Preds rally to beat Arizona 5-2

Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Oh wow, I am actually getting a chance to update the blog! For those of you who have been waiting patiently, thank you. I am wrapping up my senior year at Tennessee Tech and – along with work – it has me pressed for any kinds of free time. It’s worth it though, really.

Any who, enough excuses — What excuse does Nashville have with this scoring drought their experiencing? Since I last posted an article, the Predators have had twelve goals in six games. Okay, so it’s not all about how many you can score — this is hockey, not basketball. Well, what if I told you, in those six games, Nashville tallied 198 shots-on-goal. Needless to say, it isn’t a matter of why aren’t the Predators taking shots (because they clearly are), it’s why can’t they put the biscuit in the basket? Which teammate pissed off the hockey gods? Well, let’s just move forward into the recap, shall we?

PRE-GAME:
• Nashville recalled forward Cody Bass to replace the injured Colin Wilson. While we aren’t 100% sure how or when Wilson got hurt, we want to believe it has something to do with this:

FIRST PERIOD:
• Arizona would get the ball rolling first at 17:20 on a powerplay goal from Oliver Ekman-Larsson for his sixth goal of the season.
• Despite knocking 13 shots-on-goal compared to Arizona’s 4, the Predators trailed the Coyotes going into the second period 1-0.
• Oh, and Pekka was doing #JustPekkaThings again:

SECOND PERIOD:
• Mike Fisher went down in an awkward stance, leading to him slowly limping off the ice.

While it doesn’t look like much, he did not return to the game and is expected to be our for the next four games.
• Calle Jarnkrok would finally slip one past Mike Smith at 12:32 on the powerplay for his fifth goal of the season. Shea Weber (5) and Filip Forsberg (11) would tally the assists.

• However, Kyle Chipchura would answer at 17:09 to retake the lead going into the third period.

THIRD PERIOD:
• At 2:33, Mike Ribeiro did something we never thought he’d do… he shot and scored for his third goal of the season! Cody Hodgson picked up his fourth assist as well.

• Two minutes later, at 4:49, Filip Forsberg would end his goal-less streak for his fourth goal of the season. Craig Smith (3) and Shea Weber (6) collected the assists.

• Nashville looked like they were on pace to hit 4-2 when James Neal was practically handed an empty net after catching Mike Smith out of his element:

Ah, but he released his inner Craig Smith and completely woofed it. Whoops.
• But Filip Forsberg would answer the Frosty call at 17:01 with a beautiful feed from Mike Ribeiro for his fifth goal of the season. Ribeiro would collect his eleventh assist along with Shea Weber who collected his seventh.

• James Neal would make up for that missed opportunity at 19:10 with an empty-netter to seal the game 5-2 in favor of Nashville. Neal would notch his 10th goal, along with Roman Josi picking up his 11th assist.

While Nashville certainly woke up in the third period, is their scoreless streak finally over? I wouldn’t bet my money on it just yet. While they are making a consistent effort, something just isn’t connecting. Coach Laviolette made some notable line change-ups last night that aided in securing the win, but there is still a missing element. With the need of a top center added to the roster and the possible loss of Mike Fisher for a good while, Nashville may find itself in a toughie for a bit. Maybe not. Who knows.

The Predators welcome in Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers tomorrow night at 7PM.

Ugly OT Win breaks Preds 6-Game Losing Streak

Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Call it what you will: ugly, gritty, rough, etc., but the Predators pulled out the two-points over the Arizona Coyotes to end their six-game losing streak last night.

SCRATCHED: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok, Eric Nystrom, Anton Volchenkov

FIRST PERIOD:

  • The Predators came out with a little more fire under their belts, but goaltender Louis Domingue interrupted all 13 SOG that Nashville mustered. For someone who has only tended NHL ice once previously to this match, Domingue brought his A-game; a testament to his solid abilities.
  • Pekka was on point, too, last night, blocking all nine shots-on-goal from the Coyotes in the first period.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • At 3:26 into the second period, Paul Gaustad collected his third goal of the season with assistance from Taylor Beck (7).
  • Both Arizona and Nashville were given two power play opportunities, but neither could capitalize on the advantage.
  • The Coyotes out-shot the Predators eleven to eight.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • At 7:27 into the third, the Coyotes set the game with a tip-in from Kyle Chipchura, his 4th goal of the season.
  • Nashville was awarded three power play chances in the third, including one that would follow up to the end of regulation, but they were unable to connect.
  • The Predators out-shot the Coyotes twelve to eight in the third period.

OVERTIME:

  • James Neal came to the rescue, scoring his 22nd goal of the season just 2:45 in overtime. Seth Jones (17) and Cody Franson (29) tallied the assists on Neal’s game-winning-goal.

POST GAME NOTES:

  • The Predators are now 8-0-1 when Paul Gaustad notches a point during the span of a game.
  • Nashville is also 9-1-2 when Viktor Stalberg is in the lineup.
  • Gaustad’s goal ends another poignant streak; the eleven-straight games without tallying the first goal. Reminder: six of those eleven resulted in losses.
  • Cody Franson tallied his first point with the Predators since being traded to the team back in February (and, if we want to get really technical, his first points with the Preds since the 2010-11 season).
  • With two points, the Predators jump the Anaheim Ducks to reclaim first in the Western Conference and league. That’s an amazing stat in its own, that Nashville was able to lose six-straight and still bounce back into the lead with one win.
  • Pekka Rinne now has 199 career wins and the Predators franchise now has their 599th win.

The Predators aren’t out of hot water just yet; oh no. Nashville heads further west, taking on all three teams in California before making it back home on Tuesday to face the Minnesota Wild. The Sharks, who Nashville plays Thursday night at 9:30PM, will be desperately looking for a win as they are sitting in fifth in the Pacific Division and just one point behind the Kings.

Preds gain Momentum in Game 3, Fall Hard in Game 4

The Game Ops Department really stepped up for Round 2

After A. Kostitsyn and Radulov’s curfew incident, it would be up to the rest of the team to take the reins and prove to the NHL world that, even though some of their players aren’t taking the playoffs seriously, there are others who are willing to step up and earn their place on the ice. Lady Preds has had a busy weekend, so we apologize for not having Wednesday and Friday’s games up earlier, but we shall condense them both into one post for your viewing pleasure. Here are the highlights from Game 3 and Game 4 in Nashville.

GAME 3 – WEDNESDAY NIGHT:

  • For their first game at home for Round 2 against Phoenix, Nashville’s Game Ops department really stepped up to amp up the fans. With laser etchings of the Predators logos, a catfish, the players numbers and even signatures, it was hard not to be completely mesmerized. Here’s a video of it shot by a fan:
  • With AK46 and Rads suspended for the night, two hungry bench-warmers got the chance to prove themselves on the ice Wednesday night. Those two? None other than Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo. Although we wouldn’t deem Hali a bench-warmer, he has been sitting out a few games due to an ailing injury. Tootoo, on the other hand, has been warming the bench during the playoffs, so proving his worth and not losing focus was key for the enforcer. Also getting another shot on the ice was Mr. Controversy himself, Colin Wilson. Brian McGrattan, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen and Ryan Ellis topped out the scratched list.
  • David Legwand took advantage of a scoring opportunity at 8:10 in the 1st, notching his 3rd goal of the playoffs. Gabriel Bourque (2nd Assist) picked up the lone assist on Leggy’s wrister past Mike Smith.
  • Mike Fisher would counter Legwand’s goal at 9:16 of the 1st, grabbing his first goal of the playoffs thus far. Sergei Kostitsyn (1st Assist) and Martin Erat (3rd Assist) picked up the assists.
  • Nashville would hold the 2-0 lead over Phoenix in both the second and the third periods, giving the Predators their first playoff win in this series against the Coyotes. David Legwand tried pressing the Predators further with a second goal of his own, but the goal was inevitably ruled as an “intent to blow” call.
  • Nashville took control of the game defensively, with Pekka Rinne blocking all 32 shots on goal, his first shutout of the 2012 playoffs. The Predators gave the Coyotes four power play chances, but Nashville’s defense stepped up when needed and held Phoenix at bay to seal the win. Here are the four penalty offenders:
  1. Mike Fisher – 11:04 1st Period – Interference
  2. David Legwand – 15:39 1st Period – Hooking
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 12:59 3rd Period – Hooking
  4. Martin Erat – 14:18 3rd Period – Tripping
  • Interesting note: Although all four players took 2 minutes in the penalty box, each man collected a point in the game winner for the Preds.
  • The Predators proved that a snide incident involving two irresponsibly players would not phase them while fighting for the Stanley Cup. However, Nashville would have to come out with the same intensity on Friday to keep them from falling deeper into the hole…
GAME 4 – FRIDAY NIGHT:

  •  After a stellar performance on Wednesday night, it was obvious why Coach Barry Trotz did not put Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn back in the lineup. However, would Phoenix expect this out of Trotz and anticipate Nashville’s every move? From its outcome, it looks as if Nashville fell right into Phoenix’s trap, which was for the Predators to come out and play the exact same way on Wednesday.
  • After getting bruised and beaten on Wednesday, Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo took the place of AK46 and Radulov once again, with both players showing great determination on Wednesday. Colin Wilson also came out, once again, proving his puck-handling skills are worth the ice time. Jack Hillen, Brian McGrattan, Ryan Ellis, and Craig Smith continued on the scratched list.
  • Paul Gaustad and Kyle Chipchura dropped the gloves in the first period, with the announcers originally calling Gaustad as Kevin Klein. Here is the video of the two knuckle heads:
  • Rostislav Klesla wasted no time pummeling the Predators, sending already bruised and beaten Matt Halischuk violently into the boards. Klesla was only given a minor penalty of 2 minutes, but Brendan Shanahan ruled this afternoon that Klesla will be suspended for one game (Game 5) due to his unsportsmanlike hit. Luckily, Halischuk was not seriously injured. The video of the hit is below, but you can check out Shanahan’s take on the hit here.
  • Coyotes captain Shane Doan would scored shortly after Klesla’s hit on Halischuk at 14:52, his third goal of the playoffs.
  • At one point during the third period, Nashville was able to slip the puck past Mike Smith for a goal, but in true NHL referee fashion, the goal was waved off due to an “intention to blow” call. This is the second consecutive goal that has been waved off for Nashville due to this “unbelievable” call. Although completely overrun in the first period, the Predators pressured hard in the second and third periods, but were unable to slip past the Coyotes defense.
  • Nashville out-shot Phoenix by one (25 to 24), but even with all the potential chances the Predators were given, Nashville just wasn’t able to pull one out. It also did not help that Phoenix was out to weaken the Predators, pummeling them left and right into the boards.
  • Both Nashville and Phoenix had the same amount of power play chances at three, but neither team was able to capitalize on their advantage. Here are the three Predators offenders of the first period:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 1:30 1st Period – Interference
  2. Paul Gaustad – 10:00 1st Period – Fighting
  3. Gabriel Bourque – 15:55 1st Period – Slashing

Although coming out with an intensity that can only be described as Predators hockey on Wednesday night, Nashville’s flame completely burned out on Friday, not what the Predators needed in order to contend for the Cup. It was clear Phoenix was completely and utterly prepared for Nashville to play the exact same way they did on Wednesday, which is one of the major flaws in the way Barry Trotz coaches. Now, don’t get us wrong, Trotz is an outstanding coach… in the regular season. However, teams anticipate opponents to fall to familiarity, and Nashville did just that on Friday night. They played it safe and kept the same lineups and plays as Wednesday, giving Phoenix the completely advantage. The one change that was noted was that SK74 was bumped from the star lineup and replaced with Colin Wilson. And, a question we ask, why wasn’t Paul Gaustad in the face-offs? With the highest winning percentage, why did he not get first choice in face-offs?

We could ask questions like these all day until our faces turn blue, but what ultimately matters now is that the Predators stitch themselves back up, change it up a bit, and come out swinging in Glendale tomorrow night. With the Stanley Cup on the line, if Nashville is as hunger as they think they are, tomorrow will not even be a factor.

Until then,
GO PREDS