Preds Thump Sharks 2-1

Image Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Did you make it through the entire game last night? I’ll be honest, I conked out at the end of the second period. A lot of you fought the strong hand of the Sandman and are now hooked up to your trusty caffeine IVs while you struggle through the workday. But alas, you have a smile on your face and deem it completely worth the lack of sleep because the Predators extended their record to 7-1-1 after defeating the 5-3-0 San Jose Sharks last night. Want some highlights? We’ve got your highlights:

First Period:

  • Eric Nystrom was on point from the very beginning, sending a gorgeous one-timer on net passed Martin Jones at 3:22 for an early 1-0 lead. Roman Josi (4) and Paul Gaustad (2) nabbed the assists on Nystrom’s third goal of the young season.

  • Barret Jackman picked up a roughing penalty against Tommy Wingels, but the Predators penalty kill did its job and ended the first period 1-0.

Second Period:

  • No goals were had by either team in the second, but Joe Thornton and Shea Weber did get called for Unsportsmanlike conduct when Weber cross-checked Thornton after he checked Roman Josi.

Third Period:

  • Just 1:28 into the third, San Jose finally slipped one passed Rinne with Joe Pavelski collecting his fourth goal of the season.
  • Calle Jarn-CROAK, on the other hand, wasn’t having a tied game for long, picking up his first goal of the season at 8:52. Gabriel Bourque (1) and Seth Jones (5) assisted on Jarnkrok’s wicked wrister.

  • The boys in gold white would hold off the Sharks until the end though, with Nashville out-shooting San Jose 24 to 21.

Random Musings:

  • For those Wilson lovers out there, Colin took a puck to the head during the first period. No need to panic, he is okay. I just really wanted to post this gif:

  • Wondering why I said “Jarn-CROAK” earlier? The announcers had a bit of a difficult time pronouncing it during the first period. Glad they got it corrected before he scored the game winning goal.

That last tweet by Mr. Bradford needs to be further addressed. The Sharks won 80% of the face-offs in the first period alone. There were 53 face-offs total last night, with San Jose winning 37 and Nashville only winning 16. Eek. Time to panic? No, because as great as they are to win, they don’t necessarily define how the outcome of the game. Nashville is not chasing the puck when they lose (for the most part), which keeps them on the plus side of possessions. Though it is certainly something to work on, it is not a dire situation like other aspect could be (penalty kill, power play, etc.). So, in a nutshell, don’t freak out over win/loss numbers within the faceoff just yet.

Nashville continues down the West Coast with a stop in Los Angeles on Saturday for a special Halloween puck drop of 3PM.

Preds try to give Fans Heart Attacks; Win in OT 7-6

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Did that title catch your attention? No time to sugarcoat it tonight; oh no. I won’t spoil the fun by telling you what happened here; you need to read the meat and potatoes of the post.

What’s with all the back-to-backs, am I right? After a back-to-back against Chicago Monday and St. Louis Tuesday, the Predators received an extended break for the new year before heading West to take on the LA Kings this afternoon. Of course, tomorrow Nashville hops a block or two tomorrow to take on the Anaheim Ducks. Fun times
(Note: I wrote this paragraph before the meltdown).

SCRATCHES: James Neal (lower-body injury), Victor Bartley, and Miikka Salomaki (sorry, kid).

First Period:

  • The Kings wasted no time lighting the lamp as Matt Greene sent a slapshot past Pekka Rinne just 32 seconds into the game.
  • Mike Fisher quickly tied it up at 4:54 with a wrister past Jonathan Quick; his fifth goal of the season. Roman Josi (18) and Shea Weber (18) tallied the assists.
  • Not even two minutes later, Colin Wilson would collect the deflected goal off of Matt Greene’s stick; his eleventh of the season. Viktor Stalberg collected his first assist of the season on Wilson’s deflection.
  • Noteworthy: With eleven goals, Colin Wilson now has as many goals this season as he did all of last season.
  • Birthday Boy, Ryan Ellis would tally his fourth goal of the season on the powerplay at 9:43 with a speedy slapshot past Quick. Mike Ribeiro (22) and Seth Jones (8) picked up the assists.
  • After Ellis’s powerplay goal, Jonathan Quick was “quickly” pulled and replaced by backup Martin Jones.

Second Period:

  • Replacing Quick didn’t help at the beginning of the second period, as Mattias Ekholm collected his second goal of the season at 2:16. Craig Smith (10) and Ryan Ellis (11) nab the assists on Ekholm’s goal.
  • Nashville would continue pounding the Kings just a minute later, as newcomer Mart Arcobello picked up his first goal as a Predator at 3:57; his eighth of the season. Colin Wilson (11) and Paul Gaustad (8) are awarded the assists.
  • The Kings would not stay down for long, as Alec Martinez flipped a wrister past Rinne to put LA within three.
  • Dwight King would finish up the second period with another Los Angeles goal, a tip-in assisted by Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar.

Third Period:

  • Olli Jokinen nailed his third goal of the season at 8:38 with a wrist shot past Jones, giving Nashville a 6-3 lead. Gabriel Bourque – who’s been awfully quiet – picks up his fourth assist along with Paul Gaustad (8).
  • Dwight King picked up his second of the night at 17:59 with some assistance from Jake Muzzin.
  • Alec Martinez managed to bring it within one, his fifth goal of the season.
  • …And then Jeff Carter ties it at six at 19:26…

    All Predators fans can relate.

    OVERTIME:

  • Noteworthy: The Predators were up 6-3 with two minutes left in the game. SIX-TO-THREE. Why are we having flashbacks to Monday against Chicago? WHY?
  • Thankfully, it only took Roman Josi (6) eighteen seconds into overtime to seal the win in favor of Nashville. Filip Forsberg (22) and Mike Ribeiro (23) collect the game-winning assists.
  • Noteworthy: With this overtime assist, Filip Forsberg is now one point away from tying Alexander Radulov’s franchise rookie record.

The Predators nab their first win of 2015 – though they tried to give it to Los Angeles – to give themselves a record of 25-9-3, but – as I write a lot – there’s not time for rest. Nashville has a bout with the leader of the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow night at 7PM. The Ducks rest just four points ahead of Nashville in the Western Conference, so it’s easy for me to say that a win in regulation tomorrow night would be splendid indeed. …And less stress on my heart, thanks.

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 7.07.01 PM

Okay, so heart attack relief comes in the form of the Central Division Standings.

Preds Win second straight SO; Rout Kings 4-3

Source: Brooks Bratten Twitter - @brooksbratten

Source: Brooks Bratten Twitter – @brooksbratten

I dare you not to stare at the photo of Shea Weber above for more than three seconds; he looks so delighted. And rightfully so as Nashville knocked the defending Stanley Cup Champions (L.A. Kings) in a shootout last night 4-3. Oh yea, and there are some other reasons why Shea might be a little giddy this morning, but we’ll cover that in the highlights of last night’s game:

First Period:

  • Nashville lit the lamp at 6:24 to get the ball rolling; Craig Smith’s seventh goal of the season. Colin Wilson (5) and Anton Volchenkov (3) pursued the assists on Smith’s goal.
  • The Kings were quick to put their name on the board, tying it at 11:32 with a goal from Jamie McBain (his first of the season – you’re welcome).
  • Though both even on the scoreboard, Nashville would send twelve shots-on-goal compared to L.A.’s seven.

Second Period:

  • Marian Gaborik would give L.A. the lead at just 1:01 into the second, his fourth goal of the season.
  • It would take a little over seventeen minutes later for Nashville to retaliate with a goal from Ryan Ellis (2). Colin Wilson would pick up his second assist of the night (6) and Craig Smith would collect his first of the night (6). Oh yea, and the first of one of these of the season:
    CATFISH
  • Not even a minute later, Eric Nystrom would tip one in from Taylor Beck (3) and give Nashville a 3-2 lead late in the second. Shea Weber also picked up an assist on Nystrom’s goal, his seventh of the season and – remember when I said he’d have another reason to be happy? – is now the franchise defenseman leader in assists with 223.

Third Period:

  • Just 38 seconds into the third period, Drew Doughty would sink a clean goal through Pekka Rinne’s five-hole, tying the game.
  • Though Nashville did everything right to push back into the lead (with a number of nail-biting dings off the post and floating pucks), Martin Jones kept his composure and helped send the game into overtime.

Overtime:

  • It was clear Nashville was in control during overtime, out-shooting the Kings four to one and keeping Jones on his toes. Unfortunately, no goals were tallied in overtime, thus throwing Nashville into its second-straight shootout.

Shootout:

  • NSH – Derek Roy – MISS
  • LAK – Jeff Carter – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – MISS
  • LAK – Marian Gaborik – MISS
  • NSH – Ryan Ellis – MISS
  • LAK – Anze Kopitar – MISS
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • LAK – Tyler Toffoli – MISS
  • NSH – Roman Josi – MISS
  • LAK – Jarret Stoll – MISS
  • NSH – James Neal – GOAL
  • LAK – Dwight King – MISS

Phew! For a second there, I thought we were going to have to go through the entire roster and then some! Both goaltenders, Rine and Jones, were on point and one was going to have to budge sooner or later. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, it was Martin Jones who cracked first, a kid who only moved up into the NHL from a stint in the AHL last season. However, the kid is good – when others would flinch under the sight of a Shea Weber cannon, Jones stood tall. With this SO win (and St. Louis’ loss in a shootout against the Senators), the Predators are back atop the Central Division, but St. Louis is still biting Nashville’s heels. The Predators are back in action tomorrow night for a Turkey Day throw-down with our friends from the North, the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers, who have lost their last five games and are sitting dead at the bottom of the Pacific Division, will be another possible “Florida Panthers scenario” if the Preds don’t mind their p’s and q’s. By assuming Nashville will overpower and kick the Oilers to the curb is as inaccurate as they come. The Oilers are due and win and punting Nashville on an American holiday is just what the doctor ordered.

Close Call: Preds edge Panthers in SO

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Ahh, the Florida Panthers. Other than a bout in the preseason, Nashville and Sunrise haven’t met until now in the regular season; and boy, are the numbers lopsided: 7-5-6 for Florida and 13-5-2 for Nashville. However, as you should know from us, we aren’t about numbers. Numbers do not foretell who is going to come out on fire or who’s going to have a bad night. You have to give the Panthers some credit; facing multiple injuries that have forced them to call up some young, inexperienced-in-the-NHL talent and the embarrassing low attendance numbers and home games, Florida has just about everything (including the world) against them. The Predators may be riding high at the top of the Central Division right now, but lest we forget – in the not so distant past – Nashville was scraping the barrel and rumors of movement were floating about. Heck, Nashville still has a long, bumpy road ahead – the Predators are not immune to being out-powered and/or outnumbered.

First Period:

  • No goals for either side in the first period, but Nashville took a few shots that just couldn’t connect with the goal – 14 to be precise. Florida, on the other hand, only managed four shots-on-goal during the first period.

Second Period:

  • The second period would, for the most part, feel just like the first one, with Nashville slamming Robert Luongo with shots left and right, but none connecting.
  • Finally, at 18:26, Colin Wilson would make one of those shots connect, sending his third goal of the season around Luongo to put Nashville on the board. Calle Jarnkrok (3) and Craig Smith (5) would gather the assists.

Third Period:

  • Matt Cullen would put Nashville up 2-0 at 13:01 for his third goal of the season, with a little assistance from Derek Roy (6).
  • But here’s where it gets dicey: At 19:17, when you think Nashville has a shutout in the bag, Rocco Grimaldi sinks one on Rinne to put the Panthers on the board.
  • Not even twelve seconds later, Nick Bjugstad sends one past Pekka Rinne, tying the game and throwing it into overtime.
  • And this, boys and girls, is why you do not lower your guard until the final whistle is blown and “All I do is Win” comes over the speakers.

Overtime:

  • Five minutes of overtime produced zero goals, with Florida getting no shots on goal and Nashville only pounding five.

Shootout:

  • NSH – Derek Roy – MISS
  • FLA – Jonathan Huberdeau – MISS
  • NSH – Ryan Ellis – MISS
  • FLA – Jussi Jokinen – MISS
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • FLA – Nick Bjugstad – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – GOAL
  • FLA – Brad Boyes – MISS

What should have been a game bagged in regulation turned sour pretty quickly for Nashville in the last few seconds of the third period. Thankfully, overtime and a shootout shook them out of la-la land and back into the game. As I mentioned above, never lower your guard; never assume you have the game won. The Predators welcome in the defending Stanley Cup Champs, the Los Angeles Kings, on Tuesday night and then welcome in the Edmonton Oilers for a header on Turkey Day.