Preds silence Ducks 3-2

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Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

After knocking off the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night 7-0, the Predators were looking to extend that momentum against the Ducks last night in their last meeting of the 2015-16 season (weird). Nashville picked off the Ducks earlier this season on October 22nd at home with a 5-2 victory, but Anaheim got their revenge at home shortly thereafter on November 1st with a 4-2 win. After a 4-1 victory in Carolina the night before, you’d think Anaheim would be a little worn out; oh no. As usual, the boys in gold and… orange came out scrapping. Here are some highlights from last night’s Western Conference match up:

First Period
• Around 6:56 in the first period (unsurprisingly) things started to get a little heated on the ice and a fist fight finally broke out. Between who? Mike Fisher and former Vancouver Canuck, Kevin Bieksa. Even if you don’t know what last night’s finally score was, there’s a good chance you’ve still come across the video/gif of Fisher vs. Bieksa at some point today. You haven’t? Here ya go:

I swear, it gets worse the more times you watch it. Bieksa ended up heading to the locker room afterwards, but came back. Apparently, per an interview after the game was over, it was not one of his real teeth, but a fake one. I don’t know… I’m not very familiar with fake teeth, but the thing looks like it’s hanging in there by a… root.
giphy

• After the tooth incident, the Ducks took a few penalties to give Nashville several chances on the powerplay. Shea Weber sent one of his infamous slapshots past Frederik Andersen for his sixth goal of the season. Roman Josi picked up the lone assist, which just so happened to be his 100th NHL assist.

• Just over a minute later at 10:47, Rickard Rakell would tie the game at 1 with his third goal of the season.

• James Neal would notch his ninth goal of the season with a softie between Andersen’s five-hole, giving Nashville the 2-1 lead.

Second Period:
• The second period would be a little less eventful for the most part, unless you are Miikka Salomaki. The rookie notched his first goal of the season at 6:13 into the second and chased Andersen from the net. Mattias Ekholm picked up his fifth assist on Salomaki’s goal.

• Oh yea, it wasn’t uneventful either if you are Pekka Rinne. Anaheim began to wake up during the second period and it was up to Rinne to keep them out.
https://twitter.com/MCHisTweeting/status/666804533629186048Pekka made several of these moves throughout the night, stopping all but two goals (38 total).

Third Period:
• Sleepy time sort of hit Nashville during the third, which usually happens in the second period. As mentioned before, Pekka saved some serious butt (as usual). Former Predator, Mike Santorelli netted his third goal of the season for Anaheim at 5:33, leaving the Ducks just down by one point. Lucky for Nashville, their boys held it together and sealed the victory 3-2.

• But not before Kevin Bieksa left another souvenir for the Predators.

I’ll admit, I’ve never seen a broken stick launched into the netting above the glass before. It looked like a slow moving boomerang when it snapped. I’m thinking it should be left there as a reminder to always keep an eye out for flying objects.

So the real MVP of this win against the Ducks is – no doubt – Pekka Rinne.

You know, he isn’t called “The Eraser” for nothing. He has been known in the past to erase a lot of mistakes. Last night was certainly no exception. The sloppy passes are a yellow flag, in my opinion. I missed Saturday night’s game (of course) so I did not see how well their stick-handling skills were, but the previous games (Toronto, Senators, Blues) it looked pretty rough. Some teams latch onto that weakness pretty quickly, others don’t quite grasp it quick enough and Nashville slipped by with the win. Rinne looked like good ole Pekka last night and it was a very good thing. Anaheim netted 40 SOG compared to Nashville 21; as mentioned above, Peks stopped 38 of those. The Ducks, despite playing the night before, sure didn’t look like a back-to-back game team; they were out for blood and the two points.

Alas, the home stance is over and Nashville is off to another road trip. The Predators’ next game is this Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 6PM.

 

 

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 Release Opening Night Roster

opening night

Yesterday afternoon, the Predators released the finalized 23-man roster for the 2015-16 NHL season. Without further ado, here are your Nashville Predators:

FORWARDS

Smith

Forsberg

Arvidsson

Bourque

Fisher

Gaustad

Hodgson

Neal

Nystrom

Wilson

Ribeiro

watson

51(1)

DEFENSE

Bartley

Bitetto

Ekholm

Ellis

Weber

Josi

Jackman

Jones

GOALIES

Rinne

Hutton

 

So, are you surprised by who made  the roster? We certainly are happy to see that Austin Watson made the cut, as that kid has been working something hard in the AHL. The same can be said for Viktor Arvidsson, who is definitely ready for his light to shine this season.

The 2015-16 NHL season opens tonight with the Maple Leafs vs. the Canadiens, the Blackhawks vs. Rangers, the Flames vs. the Canucks, and the Kings vs. the Sharks. However, Nashville opens the season tomorrow at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Preds of the World(s)

worlds

Now that the season has officially ended (whether we want to cope with it or not), some of the Predators aren’t finished hitting the rinks just yet. Six – thus far – of Nashville’s players will be taking off to the Czech Republic to represent their home countries in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Here’s who we have thus far:

TEAM SUOMI (FINLAND): PEKKA RINNE
Pekka+Rinne+St+Louis+Blues+v+Nashville+Predators+lU_OAyWhMXml

  • Pekka was named to the World Championship All-Star team in 2014 and also won MVP that year as well.

TEAM SUISSE (SWITZERLAND): ROMAN JOSI & KEVIN FIALA
swiss

  • Kevin Fiala may be young, but he is no stranger to Team Switzerland. Fiala has competed for Suisse in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
  • Roman Josi has a number of accolades from participation with Team Switzerland, including IIHF World Champion MVP, Silver Medalist, Media All-Star Team, and Best Defenseman in 2013.

TEAM USA: Seth Jones
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  • Seth Jones, like Kevin Fiala, is no stranger to the IIHF Worlds for Team USA. Jones helped lead Team USA to gold medals in 2011 (WJC18), 2012 (WJC18), and 2013 (WJC). He played alongside teammate Craig Smith last year and helped bring Team USA to 6th place.

tre kronor (sweden): filip forsberg & mattias ekholm
ekholmforsberg-1024x576

  • Filip Forsberg has never seen less than second place while suited up for Tre Kronor, winning the silver medal in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Forsberg helped lead his World Juniors team to overall victory in 2012. In 2014, Forsberg was named World Junior Best Forward and MVP. Surprisingly, this will be Forsberg’s first bout away from World Juniors.
  • Mattias Ekholm has had as lucrative of a career with Tre Kronor has Forsberg has, but he did help Sweden collect the bronze medal last year.

Since the tournament officially begins Friday, I do not if any other Predators will be added to their country’s rosters, but who knows.

As I mentioned, the tournament kicks off Friday with Team Latvia vs. Team Canada (4:15PM) and Team Czech vs. Team Sweden (8:15PM) in the O2 Arena and Team USA vs. Team Finland (4:15PM) and Team Russia vs. Team Norway (8:15PM) in the CEZ Arena. Let me elaborate on those puck drop times, too. Those times would be relevant to those within the Czech timezone; the Czech Republic is seven hours ahead of the Central Timezone. Needless to say, the first games would start at 9:15AM our time, and the second games would start at 1:15PM. Here’s a TV listing of where you can view the games:

Date Game Network Game time (CT)
Fri., May 1 Team USA vs. Finland NBCSN (live) 9 a.m.
Sat., May 2 Team USA vs. Norway NBCSN (delay at 10 p.m.) 1 p.m.
Mon., May 4 Team USA vs. Russia NBCSN (live) 9 a.m.
Thur., May 7 Team USA vs. Belarus NBCSN (live) 9 a.m.
Fri., May 8 Team USA vs. Denmark NBCSN (live) 1 p.m.
Sun., May 10 Team USA vs. Slovenia NBCSN (delay at 2 p.m.) 10 a.m.
Tue., May 12 Team USA vs. Slovakia NBCSN (live) 10 a.m.
Thu., May 14 IIHF Quarterfinals NBCSN (live) 8 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 9 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 10:30 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 12 p.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 1 p.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 10:30 p.m.
Sat., May 16 IIHF Semifinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 8:30 a.m.
IIHF Semifinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 12 p.m.
Sun., May 17 IIHF Bronze Medal Game Live Extra app, TV TBD 11 a.m.
IIHF Gold Medal Game NBCSN (live) 1:30 p.m.

I’ll update this list if anything changes or if any new players are added to their country’s rosters.

The Morning After: Game 3

ribeiro

If only it had ended as bad as these guys made it out to be. Source: Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

Well, the Predators certainly forgot to pack that momentum in their carry-on bags from Friday on the way to Chicago because… well, we all saw the outcome of yesterday’s game. Not a complete and utter beat down, but not the heat we hoped to had seen for sure. The two goals Nashville did muster were exciting, to say the least, as they responded almost immediately after Chicago. However, after those two, there were no more follow-ups and the Blackhawks took Game 3 by a score of 4-2.

So what happened? Well, some could argue that the United Center is just a tough atmosphere for any team. Well, yea – it is, but here’s the thing: the Predators have played enough times in that arena that this should no longer be a surprise. Yes, the atmosphere during playoff hockey is a little more… unique, but these guys aren’t fresh off the boat; they know what to generally expect.

Another argument is regarding the absence of pack leaders, Shea Weber and Mike Fisher. The Predators played just fine Friday without Fisher and lit the jet fuel after Weber went out of the game. Though Weber and Fisher play significant roles on the ice, injuries like this are bound to happen and the Predators have adapted well before; unfortunately, unlike regular season, they cannot take their time figuring out a game plan. I was asked yesterday via Twitter on the health condition of Pekka Rinne; surely, he must still be injured. As much as I want to talk myself into believing that is the root cause of his awkward mistakes, it just isn’t. The only discomfort I believe he is in is the frustration of his gaffes. Unfortunately, even the best find themselves in a rut – Chicago resorted to their backup, Scott “sold my soul to the Devil to get out of the SPHL” Darling yesterday because Corey Crawford is way off his game.

No offense to Carter Hutton, but Nashville does not have someone who will all of sudden become the brick wall needed for the playoffs. After his hip surgery last season and his lengthy injury this season, many have questioned Rinne’s performance as it is easiest to blame the goaltender in these situations. However, blame cannot be solely rested upon the shoulders of the net-minder, as it takes other factors (defense) to keep a breakaway from happening in the first place.

Honestly, you could sit there and watch the replay of the game over and over and nitpick every thing that went wrong last night; so easy. The sloppy passes, bad man-to-man coverage, whatnot, but to keep a positive mindset, the First Round is far from over and anything can happen. Now that they have one playoff game under their belts in Chicago, tomorrow shouldn’t come as a shock and they should be a little more level-headed and prepared. There’s a good chance, since he traveled with the team, that Mike Fisher may be back for tomorrow’s game. Not that he’s the saving grace that’ll set everything straight, but Fisher’s authoritarian presence may be the kick in the rear end Nashville needs.

Shout out to Mike Ribeiro and Mattias Ekholm for cracking the “Darling Dam” yesterday and at least keeping the game interesting, to say the least. Now that I think about it, I am sad I forgot to post this photo:
b3c89aad8202521a49868ea0ddf2569b

Twitter Thoughts:

Fans brave Ice & Preds Win 5-1

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

How’s everyone doing during the #ICESTORM2015? What was supposed to be ideal, beautiful snow turned into hazardous, just-plain-evil ice across the entire state. In fact, it has been so bad, Tennessee officials declared a State of Emergency. Needless to say, the attendance for tonight’s game against the 29-21-8 San Jose Sharks wasn’t expected to be a sellout. However, the fear of being stranded somewhere along one of the deserted interstates tonight didn’t stop the Loyal Legion from turning out.

NOTEWORTHY (PRE-GAME):

  • As mentioned in the previous post, Anthony Bitetto was recalled last minute by Nashville to fill a void in the defense (Anton Volchenkov was placed on IR).
  • However, where Bitetto made the flight to Nashville, his equipment bad did not. This left Nashville with a ton more forwards than defensemen.
  • Nashville’s solution? During warmups, Viktor Stalberg – who just cleared waivers not even 24-hours ago – was paired on the defense with Seth Jones…
  • Just before puck drop, Viktor Stalberg was declared the healthy scratch and Anthony Bitetto was given the green light.
  • But… the team was down to just five d-men for a few minutes, as Bitetto’s bag arrived a little after game start.
  • Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli did not make their return tonight due to issues with their work visas. So… they don’t already have those?

SCRATCHES:

  • Viktor Stalberg, Cody Franson, and Mike Santorelli

FIRST PERIOD:

  • San Jose’s Matt Irwin (5) drew the first blood at 5:26, sending a wrister past Pekka Rinne.
  • Shea Weber quickly tied it up at 13:42 with his signature slapshot, his 14th goal of the season. Mike Fisher (15) picked up the assist.
  • Craig Smith took a chunk of Alex Stalock at 16:02, collecting his 17th goal of the season with a wrister. Mattias Ekholm (9) and Mike Ribeiro (36) tally the assists.
  • Preds end the first period up 2-1 on the Sharks, though San Jose out-shoots Nashville 17 to 15.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Just 52 seconds into the period, Craig Smith notched his second goal of the season (18) on the powerplay. Colin Wilson (20) and Seth Jones (15) punch the assists.
  • Paul Gaustad wanted a piece of the pie and got his at 1:43, his second goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (6) and Shea Weber (28) pick up the assists on Gaustad’s wrister.
  • James Neal would finish off the second period with his 20th goal of the season at 10:31. Mike Ribeiro (37) collects the lone assist.
  • San Jose out-shot Nashville 15 to 13.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • No goals in the third.
  • San Jose out-shot Nashville in each period, this time 11 to 9.

NOTEWORTHY (POST GAME):

  • Pekka Rinne is a beast indeed (not that you needed any convincing). You know he’s doing big things when NHL takes notice:

  • James Neal is the first on the roster to reach 20 goals and he now has 7-straight 20-goal seasons.
  • Both Shea Weber and Mike Fisher are now on three-game point streaks.
  • Another reminder of how great Rinne is:
  • Pekka stopped 42 of 43 shots-on-goal tonight. Tell me he isn’t Vezina worthy.
  • The Predators now hold a six-point lead over the entire NHL.

With this win, the Predators are just seven wins away from clinching a playoff spot (and it isn’t even March yet) and are now 39-12-6. Wowza. The Preds take off for a three-game road trip to the East, starting with the New York Islanders on Thursday.

First Career Call Up to NSH for Taylor Aronson

Source: Section303.com

Source: Section303.com

In a late afternoon decision, the Predators have called up defenseman Taylor Aronson from Milwaukee to join the team against Winnipeg tonight. Here’s an excerpt from the official presser:

…David Poile announced Thursday that the team has recalled defenseman Taylor Aronson from Milwaukee (AHL) and reassigned forward Viktor Stalberg to the Admirals. This is Aronson’s first career recall and he will wear No. 50 with the Predators.

Aronson, 23 (12/30/91), leads Milwaukee defensemen, and is tied for 10th among all AHL blueliners, in points (3g-23a-26pts) while appearing in 45 of the team’s 48 games in 2014-15. A native of Placentia, Calif., the 6-1, 196-pounder is also tied for second among AHL defensemen in assists and power-play assists (12).

Nashville’s second choice, 78th overall (third round), in the 2010 Entry Draft, becomes the fourth member of the draft class to spend time with the team, and the third Portland Winterhawk on the active roster, joining Seth Jones and Paul Gaustad.

Oh yea, Viktor Stalberg’s headed back to the Admirals. Sorry, bud. So, who is Aronson covering for tonight? What defenseman is missing? You’d say Mattias Ekholm, but Anthony Bitetto is still in Nashville with the team; plus, Ekholm skated with the team this morning, suggesting he may be in tonight. Shea Weber did not attend practice this morning, but I am not even going down that road. It looks like it’ll be a game time decision as to if Aronson even makes his debut tonight and if Weber (or someone else) is out.

Ryan Ellis: Is He Nashville’s Trade Bait?

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Before I get started, please note that this is just my opinion and my speculation. If I end up being right, that’ll be cool; if not, no big deal!
With the trade deadline fast approaching (March 2nd), the rumors are bound to fly and who does Nashville have that could be trade-worthy? Remember, in order to get something good, you have to give up something good in return (i.e. a player, draft pick, or a combination of both). That player, in my opinion, could be Ryan Ellis.

Before you implode, I personally think Ellis is a good fit with where he is; I’d rather not see him get traded away. However, he may be the only aspect Nashville would be willing to part with and still get what they need.

Ellis, though doing exceptionally well under Peter Laviolette’s system, is actually down in points from last year (a time when some people thought then that his trade value was decreasing). However, he could still surpass those numbers this season (27 overall last season, just 18 so far this season), but where is he?

Yes, I am aware he is listed on the Injured Reserve, but you usually hear updates periodically during this stance as to a player’s condition. Ryan Ellis? The last thing I find reported on his condition was from Tom Willis on February 6th:

And even this does not give a “yea or nay” as to how he’s coming along since suffering a lower-body injury back on January 8th against the Dallas Stars. What I thought was just an ankle sprain must’ve been much more, as he has missed fourteen games since then; and the Predators aren’t slowing down without him. Mattias Ekholm, who is normally paired with Ellis, has done exceptionally well without his counterpart, though an injury from Sunday’s bout in Florida has him sidelined.

Ah, but he signed a five-year, $12.5M contract extension back in August, which caused a bit of controversy, if my memory serves me correctly. That, unfortunately, doesn’t exactly matter; if Nashville can get what they want out of a deal, they’ll take it. A good example would be this past off-season when Nashville traded Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward James Neal. Hornqvist was signed to a five-year, $21.25M extension at the end of the 2012-13 shortened lockout season, but was dealt to the Penguins just a year and two months after his five-year contract went into effect. And you know you never thought Hornqvist would ever be traded; don’t lie.

Another prime example? Kevin Klein. Nashville signed Klein to a five-year, $14.5M contract extension in September of 2012, but traded him off to the New York Rangers for Michael Del Zotto just a year and four months into his extension. So, needless to say, although Ellis’ contract will come into play if Nashville does consider him for trade, it won’t play a huge factor if they can get what they want.

Another, more interesting topic to point out is… Where is Ryan Ellis’ jersey on the GnashVegas auction block? A far stretch into me searching for reasons as to why Ellis would be up for trade consideration, but a clue nonetheless. Check out all the auction items here, if you haven’t seen the list yet. Ellis is a popular player and still on the organization’s roster; so where’s his jersey? Heck, they even have a Marek Mazanec and Vince Gill jersey up for bid. Just a speculation, but if he is up for trade, who would want to bid upwards to $600 for a jersey, only to have that player traded right afterwards? Who knows, maybe that’s not even on the Predators radar and they just haven’t gotten his jersey up there yet. But, my lovely sister (you may know her as @Hutch8504 on Twitter) pointed that out to me last night while at the game and it piqued my interest.

Beyond all those factors, Ryan Ellis has trade worth. His history of junior hockey achievements is what ignited Nashville’s interest in him back at the 2009 NHL Draft, chosen 11th overall and that performance could enhance his trade value. Another factor is that he is on a team with the best defense in the league; any team struggling with this component would bite at the chance to snag Ryan Ellis.

Again, all of this is just my two cents: take it or leave it. But, if Ryan Ellis is a trade factor, who would you like to see Nashville claim? Personally, I’m liking the thought of bringing Cody Franson back or possibly even Phil Kessel. Evander Kane was on my radar at one point, but then he went all MIA and yea, Nashville doesn’t need that (see: Andrei Kostitsyn & Alexander Radulov take Phoenix). That, and Kane was just traded to the Buffalo Sabres (along with Zach Bogosian, and goaltending prospect Jason Kasdorf) for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects Brendan Lemieux and Joel Armia, along with a 2015 first-round draft pick. Good gravy.

Ah, the fun of speculation and rumors abound before the NHL Trade Deadline. It never ceases to fail us… for the most part.

Preds take Lightning 3-2 with OT Winner

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Has it decided that the Predators love the game so much they just have to beyond regulation? Or am I – and everyone else – just suffering from a case of déjà vu? Either way you slice it, the Predators are coming out with the two points — whilst doling a point to their given opponent. The Tampa Bay Lightning are just as their name perceives – lightning fast and that trait has helped boost them to the top of the Eastern Conference and fourth in the league (tied at 74 points with the Blues who have one less loss than the Bolts). The Predators have more of a “if I can setup the play, I’ll just dump it” mentality, which has gotten better this season than in the past, but with a in-your-face team like Tampa Bay, the Predators needed to be a little more risqué when it comes to shooting the puck… at the net.

SCRATCHES: Mattias Ekholm, Colin Wilson, Olli Jokinen

FIRST PERIOD:

  • For the third game in a row, neither team was able to get one in the net during the third period. Chalk this one up to both Pekka Rinne and Andrei Vasilevskiy just being on point. Rinne blocked ten shots-on-goal while Vasilevskiy blocked his eight shots. I mean, look what this kid did to rob Mike Ribeiro:

SECOND PERIOD:

  • In only his second NHL Career game, Anthony Bitetto – who was called up to fill in for the injured Mattias Ekholm – dropped the gloves against Brett Connolly. Bitetto did so to defend fellow player Craig Smith, which made a fairly good impression on his teammates – that, and Bitetto clearly won the bout.
  • Seth Jones would finally get the blood flowing at 8:31 with his 6th goal of the season. Viktor Stalberg (4) and Anton Volchenkov (5) nabbed the assists.
  • Just four minutes later, Taylor Beck would put Nashville up 2-0 at 12:47, his fifth goal of the season. Paul Gaustad (9) and Eric Nystrom (5) would tally the assists.
  • Nashville would own the second period, sending 11 shots-on-goal compared to Tampa Bay’s eight.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Ah, but the Lightning weren’t going down without a fight. At just 1:20 into the third, Brett Connolly made up for losing his bout with Bitetto and sent a wrister whizzing past Rinne, his 10th of the season.
  • And, just seven minutes later, Nikita Kucherov would tie the game at 7:50 with a slapshot, his 21st of the season.
  • The Predators just couldn’t muster up another goal (nor could Tampa Bay) so thus the déjà vu of bonus hockey returns.

OVERTIME:

  • In what everyone deemed was going into a shootout, James Neal had other plans. Breaking the puck away with less than 30 seconds left in overtime, Neal connected on a wrister to win the game, his 18th goal of the season. Roman Josi (28) and Matt Cullen (7) assisted in the winner.

NOTEWORTHY:

  • Viktor Stalberg, who was called up to fill in for the ailing Colin Wilson, saw 11:43 of ice time walked away with one point (assist).
  • With the trade deadline fast approaching (March 2nd), will Nashville make a move? No doubt they will, but in order to get something good, you’ve got to trade something good in return (whether that be a player, draft pick, or a combination of both). With no word on Ryan Ellis’ return (and the fact his jersey has no appeared in the GnashVegas auction), my guess is Ellis will be up for trade bait. Yes, he did just recently sign a five-year, $12.5M contract, but remember, we traded Patric Hornqvist off during his five-year contract extension, too (just one year after he signed it).
  • Colin Wilson may be ready to return within the next game or two, as he was practicing with the team yesterday morning.
  • With just ten more wins, Nashville can secure a playoff spot. That, and they are just two points from being the first team to reach 80 points this season. Me gusta.

If you missed last night’s game, then you surely don’t want to miss tomorrow’s against the Winnipeg Jets, a division rival that’s clawing for a playoff spot. Winnipeg is twelve points behind Nashville, but has won their last two; they’ll be looking to knock of the league leader for sure tomorrow night.

Bitetto & Stalberg Recalled to NSH

PicMonkey Collage

I’m a little behind on the hockey news today due to teaching some local high school students about Marketing (woop, woop) so hopefully, you are too by reading this. Due to injuries sustained by both Colin Wilson (Saturday night against the Rangers) and Mattias Ekholm (Sunday against the Panthers), both Anthony Bitetto and Viktor Stalberg were recalled from the Milwaukee Admirals to fill their void.

Bitetto, who has already been called up once this season (made his NHL debut back on January 17th against Detroit) and… sorry Stalberg, we’ve lost count. Colin Wilson did join the team for their morning skate, but Head Coach Peter Laviolette did not go into details on whether or not he’ll be back in the lineup tonight or not.

The Predators take on the #3 team in the League, the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and, since it won’t be broadcasted tonight, you better be jumping on some tickets.