at 12:05 for his third goal of the season. Ryan Ellis would be the lone assistant (2) on Ribeiro’s goal.
RIBEIRO
Second Period:

– After collecting an assist, Ryan Ellis nabbed his first goal of the season at 5:12 in the second, picking up assistance from Derek Roy (4) and Seth Jones (2).
– Arizona wouldn’t give Nashville too much to celebrate for at 11:48 as Keith Yandle sends one clean past Pekka’s barrier on the powerplay.

Third Period:
– Arizona would nabbed yet another power play goal thanks to former Pred, Martin Erat at 7:42 into the third; his second goal of the season.
– James Neal couldn’t wait 19 seconds later before answering Erat’s goal with one of his own, his second of the season. Mike Ribeiro (2) and Ryan Ellis (3) would both collect two more points on the night with their assists.

Overtime:
– With three shots from Nashville and just two from Arizona, this puppy was headed to a shootout.

Shootout Summary:
Nashville – Derek Roy – Goal
Arizona – Mikkel Boedker – Save
Nashville – Craig Smith – Save
Arizona – Sam Gagner – Save
Nashville – Filip Forsberg – Save
Arizona – Antoine Vermette – Goal
Nashville – Ryan Ellis – Goal
Arizona – Martin Erat – Save
Here’s a .gif of Ellis’s game winner against Dubby:
ELLISWINNER

With a win in the shootout, Nashville remains on top of the Central Division leader board… phew! It is important to note how well both Ryan Ellis and Mike Ribeiro looked tonight (among other players) and how Craig Smith needs to take some anxiety medicine; boy needs to take a deep breath and stop with all these silly mistakes. We know he’s better than that; we’ve seen it.

Next in line to come for a visit are the Chicago Blackhawks, who will be gracing us with their presence on Thursday. Chicago is sitting behind us both in the Central Division standings and in the league. I am sure they want to get past us tomorrow night if they can.

2014 Winter Olympics Team USA Roster

Ryan Suter – 2010 Winter Olympics – Getty Images

The official roster for Team USA was announced this afternoon following the 2014 Winter Classic, in which the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings in a SO 3 to 2. 105,491 was the official attendance in today’s Winter Classic, by the way… and the average temperature was 13°, with a wind chill of -1°

Any who – back to Team USA – So, who got the call to represent the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? Here’s the list:

David Backes – St. Louis Blues
Dustin Brown – Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Callahan – New York Rangers
John Carlson – Washington Capitals
Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Kesler – Vancouver Canucks
Paul Martin – Pittsburgh Penguins
Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers
Ryan Miller – Buffalo Sabres
James van Riemsdyk – Toronto Maple Leafs
Brooks Orpik – Pittsburgh Penguins
TJ Oshie – St. Louis Blues
Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadiens
Zach Parise – Minnesota Wild
Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings
Kevin Shattenkirk – St. Louis Blues
Paul Stastny – Colorado Avalanche
Derek Stepan – New York Ranger
Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
Blake Wheeler – Winnipeg Jets
Jimmy Howard – Detroit Red Wings
Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs

As you may have heard (especially if you’re a Predators fan), the Nashville Predators General Manager, David Poile, was named the Team USA GM over the summer. So, are you surprised no Predators made the roster? Seth Jones & Craig Smith were the only players that popped up on the radar and were expected to make the list, but as we now know, neither one apparently quite made the cut. Since Jones is still a young NHL-er, his roster-miss is not as surprising as Craig Smith’s, especially after his outstanding performance in the IIHF World Championships this past Spring.

Notable other players absent from the roster list include Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan, Phoenix’s Keith Yandle, Columbus’ Jack Johnson, and Islanders’ Kyle Okposo among many others that you could make a solid argument for.

So, there you have it. Will you put your differences aside and cheer for the likes of Ryan Kesler, Ryan Suter, and Patrick Kane to push Team USA to gold? We will… but just for this time.

AK46’s Accuracy saves Predators in SO, Nashville wins 5-4 in Phoenix

Francis Bouillon and Ryan Ellis celebrate Frankie's first goal of the season.

The Predators began their Western trek last night with their first stop in Glendale, Arizona to face the team that currently holds the 2nd spot in the Pacific Division, the Phoenix Coyotes. After losing five games in a row, then coming back to demolish the San Jose Sharks on Saturday 3-0, the Coyotes were eager to jump back on the winning wagon and retain their #2 spot in the division. However, the Coyotes fall just two spots behind the Predators in conference standings, and just ten points behind the Preds… Who was more hungry for a win? Here are the highlights from last night’s all-nighter:

KEY POINTS:

  • Craig Smith was finally able to stretch his legs, getting off the scratched list to see some ice time. Kevin Klein, Brian McGrattan, Brandon Yip, and Roman Josi topped out the scratched list, with Roman suffering from a possible concussion. In fact, Josi didn’t even make the trip to Phoenix with the team, leading us to speculate that his concussion might lead to possible IR time. Yikes.
  • Both teams were shaky in the first, with both the Predators and the Coyotes only sending 8 goals a piece on net during the period. Martin Erat was finally able to slip a wrist shot past Mike Smith at 19:31 for his 17th goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his 24th assist and Hal Gill his 10th of the season on Marty’s Party goal.
  • Phoenix must have had an intermission intervention, for Daymond Langkow tipped the puck in past Pekka Rinne 49 seconds into the 2nd Period for his 9th goal of the season.
  • The Predators would finally take the lead once again at 11:04 with a beautiful setup between the dream team that is Martin Erat, Sergei Kostitsyn, and Mike Fisher. Fisher’s wrist shot gave him his 21st goal of the season, along with SK74’s 25 assist and Marty’s 34th assist of the season.
  • Keith Yandle didn’t wait too long to tie the game once more, gaining his 10th goal of the season at 14:23.
  • The back and forth would continue at 18:26 with a wrist shot from Francis Bouillon, his 1st goal of the season. Martin Erat picked up his second assist of the night (35th) along with Ryan Ellis (7th assist).
  • Craig Smith would come out fast in the 3rd Period, scoring his 13th goal of the season at 2:36 with a backhanded beauty. Paul Gaustad was the lone assist, picking up his 13th for the season.
  • The Coyotes wouldn’t let the Predators, who were up by 2 in the third, simply slip away with the easy win and came back with force. First with a goal from Oliver Ekman-Larsson (his 9th of the season) at 7:11 and then another from Raffi Torres at 15:01 for his 13th goal of the season. Both goalies and defense would block each team from taking the win, sending the game into OT.
  • Overtime, although with Phoenix taking 2 shots and the Predators only taking 1 on goal, would produce nothing for either teams, sending the go-around into a shootout, a testament for both teams’ goalies.
  1. PHOENIX – Ray Whitney – SAVE BY RINNE
  2. NASHVILLE – Andrei Kostitsyn – GOAL
  3. PHOENIX – Radim Vrbata – SAVE BY RINNE
  4. NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE BY SMITH
  5. PHOENIX – Mikkel Boedker – SAVE BY RINNE
  • Andrei Kostitsyn’s accuracy saved the Predators from a rough and too-close-for-comfort game. The Predators may have left with the two points, but the Coyotes slipped away with one, and after holding the lead by two, the Predators (although the victors) hung their head after letting an easy win turn into a fight for survival.
  • Both teams equalled out in shots on goal at 35, but both goalies took a beating. Both Pekka Rinne and Mike Smith made some remarkable saves, but due to flaws in the defense, Pekka wasn’t able to stop nasty goalies from the likes of Yandle and Langkow.
  • The Predators only gave the Coyotes one power play chance, with a tripping penalty called on Sergei Kostitsyn at 16:43 in the 2nd Period. The Coyotes handed the Predators three chances, but none were used to Nashville’s advantage.
The Predators slipped away with the win by the skin of their teeth, clearly a lack of motivation after gaining the lead by 2. The Coyotes ate up the sluggish, slackers and almost sent the Predators packing to San Jose with a loss under their belt. However, no matter how nasty of a win, a win is a win and the Predators came out the victors.
Trotz has probably already tanned their hides for the close call, so hopefully the Predators will be more focused and ready to win the game in regulation against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The puck drops even later on Thursday with the game starting at 9:30PM CST.
We leave you with this video highlight of last night’s game, with a shot of AK46’s shootout goal that save the Predators from a loss.
…Who’s a happy GM? David Poile’s a happy GM!
Until then,
GO PREDS.