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.

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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.

Hornqvist & Spaling to Pens for James Neal

JamesNealTrade

By now, you already know about the trade between Nashville and Pittsburgh involving the exchange of Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling for Right Winger, James Neal. Has it had time to sink in yet? Nick Spaling was on the radar to take flight, but Hornqvist came as a surprise to just about everyone.

James Neal, first drafted in the second round in the 2005 Draft by the Dallas Stars, was a goal collector from the get-go. Scoring no less than 20-goals a season, in the 2011-12 season, Neal topped the charts with 40 goals — as a Preds fan, could you imagine forty goals from one player, not a multitude of several together? Since the 2011-12 season, he has lost some steam, but in Predators terms, he’s still on fire (again, no less than twenty goals since).

Though the loss of Hornqvist tears deeply at the heartstrings — the price of being a fan — now that the dust has settled from yesterday’s trade, you’ll be able to see with clearer eyes that, in order for the Predators to make the move towards the ultimate prize, sacrifices must be made. Unfortunately, Hornqvist was that sacrifice (sorry, Spals). This is a great sign from the leaders of this organization that good things are on the horizon. Moves like these are (for Nashville’s sake) what it is going to take for Nashville to get back in the playoff chase and make a legitimate run towards the Stanley Cup.

Here’s an exchange between the media, James Neal and Evgeni Malkin:
james
malkin

That was a good little .gif set to find, right? Neal wants t he puck. He wants to shoot. For a defensive team like Nashville, this is the exact exchange we want to hear from former teammates. Shooting leads to goals. Goals leads to winning. Winning leads to playoffs. Playoffs lead to Cup. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

https://twitter.com/richcluneshow/status/482690204407300096

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The Age of Swede (in Nashville)

Getty Images/Zimbio.com

Getty Images/Zimbio.com – Left: Calle Jarnkrok, Right: Filip Forsberg

With the regular season coming to a close, most Preds fans have given up on the hopes of clinching a playoff spot. Though mathematically, the Preds still have an itty bitty, miniscule chance, but unless you are a betting man or an overly optimistic person, you’ve pretty much come to terms that, for the fifteenth year, the Predators will be Cup-less. It has also been excruciatingly difficult to handle (as a fan) the onslaught of opposing fans over-running the Bridgestone Arena, bashing the home team and drowning out the voices of the remaining faithful. But alas, that is a story for a different time. Right now, I am here to relay some optimism; optimism in the form of 20-something Swedes.

It wouldn’t be a far stretch to say ice hockey is pretty popular in Sweden. Tre Kronor (Team Sweden) is a dominant force when it comes to IIHF World Championships (9 gold medals/19 silver/16 bronze since 1920) and the Olympics (2 gold medals/3 silver/4 bronze since 1920) and those figures do not include the junior or women’s teams over the years. Surprisingly though, there aren’t as many Swedes in the NHL as you would think. There are (as of 9:44am on 3/27/14 & not including farm teams) 51 Swede holding roster spots amongst the 30 teams in the NHL, which averages out to about 2 Swedes per team (that has a Swede). Detroit should be renamed Stockholm as it employees the most Swedes at nine. Everyone but the Islanders, Blue Jackets, Penguins, Stars, Oilers, Panthers, Kings, and Sharks have Swedes. Nashville has had its fair share of Swedes in the past fifteen years, with Viktor Stalberg, Patric Hornqvist, Mattias Ekholm, and Calle Jarnkrok holding roster spots at the given moment; Filip Forsberg and Patrick Cehlin currently round out the Milwaukee Admirals roster.

While a veteran like Patric Hornqvist remains at the top of his game (14 goals, 25 assists 2013/14 season), it’s young-guns like Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg who will continue the tradition of Swedish dominance. Both Filip Forsberg and Calle Järnkrok were acquired within trades – Forsberg was claimed from the Washington Capitals for Martin Erat and Michael Latta in April 2013 & Jarnkrok (along with Patrick Eaves) was picked up from the Detroit Red Wings for David Legwand – and, you can disagree with many of David Poile’s choices, but the man clearly got the better deal in both trades.

It tends to be frustrating to fans that Filip Forsberg spends more time on planes than on the ice, constantly being called up and sent back down to Milwaukee. His outstanding performance in the World Juniors tournament had fans threatening a mob if he wasn’t brought back to Nashville (4 goals, 8 assists/silver medal), but alas, he has still flipped back and forth. It is sometimes hard to remember that Forsberg is only 19-years-old and made his NHL debut with Nashville last season (Detroit won 3-0); he still has plenty of time to adjust to the system and I would almost put money on a bet that he’ll have a more permanent roster position with the Predators next season. With the Admirals this season, Filip Forsberg has 10 goals and 17 assists.

Calle Jarnkrok is the newest Swede to board the dingy that is the Predators organization, but he’s come out blazing with three assists in the three games he’s appeared with Nashville. He’s quick, but controlled; his puck-handling skills put Colin Wilson to shame. He also does not shy from pressure what-so-ever. Usually Craig Smith or Matt Cullen, Jarnkrok was given the task of first at bat for the shootout against the Colorado Avalanche last Tuesday. Though Nashville eventually lost to the Avs (thanks to another Swede – Gabriel Landeskog), Jarnkrok scored in his first NHL shootout. He may share the same love of hairstyle with Sergei Kostitsyn, but he is a far cry from that Belorussian blunder.  Hopefully, Jarnkrok can teach fellow Swede, Viktor Stalberg to slow his roll and control his speed and the puck. I also hope the ‘Way of Trotz’ does not seep into the youngster, killing his game altogether.

You know their names: Henrik Lundqvist, Niklas Kronwall, Daniel & Henrik Sedin, Niklas Backstrom, Gabriel Landeskog, Henrik Zetterberg, Peter Forsberg, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Lidstrom, Alexander Steen, Loui Eriksson, and so forth. The Swedes are here to stay in the NHL and Nashville needs to collect as many as they can get. Along with an IKEA; we need one of those, too.

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Med den ordinarie säsongen närmar sig sitt slut , har de flesta Preds fans gett upp hoppet om att fästa en slutspelsplats . Även matematiskt , de Preds har fortfarande en Itty Bitty , världsdelen chans , men om du inte är en vadslagning man eller en alltför optimistisk person , du har ganska mycket komma till rätta som för femtonde året kommer rovdjuren bli Cup – mindre . Det har också varit otroligt svårt att hantera ( som en fläkt ) angrepp av motsatta fans över kör Bridgestone Arena , bashing hemmalaget och drunkna ut röster återstående trogna . Men tyvärr , det är en historia för en annan tid . Just nu är jag här för att vidarebefordra viss optimism , optimism i form av 20 -någonting svenskar .

Det skulle inte vara en långt sträcka att säga ishockey är ganska populärt i Sverige . Tre Kronor ( Team Sweden ) är en dominerande kraft när det kommer till IIHF-VM ( 9 guld medals/19 silver/16 brons sedan 1920 ) och OS ( 2 ​​guldmedaljer / 3 silver / 4 brons sedan 1920 ) och dessa siffror gör inte inkludera junior eller damlag under åren. Förvånansvärt Men det finns inte så många svenskar i NHL som man kan tro . Det finns ( som av 09:44 på 3/27/14 & exklusive jordbruks lag ) 51 Swede håller rosterfläckar bland de 30 lag i NHL , som i genomsnitt ut till ca 2 svenskar per lag ( som har en svensk ) . Detroit bör döpas Stockholm eftersom den anställda flest svenskar vid nio . Alla men Islanders , Blue Jackets , Penguins, Stars , Oilers , Panthers, Kings och Sharks har svenskar . Nashville har haft sin beskärda del av svenskarna under de senaste femton åren , med Viktor Stålberg , Patric Hörnqvist , Mattias Ekholm och Calle Järnkrok håller rosterfläckar vid given tidpunkt , Filip Forsberg och Patrick Cehlin runda för närvarande ut i Milwaukee Admirals deltagarlistan .

Medan en veteran som Patric Hörnqvist är fortfarande på toppen av hans spel ( 14 mål , 25 assist 2013/14 säsongen ) , det är unga – gevär som Calle Järnkrok och Filip Forsberg som kommer att fortsätta traditionen av svenska dominans . Både Filip Forsberg och Calle Järnkrok förvärvats inom handel – Forsberg hävdades från Washington Capitals för Martin Erat och Michael Latta i April 2013 & Järnkrok ( tillsammans med Patrick Eaves ) plockades från Detroit Red Wings för David Legwand – och , du kan inte håller med många av David Poile s val , men mannen fick klart bättre affär i båda branscher .

Det tenderar att vara frustrerande för fans som Filip Forsberg tillbringar mer tid på plan än på isen , ständigt ringde upp och skickas tillbaka till Milwaukee . Hans enastående prestanda i World Juniors turneringen hade fans hotar en pöbel om han inte kom tillbaka till Nashville ( 4 mål , 8 assist / silver ) , men tyvärr , han har fortfarande bläddrade fram och tillbaka . Det är ibland svårt att komma ihåg att Forsberg är bara 19 år gammal och gjorde sin NHL-debut med Nashville förra säsongen ( Detroit vann med 3-0 ) , han har fortfarande gott om tid att anpassa sig till systemet och jag skulle nästan sätta pengar på en satsning som han kommer att ha en mer permanent roster läge med Predators nästa säsong . Med Admirals den här säsongen , har Filip Forsberg 10 mål och 17 assist .

Calle Järnkrok är den nyaste svensken att gå ombord på jolleseglare som är Predators organisation , men han har kommit ut flammande med tre assist i de tre matcher han dök med Nashville . Han är snabb , men kontrollerad , hans puckhanteringfärdigheter satte Colin Wilson på skam . Han gör dessutom inte blyg från tryck vad – så – någonsin. Vanligtvis Craig Smith och Matt Cullen , Järnkrok fick i uppdrag att först på slagträet för straffar mot Colorado Avalanche i tisdags . Även Nashville till slut förlorade med Avs ( tack vare en annan svensk – Gabriel Landeskog ) , Järnkrok gjorde mål i sin första NHL- straffar. Han kan dela samma kärlek till frisyr med Sergei Kostitsyn , men han är långt ifrån det vitryska blunder . Förhoppningsvis kan Järnkrok undervisa karl svensk, Viktor Stålberg att sakta sin rulle och kontrollera sin hastighet och pucken . Jag hoppas också att ” Way of Trotz ” inte tränger in i unge och dödade hans spel helt och hållet.

Du vet deras namn : Henrik Lundqvist , Niklas Kronwall , Daniel och Henrik Sedin , Niklas Bäckström , Gabriel Landeskog , Henrik Zetterberg , Peter Forsberg , Oliver Ekman – Larsson , Daniel Alfredsson , Niklas Lidström , Alexander Steen , Loui Eriksson , och så vidare . Svenskarna är här för att stanna i NHL och Nashville måste samla så många som de kan få . Tillsammans med en IKEA , vi behöver en av dem också.

 

Trade Deadline: David Legwand Traded to Red Wings

Thanks for the memories, Leggy.

Thanks for the memories, Leggy.

There were talks for weeks and rumors spread, but today, the whispers were confirmed: David Legwand was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. Legwand is a native of Detroit, so for all the teams for him to make the leap towards, the Red Wings was a given. But, even for all those Legwand Haters, after all the years, doesn’t it hurt just a bit to see him actually leave?

We all know the hockey history of David Legwand: Nashville’s first-ever draft pick, franchise record holder, rode the wild wave that is the Nashville Predators organization. He was Mr. Predator; but not forever.

Contrary to popular (Preds fans) belief, Legwand is an outstanding player and will fit in well with Detroit’s system; it will be a breath of fresh air for him under a new lineup. With Pavel Datsyuk on the mend, Legwand will be thrown into the fire at first go, but it isn’t anything he cannot handle.

But how was he traded? Didn’t he have a No Movement Clause? Glad you asked: Yes, he did indeed have a NMC. So how did this happen?
In a nutshell, Legwand (in the end) called the shots. David Poile would work out a possible trade with another organization (in this case Detroit) & present it to David for consideration. Basically, he could either accept the trade or give Poile the stiff arm and say, “No deal”. So why, after always saying, “I will retire a Nashville Predator” did he take the trade offer?
After acquiring Matt Cullen and signing him to a two-year contract during the summer, Legwand’s trade immunity began to fade in the organization and, no offense to Patric Hornqvist, but after getting the shaft as alternate captain enough times, you start to feel a bit… underrated and taken for granted. In my opinion, he was. That, and he is getting up there in age (hockey life, that is) and who wouldn’t want to go home? Come now, that was Ryan Suter’s idea, right? All kidding aside, life with the Detroit Red Wings may just be what the doctor ordered when it comes to lighting a fire under Legwand’s remaining years in the NHL.

So, what does Nashville get for their longest-serving representative?

  • PicMonkey CollagePatrick Eaves: You probably recognize his name, though he is a sufferer of chronic injuries, including a broken jaw at the hands of a Roman Josi slap shot back in 2011.  The right-winger currently has two goals and three assists this season and becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Calle Jarnkrok: Another Swede! Jarnkrok is 2nd-Rounder from the 2010 draft currently with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate team. He’s tearing up in the AHL right now, but this is his first stint in the North American hockey system and may want to return to Europe. Let’s hope not.
  • 3rd-Round Draft Pick: Draft picks are good, but it gets better: if the Red Wings secure a place in the playoffs, that 3rd-rounder turns into a 2nd-rounder. Go Red Wings…?

You can question Poile and his motives, but the man knows how to get the better end of a deal (for the most part).

We will miss David Legwand, there’s no doubt. We only wish him the best with the Detroit organization and thank him for all the memories.

https://twitter.com/richcluneshow/status/441328045832425472

Shea Weber added to Team Canada Roster

BdZIk-bIAAE_eCSIf you follow any of our social media outlets, we mentioned Shea Weber being named to Team Canada but we neglected to add it here! My bad.

Any who, from the headline, you now know that Shea Weber will be representing both Canada and Nashville in the 2014 Winter Olympics. He, along with Roman Josi and Simon Moser will be the only Predators heading off to Sochi in February.

In the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Predators had six members represent their countries, which included:
Ryan Suter – USA – (Minnesota Wild)
Shea Weber – Canada
Martin Erat – Czech Republic (Washington Capitals)
Patric Hornqvist – Sweden
Marcel Goc – Germany (Florida Panthers)
Alexander Sulzer – Germany (Buffalo Sabres)

Don’t be put down by the number difference here, though. Out of the list above, the only other player besides Weber going to the Olympics this year is Ryan Suter. Heck, Germany isn’t even participating in this year’s Olympics; well, at least that we’ve found.

In regards to Patric Hornqvist’s snub by Sweden, he has been quoted as saying he is disappointed by the decision & Trotz has said he has “no idea what the Swedish team was thinking”. Honestly, we don’t either, except for the fact that Sweden is a powerhouse when it comes to producing talented hockey players. Hornqvist wasn’t the only talented Swede left off that Tre Kronor roster.

So, in a nutshell Preds fans, we’ve only been given three (one that may hardly know a.k.a. Moser), but be proud of those three! Congratulations to Josi, Weber, and Moser!

 

Predators Fall to Flyers in SO 3-2

Image courtesy: Getty Images

The Predators have been back and forth lately, with a 4-0 shutout win against the Blue Jackets Wednesday, to a 3-0 shutout loss to the Oilers on Thursday. So, with the Flyers coming into town after their win against Winnipeg on Friday night, maybe the back and forth would continue with a win for the pesky Preds, right? Philadelphia’s record is pretty close to Nashville’s, 11-12-2 to the Predators’ 13-11-2 so honestly, it was either team’s game… except that Nashville was missing Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, Filip Forsberg and Pekka Rinne.

  • Shea Weber took a puck to the face on Thursday night against Edmonton, ruling his injury day-to-day. Kevin Klein sustained a lower-body injury at some point, placing him on the scratched list also. And little Filip Forsberg, who’s injury at first was considered minor, was placed on the Injured Reserve and Joe Piskula was recalled from Milwaukee.
  • Not all was bad news, as Patric Hornqvist made his return to the lineup after sitting out a few games with an injury.

First Period:

  • The Flyers stepped to the plate first, with a clean slapshot from Captain Claude Giroux at 16:49.
  • Mike Fisher would give Flyers fans just one minute to celebrate before tying the game at 1 with a snap shot setup from Patric Hornqvist at 17:49. Fisher’s goal was his 6th overall and Hornqvist’s 8th assist overall.
  • The Predators were given two powerplay opportunities in the first period, but failed to collect on either one. Philly was unable to capitalize on their one powerplay opportunity.

Second Period:

  • No goals were collected in the second period, but Nashville once again outshot the Flyers, this time 11 to 8.
  • The Predators again had prime powerplay opportunities, but failed on all three once again.

Third Period:

  • Colin Wilson would put the Predators up by one in at 5:05 in the 3rd period for his 4th goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (7th assist) and Ryan Ellis (7th assist) assisted on #33’s goal.
  • Sean Couturier would breakthrough for Philadelphia at 13:06 with a slick snap shot, tying the game at two a piece.
  • Nashville would outshoot Philadelphia 9 to 4.

No goals would amount in OT, so Marek Mazanec would get his first NHL career shot at a Shootout. Craig Smith, Matt Hendricks & Matt Cullen would all miss their shots at Steve Mason, but it would be Vincent Lecavalier’s sole goal to seal the game in favor of the Flyers.

So with Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, Filip Forsberg & Pekka Rinne out, who will rise up and shine for the Predators? Though Kevin Klein shouldn’t be out for too long, it looks like Forsberg and Weber may be (we already know about Rinne’s outlook). Somewhere the Predators will need for someone to rise up is on the powerplay. Although Nashville has always struggled in that area, last night’s performance was hard to watch.

Nashville has two more games at home before heading East to see Joel Ward, Mike Latta and, maybe, Martin Erat in Washington D.C. Until then, the Predators welcome the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

Predators Out-Play Blackhawks 7-2

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Back-to-back games are rough on any team and after coming off a 17-day road trip, Nashville was no exception. But after losing 4-1 to Pittsburgh and turning right around to take on the 13-2-4 Chicago Blackhawks? But let us not forget the Predators way: When they should win, they lose; When they should lose, they win. Totally makes for great blood pressure, truly. Let’s jump to the highlights:

First Period:

  • Similar to last night, Nashville struck first with a wrister from Matt Cullen at 7:28, his third goal of the season. Craig Smith (6th assist) and Seth Jones (6th assist) would collect the assists.
  • Nick Spaling would put the Predators up 2-0 at 8:25 with wrister of his own for his second goal of the season. Craig Smith would notch his second assist of the game (7th overall) and Ryan Ellis would pick up an assist, too (4th overall).
  • Nashville would outshoot Chicago 10 to 7, with NHL rookie Marek Mazanec stepping up his game from last night’s punishment.

Second Period:

  • The Predators kept the momentum into the second with a Power Play tip-in goal from Patric Hornqvist (6th goal) at 9:02. Roman Josi, who was first awarded the goal, picked up his 2nd assist overall along with Shea Weber (5th overall).
  • Craig Smith (4th goal) would give Nashville a substantial 4-0 lead at 18:18 with a backhander past Corey Crawford. Matt Cullen (3rd assist) would pick up the assist.
  • Chicago would finally get on the board at 18:44 with a wrister from Patrick Kane, his 11th goal of the season.
  • Nashville would keep the Blackhawks at bay with a 4-1 at the end of the 2nd period, though this time, Chicago outshoot the Predators 18 to 13.
  • Kudos to Mazanec for blocking 17 of 18 shots during the second period, especially after being pulled after the same period the night before. Amazing what a game at home can do… even if there is way too many mustard jerseys filling said seats.

Third Period:

  • Chicago would embrace the second intermission and come out swinging in the third, collecting their second goal at just 6:14 into the second period. Brandon Pirri collected his 5th goal of the season on Chicago’s goal.
  • Viktor Stalberg would give his old team a big middle finger just fifteen seconds later with a backhander past Crawford for his second goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (3rd assist) and David Legwand (12th assists) would help collect Nashville’s fifth goal of the night.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQHUu3XNfMw
  • At 12:19, Mike Fisher would pick up his third goal of the season with an assist from Patric Hornqvist (7th assist), putting the home team up 6-2.
  • And, at 14:07, Captain Shea Weber sealed the deal with his signature slapshot to put Nashville up 7-2. Roman Josi (3rd assist) and David Legwand (13th assist) setup Weber’s 5th goal of the season.
  • Chicago would put the extra pressure on Mazanec in the third period, outshooting Nashville a cool 16 to 7. Again, another shout out to the NHL rookie for blocking 15 of 16 shots on goal. He took a pounding, nonetheless.
  • Marek Mazanec, after being pulled after the second period the night before, collected his first NHL win tonight against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The final shot totals: Chicago 41, Nashville 30. So, doing the easy math, Mazanec blocked 39 of 41 shots on goal. Pretty spectacular for a rookie, eh?

Again, the Nashville Predators just have this uncanny way of defeating teams that just aren’t on the radar. Never, never count out the pesky Preds, my friends. Even after the whole ticket debacle, the Bridgestone Arena was still overrun with those awful red jerseys, which was not unexpected; we pissed them off. Maybe with this win, Chicago fans will have some respect when visiting Nashville and maybe, just maybe, take them down a peg or two. Did I personally hear the whole “two Cups in three years” line tonight? Yes, yes I did. As they say, “Scoreboard, son”.

Preds Finally Score; Fall to Islanders 3-1

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Positive news! Nashville earned their first goal since defeating the Colorado Avalanche two games ago!
Negative news! The Predators lost to the New York Islanders for the first time (in regulation) since April of 2002!

So they lost, but they got a goal in there and didn’t receive their third goose egg in three consecutive games; I’ll take that. It’s not fun to watch your team struggle, especially when they are actually worth a damn… when they want to believe in themselves. I won’t go into the usual list-like rundown, but just the major highlights from Tuesday night’s game:

  • Marek Mazanec was given the green light as the starting goalie, his first in the NHL. Though Nashville lost 3-1, Mazanec blocked 24 of 26 shots on goal from the Islanders. For his first shot as a starter, Mazanec shook the nerves and proved his potential.
  • Both teams took the same number of shots on goal at the end with thirty-three. Unfortunately, New York was just a little luckier than Nashville.
  • David Legwand enjoys elbowing people, as he was called for two penalties within three minutes of each other in the 2nd Period.
  • Rich Clune did his usual enforcer act, picking up a major shared with duking partner Matt Martin.
  • Patric Hornqvist notched his fifth goal of the season and the only one of the night at 14:30 in the 3rd Period. After his elbowing fix, David Legwand picked up his 11th assist & Shea Weber collected his fourth overall.

So, after 6 games on this 17-day road trip, Nashville now sits at 2-4-0 with Pittsburgh the last stop before welcoming the Blackhawks to town on Saturday. Back-to-back games tend to hurt even the strongest of teams, so here’s a tried & true test for the Predators.

Late Goal gives Preds Win over Kings 4-3

Courtesy: Getty Images

Game 2 of the longest road-trip in Predators history and, after coming up short in Phoenix, Nashville would need to slip around the 9-5-0 L.A. Kings to keep the coal burning. The second meeting between the pair, the Kings visited the Music City back on October 17th and left with a win in a shootout, 2-1. So it was now Nashville’s turn to come into the Kings’ home and steal a victory, yes? Jump on down to the highlights:

First Period:

  • David Legwand, who apparently wants to show who’s boss here lately, collected his third goal of the season at 11:15 on the powerplay. Seth Jones picked up his 5th assist, along with Patric Hornqvist collecting his fourth.
  • Shea Weber wouldn’t be quieted for long, scoring his own powerplay goal at 19:06 with Patric Hornqvist notching his fifth assist and Mike Fisher picking up his fifth as well.
  • The Kings were going down without a fight first, with Anze Kopitar sinking a wrister past Carter Hutton just 20 seconds after Weber’s goal.
  • The Kings would out-shoot Nashville 16 to 9, so give Carter Hutton some credit that only one was able to get passed him.
  • Rich Clune, after being scratched numerous times, returned in time to receive a 10-minute misconduct due to fighting and instigating Daniel Carcillo. Don’t get upset if you see Clune scratched again in the near future; it happens when you’re an enforcer.

Second Period:

  • Eric Nystrom would being the lone star in the second period with a snap shot past Jonathan Quick at 8:41 for his fourth goal of the season. You want to talk about someone who has shown his worth after being picked up during the off season. Patric Horqnvist would continue his helpfulness with an assist, his sixth of the season and third of the game.
  • Mike Fisher left the game during the second period after sustaining a lower-body injury. He did not return for the remainder of the game.

Third Period:

  • And here’s where L.A. would come roaring back like the lions they are. Dustin Brown would collect a sneaky tip-in at 9:41 for his third of the season, putting the Kings back by one.
  • Mike Richards would then tie the game at 11:18 with a powerplay goal from a Ryan Ellis penalty. At this point, the game looked like a flashback from the Phoenix game.
  • At 16:04, David Legwand would swoop in and seal the game in Nashville’s favor with a wrister, his second goal of the night & fourth overall. Mattias Ekholm would pick up the assist (3rd assist).
  • In a game similar to the one before it, Nashville slipped out of Hollywood with the win, thanks to David Legwand. Now, we know it takes a team to collect a win, but give a hand to Mr. Legwand; he started the game and ended it.
  • The Predators are now off to the Mile High City to take on the Colorado Avalanche for the second time this season. The first match up left the Predators with a loss of 3-1… let’s hope for better this Wednesday.

SCRATCHES FOR NASHVILLE:
Victor Bartley
Gabriel Bourque
Matt Hendricks