Playoff Bound: Coyotes punch Nashville’s Ticket

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Original Image Source: Google Images

Be sure to give the Arizona Coyotes a big thank you as it was with their 2-1 win over the L.A. Kings last night that officially punched Nashville’s ticket into the 2017 NHL Playoffs. With this berth, the Predators now have three consecutive playoff appearances with ten out of thirteen seasons overall. So, needless to say, Nashville is no stranger to the playoffs, but surpassing the second round has always seemed to allude the team.

So, now that Nashville is officially in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup this season, who will fight them for it? If the playoffs were to begin today, that lucky opponent would be the ever-so-popular Chicago Blackhawks. As you might agree, that isn’t exactly in Nashville’s favor. However, there is still a slim (and by slim, I mean really slim) chance that Nashville could be matched up with either Minnesota or whomever wins the Pacific Division. With only three games left in the regular season for the Predators, as I mentioned, the odds aren’t in Nashville’s favor. But, to keep a little optimism going here, all is not lost if Nashville faces Chicago in the first round. Is it the most ideal? Absolutely not for a number of reasons, but stranger things have happened. However, with Nashville’s consistent inconsistency this season, it will certainly be an uphill battle no matter who the Predators are ultimately paired with in the first round.

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Subban named Captain in 2017 All-Star Weekend

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Image Source: Sanford Myers/Getty Images

Despite his nagging upper-body injury, P.K. Subban was named the Central Division Captain for the 2017 NHL All Star Weekend. Based on fan voting from December 1st to January 2nd, Subban beat out several other Central Division contenders for the title, including Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Joining Subban as captains of their respective divisions include Sidney Crosby (Metropolitan), Carey Price (Atlantic), and Connor McDavid (Atlantic). Other attendees of the All Star Weekend in Los Angeles will be announced at a later date.

The festivities, which will be held January 28th and 29th would be right around the time Subban is expected to return from his upper-body injury (good news). If healthy, this will be Subban’s second All Star appearance — yes, his All Star debut was at last year’s in Nashville.

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Preds buyout Jackman Contract

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Image Source: The Tennessean

So who all woke up this morning thinking the Weber/Subban trade was all a dream? Yeah, it’s still hard to wrap your mind around and it’ll be a while before it all sinks in. But, while you continue to process that information, the Predators camp is far from settling down.

Early this afternoon, it was announced that the Predators bought out the contract of veteran defenseman Barret Jackman. Jackman (35), who was signed to a two-year, $4 million contract on July 1, 2015, spent his first 16 years with Central Division rival St. Louis Blues. With this buyout, the Predators now have around $9.3 million in available cap space, which could mean additional assets are on the horizon (free agency starts tomorrow).

Jackman’s buyout came as a surprise to just about everyone as he brought an exceptional veteran presence to not only the ice, but off ice as well. This move, as mentioned above, could signify that David Poile has his eye on someone special.

Though he was part of the organization for less than a year (by one day), Barret Jackman played a significant role with Nashville and its push towards the Cup. I wish him well in his future with the league and/or beyond.

Preds crush Blues 5-0

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Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

There’s no doubt St. Louis Blues fans travel well; at least to Nashville, anyway. And, with it being a rare Saturday afternoon game, there was certainly no shortage of Blues fans in the Bridgestone Arena for today’s match up. As I heard a St. Louis fan near me, “Well, looks like St. Louis’ll have the home advantage tonight!” I couldn’t help but giggle as the Predators silenced the Blues travelers from the moment the puck dropped.

As I mentioned in my previous post regarding the victory over Chicago in the United Center, Pekka Rinne has undoubtedly regained his groove and today’s game only helped solidify this notion. While Nashville certainly came out with more fire than the Blues both offensively and defensively, Rinne was still put to the test several times. Notching his fourth shutout this season, Rinne put a stop to all 28 shots on goal from the St. Louis Blues, while his fellow teammates snagged four goals on Jake Allen and one on backup Pheonix (yes, that’s spelled correctly) Copley. Attributing to Rinne’s rebound is Carter Hutton’s impressive performance of late, which has given Pekka a chance to rest — something he’s needed desperately. With division-leading Dallas coming in Tuesday, Rinne will certainly need to be net, but Hutton should definitely be called to lead against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Moving on to goal scoring, Craig Smith would get Nashville started early in the game, notching his 14th goal of the season at 5:39. Mike Ribeiro (34) and Filip Forsberg (20) would collect the assists. Smith’s goal would be the only snagged in the first period, but that didn’t mean there was a lack of momentum by a long shot.

The man of the hour, Filip Forsberg, would essentially own the second period, collecting his second natural hat trick in this week alone. That’s a feat that hasn’t be done since Peter Bondra did it in eight games back in the 1987-88 season. Yeah, I wasn’t even born yet and Forsberg wasn’t even a glimmer in his mother’s eye. Naturally, this was also a first in Predators history as Forsberg is the first to register multiple hat tricks in one season.

I have to hand it to you, Mr. Poile. Martin Erat, who demanded a trade to anywhere as long as he could get out of Nashville (so he could have a chance to win a Stanley Cup) is now sitting on six goals with Omsk Avangard in the KHL. Nashville snagged a questionable rookie from Washington who turned out to be arguably one of the best forwards in the league while Erat mustered a total of two goals with Washington before demanding to be traded from there, too. As long as Forsberg continues to perform in the manner that he is, I’d hang my hat on this trade too, David Poile.

Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg aren’t the only two to score today for Nashville, oh no. The long awaited goal from Colin Wilson came at 4:37 in the third period, his fifth of the season. Wilson’s name has been pretty prominent of late, mostly due to being involved with trade talks; more specifically, a trade between he and former Predator Scott Hartnell. While only one reputable source has mentioned this trade with some sort of seriousness, as of 8:50PM, neither team has budged. Of course, Kevin Fiala’s name has been brought up in the rumors as well, but until some big names start shuffling the news, I am not reporting it. Any who, Colin Wilson was definitely due and collecting Nashville’s 5-0 game winning goal may be the boost he needs to find his groove. Rinne found his, after all, and it looks like Craig Smith is, too.

With this win, Nashville is now just six points behind the Blues and just eight points behind Chicago. Also, the Predators have the best record in the Central Division for the month of February: 7-3-3.  It is funny to think that this time last year, Nashville had hit their seasonal rut and were slowly losing their hold of the League and Central Division. Sadly, as we are all very much aware, Nashville could not get out of the rut in time to clinch the Central Division after holding it for so long.

As Nashville pulls itself together just in time for the playoff run, the organization isn’t going to find itself with many chances to relax. Division-leading Dallas comes in Tuesday, then its a bout with the Devils Thursday, then Nashville takes off on a five-game road trip out west. But this is the best the Predators have looked all season. Be excited. The road to the playoffs comes fast.

Preds thump Blackhawks 5-1

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Image Source: Sanford Myers/Getty Images

While Blackhawks fans joke that Bridgestone Arena may as well be “United Center South”, the boys in gold had different plans last night as they welcomed in fellow Central Division team the Chicago Blackhawks to Nashville last night. The first meeting in Nashville this season, the Predators and Blackhawks’ first bout with one another since last season’s playoff run was Tuesday in Chicago. Excelling on home ice, the Blackhawks dismantled the Predators 4-1 while extending Patrick Kane’s point streak.

While Predators/Blackhawks games aren’t exactly the most enjoyable when they come to town for the Nashville fan, it seemed like the building belonged to its home fans well before the hockey teams hit the ice. I’d go as far to say that the Predators fans drowned out the opposing fans quite well, minus the occasional Hawks cheer here and there. While Blackhawks band-wagoners scoff at the fact that Predators fans get run out of the building when they come to town, it’s the obvious and overstated reminder that Nashville is still a fairly young team. We don’t have to do the math to say that one of the Original Six teams that was established in 1926 has more fans than a team founded in 1998. Who gives a flying you-know-what as to how many Cups you have? You have six and three of those were won within the last decade. It’s not that Nashville has a lack of fans; hockey has been around long before the NHL decided to place a national team here. Piss-ass drunk fans that thrive on being an embarrassment to society are what make Predators fans avoid the arena when Blackhawks fans come to town. Congrats on that achievement.

Moving onward, after the loss Tuesday night in Chicago, the Predators didn’t have to wait long for a rematch as the Blackhawks would arrive for their first match in Nashville this season last night.

FIRST PERIOD:

  • James Neal launched the Predators in the right direction at 6:54 for his 11th goal of the season giving Nashville an early 1-0 lead over Chicago. Shea Weber (10) and Mike Ribeiro (13) notched the assists.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675123214167707649
  • Craig Smith would make his move count at 15:56 for his 6th goal of the season with Viktor Arvidsson picking up his first assist.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675128236347666432
  • Not even a minute later, Filip Forsberg would push Nashville up 3-0 with a power play goal. Heck, Paul didn’t even finish saying the word before Forsberg scored. It was pretty fantastic, really. Roman Josi (15) and Calle Jarnkrok (4) would notch the assists on Forsberg’s sixth goal of the season.
    https://twitter.com/CMS_74_/status/675128630310236161
  • There was no denying who dominated the first period, but the question on everyone’s mind was would Nashville continue the momentum through the remaining forty minutes? Pekka Rinne looked like him old self despite having a few uncharacteristic games as of late. Though Chicago only managed seven shots on goal in the first period, they were all pretty stout.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Though no goals were scored in the second period, what was expected out of Chicago – for the most part – happened. They came out with more flames under their feet than Nashville did, but the Predators didn’t make the usual “second period funk” that they usually take. Chicago would out-shoot Nashville 13 to 8 in the second, but Pekka being Pekka and all…
    https://twitter.com/justinbbradford/status/675141340775215105

THIRD PERIOD:

  • At 5:43, Patrick Kane would “score” to not only put Chicago finally on the board, but extend his point streak to 24. Now, I am not one for conspiracies, but really… this was definitely goaltender interference. Any other time, I am almost willing to bet that goal would’ve been thrown out, but because Kane’s streak is involved… yeah, I do believe it. So sue me. I’m a fan, not a NHL employee.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675150837568679936
  • Neal, on the other hand, extended Nashville lead to 4-1 at 14:55 for his second goal of the night and his 12th of the season. No assistance was needed for his Frosty goal.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675157043905478660
  • And, in a last ditch effort to get Chicago in the game, Scott Darling was pulled to give the Blackhawks the extra man. Unfortunately for them, Eric Nystom has a way of hitting the empty nets (even when down a man on the penalty). Nystrom’s empty-netter + shorthanded goal is his fifth of the season. Like Neal’s second goal, no assistance was needed.
    https://twitter.com/SteveLayman/status/675157760699457537

While Blackhawks fans filed out of the arena before the final horn could signify the victory in favor of the home team, Nashville was gaining a huge morale boost in this win (along with the points, of course). The players are not immune to the fact that Chicago is notorious for taking over the Bridgestone Arena. They take just as much pride in winning these games as the fans do.

With this victory under their belts, the Predators improve their record to 15-9-5 and now sit in third in the Central Division with 35 points (Chicago has 34 and St. Louis -2nd- has 36). Nashville currently sits fourth in the Western Conference.

The Predators welcome in the 12-16-1 Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, but don’t let that standing fool you. Just because the Avalanche are last in the Western Conference doesn’t mean they won’t come out kicking and screaming.

Preds tackle Avs 5-2

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

After a not-so stellar performance on the road, the Predators headed back home to welcome in the divisional rival Colorado Avalanche, who might be sitting at the bottom of the Central Division, but certainly not out. Last Friday night, the Avalanche whipped fellow Central Division mate, the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1 and then went on to defeat the 7th team in the League (the Tampa Bay Lightning) 5-4. Again, Colorado might be down, but they aren’t out. However, Nashville is the Top Dog in the League for a reason and tonight was a night to shush the naysayers.

SCRATCHES: Taylor Beck

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Nathan MacKinnon (13) got the puck moving at 3:57, a lucky break as the puck deflected off of Roman Josi’s skate into the net. Ryan O’Reilly (25) and Brad Stuart (8) notched the assists.
  • Not fifteen seconds later, Mister “I was healthy scratched on Sunday” Calle Jarnkrok answered the call to action and netted one alone for his sixth of the season.
  • Around the 13-minute mark of the game, Avalanche Captain, Gabriel Landeskog took aim at Roman Josi along the boards.
  • As you can see, Landeskog absolutely levels Josi with the hit, prompting both Paul Gaustad and Shea Weber to come to the rescue. Though I wouldn’t want to go up against Gaustad or Weber, I think if I had to choose, I’d go with duking it out with Gaustad. Unfortunately for Landeskog, #AngryShea got to him before Gaustad did.
  • Both players would be given majors (5 minutes) for fighting, but somehow, Weber also received a 10-minute misconduct AND an instigator penalty, totaling his time in the box at 17 minutes.
  • Nashville would finish out the remainder of the first period without their Captain and notch nine SOG to Colorado’s three.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Craig Smith would open the second period with his 19th goal of the season, giving Nashville the 2-1 lead at 4:32. Mike Fisher (17) collected the lone assist.
  • Roman Josi would punch his 11th goal of the season at 11:06 with assistance from Matt Cullen (10).
  • Colorado would only manage five SOG during the second compared to Nashville’s sixteen.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • To remind everyone he’s still here (like we’ve forgotten), Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-1 lead just 52 seconds into the third period for his 21st goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro picked up the assist, his 39th of the season.
  • Patrick Roy, who is known for pulling his goaltenders early in the games, did just that, giving Colorado a two-man advantage (Craig Smith called for hi-sticking & Shea still in the box). Eric Nystrom (7) slapped a wrister down the length of the ice, nailing the empty net for a short-handed goal at 8:28. Roman Josi (33) grabbed the assist.
  • With under two minutes to go, Colorado slipped on passed Pekka Rinne for a powerplay goal by John Mitchell (7), but it was too late for the Avalanche to make a comeback run.

It is pretty evident why Shea Weber risked a lifetime in the penalty box to protect his fellow linesman. First off, he’s the leader and that’s what a great leader does; second, the memory of Steve Downie’s hit on Roman Josi, just two games into last year’s season. That hit was not investigated like it should have been and Josi was concussed for a few months. Though Downie no longer is a member of the Colorado Avalanche, that wound was reopened by Gabriel Landeskog last night.

Now 41-13-7, the Predators now sit six points ahead of the team second in the league, the Montreal Canadiens. The closest divisional rival, the St. Louis Blues, sit nine points back. Chicago? Twelve points back.

The Predators welcome in the Minnesota Wild for a special 7:30PM start time on Thursday night (airing on NBC Sports).

NSH notches 40th Win in SO against BUF 2-1

Source: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Well, this isn’t the road trip the Predators expected to have, now is it? After taking a loss Thursday 5-2 from the New York Islanders, then limping away with a point yesterday afternoon against the Flyers, the Predators were hoping to shake off this excruciating road trip with a win against the 17-38-4 (ouch) Buffalo Sabres before returning home on Tuesday.

SCRATCHES: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok

FIRST PERIOD:

  • A rather uneventful period, Nashville managed to out-shoot Buffalo eleven to three, but Michal Neuvirth was there to block the Preds.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • What looked like another quiet period, Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis (15) was able to sink a wrister on Carter Hutton at 19:46, giving the Sabres a late second period 1-0 lead. Zemgus Girgensons (14) and Matt Moulson (17) tallied the assists.
  • Nashville once again out-shot Buffalo, this time fifteen to four, but it was Ennis who found the sweet spot.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Relief for the Predators came at 15:43 on the powerplay as Mike Ribeiro (12) deflected a shot to tie the game at one. Cody Franson (27) and Seth Jones (16) notch the assists.
  • The Predators only managed ten shots-on-goal during the third, but again, out-shot the Sabres by four.

OVERTIME:

  • The Predators were given a late overtime powerplay chance, but nothing could be accomplished by either team in OT, so onward to the shootout…

SHOOTOUT:

  • BUF – Matt Moulson – MISS
  • NSH – Mike Santorelli – GOAL
  • BUF – Tyler Ennis – GOAL
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • BUF – Zemgus Girgensons – MISS
  • NSH – Matt Cullen – MISS
  • BUF – Brian Gionta – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – GOAL

POST GAME NOTES:

  • The Predators are the first team in the NHL to reach 40 wins with this shootout victory and set a franchise record.
  • Both Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli help secure this win tonight, with Franson collecting an assist and Santorelli sinking a goal in the shootout.

Inhale slowly through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth; the Predators walk away with the two points. Okay, but let’s discuss how outrageous Michal Neuvirth was in net tonight. Nashville was doing everything right; you can see that from the amount of shots-on-goal. Unfortunately, Neuvirth was doing everything right, too. The kid blocked 37 of the 38 SOG; that’s Pekka-esque and pretty darn good.

Take a deep breath, my friends. The Predators are back home Tuesday to take on the Colorado Avalanche, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the Central Division. Then it’s a bout with Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Carter Hutton Shines as NSH blanks PIT 4-0

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After being shutdown by the Colorado Avalanche Friday night 3-0, the Predators retreated to the City of Brotherly Love in search of a win against the 28-13-8 Penguins on Sunday afternoon. However, the last meeting between these two ended poorly for Nashville, as Pittsburgh entered the Music City and wiped the floor with the home team 3-0 (on the James Neal bobblehead night, no doubt). But the woes of being shutout aren’t the only thing nagging at the Predators; the St. Louis Blues are on a hot streak and have their sights set on taking the Central Division lead.

SCRATCHES: Pekka Rinne, Olli Jokinen

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Roman Josi put Nashville on the board at 4:05, sending a slapper by Marc-Andre Fleury, his ninth of the season. Filip Forsberg (26) and Shea Weber (24) notched the assists.
  • At 6:38, Gabriel Bourque sent his own slapshot towards the net, tallying his third goal of the season. Bourque’s slapper needed no assistance.
  • Nashville only had two more SOG than Pittsburgh, giving Carter Hutton some much deserved credit (NSH, 7; PIT, 5).

SECOND PERIOD:

  • In what looked like a goal-less period, Eric Nystrom gave the Predators a 3-0 lead at 19:19, his sixth of the season. Taylor Beck (5) notched the assist.
  • Again, props to Carter Hutton as this time the Penguins tallied eleven SOG compared to Nashville’s seven. Oh, and Nashville took four penalties during the second, giving the Penguins too many man-advantages.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Nashville’s only goal during the third would come from Mike Fisher’s wrister on the powerplay at 8:20, his twelfth goal of the season. Filip Forsberg (27) and Roman Josi (24) would collect the assists.

NOTEWORTHY:

  • Filip Forsberg surpassed Mike Ribeiro to take the lead in points amongst the team. Ribeiro, who is one point shy of his 700th career, has 43 whereas Forsberg now has 44.
  • Not only was this Carter Hutton’s first road win of the season, it is also his first shutout (second career shutout).
  • Predators continue to hold first in the league (again) at 70 points. The Ducks, too, are at 70 points, but alas, they have lost one more regulation game than the Predators.

So there you have it: Shutout by Colorado on Friday, retaliated against Pittsburgh on Sunday and blanked them 4-0. Nashville also held off St. Louis taking the Central Division lead as well (NSH has 70 pts, STL has 68). It’s no doubt the Blues are hot right now (won the last five) and are, at this point, biting off Nashville’s heels for the lead. Chicago isn’t too far away, either; they sit a comfortable six points back, but that hasn’t stopped them before.

Want to see the Predators in action? Well, February is your month as Nashville has more home games on the schedule than I know what to do with, starting tomorrow against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Preds fall to Blues 5-4 in SO – BONUS: Questionable Audio

Source: Harry How/Getty Images

The after effects of the All-Star break has been so-so for the Nashville Predators, with the team pulling out an overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 at home on Tuesday, then losing last night to the St. Louis Blues in a shootout 5-4. Getting away with points is good and better than straight losing in regulation, but you can only plaster that “don’t freak out yet” smile across your face in so many games and continue to believe yourself. The thoughts of knowing you cannot get away with this within the playoffs keep pounding in the back of your mind, but you just… keep… smiling. Onward to the recap:

SCRATCHES: Taylor Beck, Pekka Rinne

FIRST PERIOD:

  • The Predators started out strong and on the right foot, with Mike Fisher notching his 10th goal of the season on the powerplay. Roman Josi (22) and Shea Weber (23) picked up the assists.
  • Carter Hutton screened twelve shots on goal by the Blues, keeping the Predators up 1-0 going into the second period.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Nashville would continue dominance over St. Louis going into the second, as Filip Forsberg notched his 17th goal of the season at 5:36. Craig Smith (13) and Mike Ribeiro (33) pick up the assists.
  • But after Forsberg’s goal, the second period became St. Louis’ property, with Jaden Schwartz helping the Blues to a goal at 8:22.
  • Shortly thereafter, at 12:36, TJ Oshie helped himself to his 14th goal of the season, tying the game at two.
  • Not even thirty seconds later, Steve Ott would take the lead with his second goal of the season.
  • Mike Fisher would step up at 15:32 to tie the game once more, his 11th goal of the season with a short-handed goal. Roman Josi (23) and Calle Jarnkrok (8) would notch the assists.
  • Ryan Reaves, however, would give St. Louis the lead once again at 18:15, his fourth goal of the season.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • James Neal would be the only player to come through for either team during the third period, tying the game and pushing it into overtime. Mike Fisher (10) and Colin Wilson (18) would assist on Neal’s 16th goal of the season.

OVERTIME:

  • No goals – to the shootout we go.

SHOOTOUT:

  • STL – TJ Oshie – GOAL
  • NSH – Matt Cullen – MISS
  • STL – Vladimir Tarasenko – MISS
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • STL – Alexander Steen – MISS
  • NSH – Roman Josi – GOAL
  • STL – Kevin Shattenkirk – GOAL
  • NSH – James Neal – MISS

With St. Louis closing the gap for the lead of the Central Division, Nashville really could’ve used two points – especially in regulation. However, to be positive, they still left with a point and still lead the division by four points. Here are some other important notes to take away from this game:

NOTEWORTHY:

  • The St. Louis Blues hold the best powerplay percentage record in the league. Not only did they muster six powerplays last night, Carter Hutton and the Predators’ special teams held the Blues to all six. Oh, and not to mention, Mike Fisher scored on one of their said powerplay opportunities.
  • Mike Fisher collected his 500th and 501st career point during last night’s bout in St. Louis. Congrats, Fish.
  • Speaking of Mikes, Mike Ribeiro continues to prove why he was the best free agent signing for the Preds this past off-season. Collecting an assist, he continues to lead the Predators in points at 47 this season; he currently has 699 career points… I am willing to bet he’ll have 700 by tonight.
  • Filip Forsberg continues to lead rookies in all categories that he can, with 42 points, 17 goals, 25 assists, and 25 plus/minus points.
  • Rinne traveled with the team to St. Louis and participated in practice. His return is eminent. Soon.
  • Carter Hutton picks up yet another loss, but blocked 31-35 shots. Some blocks were outrageous; others, well… his inconsistency with rebounds needs some serious, urgent care.

Now… to discuss what everyone is wondering… What the heck did we hear during the broadcast last night?!
Here’s a little background, in case you missed it: During the first period, sometime around Mike Fisher’s first goal of the night, the sound of a woman… uh… in action (?) could be heard whilst Pete Weber and Stu Grimson were commentating. Take a listen (warning: could be considered offensive or you may be unable to control your laughter):

Yes, you heard exactly what you thought you heard, my friends.

Yes, I deemed it as “barking” at first because I did not want to automatically assume some lady was uh… yea.

Fox Sports Tennessee was quick to apologize, but not before we also got to hear Stu Grimson belching on air:

Needless to say, it was quite an eventful first period for those of us watching from home. I’d also like to say this is the first – and hopefully last – time I have ever had to mention the word ‘porn’ on my blog. Never again, y’all.

The Predators are back at it tonight in Denver to take on the Avalanche, a team the barely defeated on Tuesday. Tonight’s game is Nashville’s last Central Division away game until April 7th and their last Western Conference away game until March 9th.

Preds tally Win over Wild 3-1

fisher

After capturing the top of the league on Thursday night, the Predators would need to continue with a win in St. Paul to hang onto that title just a little bit longer. The Wild, who have been having some rather interesting issues, are hurting for a win, and what better way to knock the best team in the league for a loop?

SCRATCHES: Mark Arcobello
NOTEWORTHY: Update on injuries, Ryan Ellis will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break (January 24-25), which means he’s out for at least two weeks; he has also been placed on the IR with an lower-body injury. Also, Eric Nystrom’s injury has gone from undisclosed to classified as an upper-body.

First Period:

  • Mike Fisher would get the ball rolling early in the first period with his seventh goal of the season at 4:01. Colin Wilson (14), who has been on fire this season (to say the least), picked up the lone assist.
  • Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle would tie the game at 14:14 for his fourth goal of the season.
  • The Wild would outshoot the Predators 14 to 8, pointing out just how incredible Pekka Rinne really is.

Second Period:

  • Both the Wild and the Predators would take nine shots on goal, but none could make their way past the opposing goaltenders during the second period.
  • Nashville took four penalties during the second period alone, including one from Pekka Rinne (served by Craig Smith). Even more proof on why Pekka Rinne is the best goaltender in this league this season.

Third Period:

  • Calle Jarnkrok would collect his fifth goal of the season at 3:48 after being in the right place at the right time whilst Niklas Backstrom was distracted. Olli Jokinen (3) and Shea Weber (19) tallied the assists.
  • At 8:47, Colin Wilson would notch his 12th of the season with the unassisted game winning goal.
  • Though Wilson sealed the game winner within the first ten minutes of the period, the game certainly wasn’t over. With just a few minutes left in the game, Matt Cooke decided cross-checking Shea Weber in the face was a good idea. It wasn’t.
    B7HPM8eCYAIi_BF

    Source: TheScore.com

    As the wise Antoine Dodson once said:

    antoine_dodson_you_are_so_dumb-14245

Needless to say, Angry Shea reared his ugly head and beat Matt Cooke to a pulp. Here’s the video of said beat-down:

And, if watching his teammate get his butt kicked wasn’t enough, Nate Prosser stepped up to duke it out with Mike Fisher with just a minute and a half left in the game:

And, as you can see from the video, Angry Mike also made an appearance after Prosser took a cheap shot at Taylor Beck.

After kicking the Wild’s keister not only physically but numerically as well, the Predators secured another day as the leaders of the league and improved their record to 28-9-4. The Predators welcome in the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and then Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals on Friday night.