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 narrow past Red Wings in OT, 4-3

Craig Smith picks up his first goal of the season against Detroit

After Monday’s rough ending against the Colorado Avalanche, the Predators had two choices: either shake it off and prepare themselves for the first meeting of the season against the Detroit Red Wings or let frustration take over and destroy any chance of making a recovery. What did the Predators ultimately choose to do as they welcomed Jordin Tootoo and the rest of the Motor City to Nashville Tuesday night?

FIRST PERIOD

  • Craig Smith took the first strike, sending a wrister past Jimmy Howard at 5:01 to seal his first “regulation” goal of the season (he has done his share of shootout goals) and also on the powerplay. Colin Wilson, who continues to dominate in points, picked up his eighth assist of the season, along with Shea Weber who picked up his fourth.
  • A little over five minutes later, Gabriel Bourque notched his fourth goal of the season with a tip-in at 10:41. Scott Hannan (first assist) and Mike Fisher (fourth assist) would nab the assists on Bourque’s goal.
  • Detroit goaltender, Jimmy Howard would be pulled after Bourque’s goal, but not from a terrible performance or an injury sustained in the game. Howard had been suffering from blurred vision, but professed that he was fine in practice Tuesday morning. But during game time, his vision just wasn’t up to par to face the Predators.
  • The Predators wouldn’t hold their 2-0 lead for long, for Detroit had a short-handed goal up their sleeves. Daniel Cleary broke free on the Predators’ powerplay and slipped a wrister past Pekka Rinne to put Detroit on the board at 15:01. Pavel Datsyuk picked up the assist.

SECOND PERIOD

  • The second period would produce no goals, but plenty of action left both sides frustrated and exhausted. Nashville would out-shoot Detroit 12 to 7, but backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was everywhere the Predators wanted to be.

THIRD PERIOD

  • A costly mistake by Kevin Klein at 11:33 gave Detroit its second goal of the game, awarding the goal to former Pred, Jordin Tootoo. As pressure took to the net, Klein accidentally knocked the puck into his own goal.
  • Roman Josi would quickly give the Predators the upper-hand once again at 12:54 for his first goal of the season. His first goal was also unassisted.
  • Just as Josi put Nashville up 3-2, Detroit fought back, with Pavel Datsyuk nailing his eighth goal of the season, tying the game at 3.

OVERTIME

  • Nashville wasn’t going to see yet another shootout, with Shea Weber sealing the winning goal in OT at just 44 seconds into the period. Weber’s third goal of the season was assisted by Sergei Kostitsyn (fifth assist) and Colin Wilson (ninth assist).

 

MUSINGS:

  • Patric Hornqvist’s presence was well-received on home ice after missing the last ten games (excluding Monday on the road). Hornqvist led the Predators in shots-on-goal with four against the Red Wings, which doesn’t sound like too much, but he did take twelve shots alone the night before against Colorado. Considering he has only played in two games and has garnered sixteen shots-on-goal? Yea, Patric is creating chances that other players just can’t do; though Colin Wilson has been giving Patric a run for his money.
  • Paul Gaustad, still nursing an upper-body injury, was missing from action against Detroit as expected. Nashville took the hit on face-offs, losing the majority of them against the Red Wings. Hal Gill was scratched, along with Brian McGrattan, who is spending some quality time in Milwaukee.
  • Shea Weber may have found his rhythm, picking up an assist and a goal, his first game with two points. Weber has already notched his third goal of the season, hopefully giving us all a collective sigh of relief for the Captain.
  • Rich Clune is pulling out his checkbook, as he has been fined for boarding Colorado Avalanche forward Aaron Palushaj during Monday’s game. In the amount of $1,452.70 (half of his daily salary), the fine will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Brendan Shanahan has been awfully busy for such a short season…
  • Head Coach Barry Trotz has taken on a new title: Longest tenured coach in the National Hockey League. The Buffalo Sabres fired Lindy Ruff, who had been with the team for sixteen years, passing the title on to Barry Trotz.

 

The Predators almost let the Red Wings slip away with the win, but a win’s a win (even in OT) against Detroit. The Predators were given a rare two day break before facing the Vancouver Canucks for the first time tomorrow night.

Until then,
GO PREDS