Preds help Hawks Count; Take Game 2 6-2

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Well, if that wasn’t a good way to show that Nashville has what it takes to make it beyond the first round then I can’t tell you what was. Similar to Wednesday’s game, there were quite a few circumstances that certainly went against the Predators. However, instead of allowing those instances to bog them down, Nashville persevered and then some to take victory of Game 2 6-2. Here are the main highlights you should take away from last night’s game:

  • Definition of Top Shelf Cheddar? That’d be Colin Wilson, who did just that to give the Predators the lead early in the first period. That snipe was Wilson’s third of the playoffs – he might just be the hero of the playoffs.
  • Patrick Sharp would put Chicago on the board, but Roman Josi would make sure Nashville ended the period in the lead with just three seconds left in the first.
  • The penalty kill was overtly prepared for the possibility of spending some time in the box, due in part to Wednesday’s shenanigans. Gaustad was called for a four-minute high-sticking during the second period, putting the Predators in an all too familiar setting. However, the PK only allowed one shot-on-goal during that four minute spat, boosting not only the crowd but the team as well.
  • Patrick Kane’s goal was greatly celebrated, one could say, as he had five other buddies on the ice to do so with! A huge, monstrous missed too-many-men call lead to Kane’s first goal of the playoffs – one that happened to tie the game. To add insult to injury, the officials would soon wave off a perfectly clean goal from Calle Jarnkrok.

  • Injuries were abound last night, with Taylor Beck traveling back to the locker room after a Seabrook shot, and Shea Weber leaving for the remainder of the game with a lower-body injury. Weber will not be making the trip with the team to Chicago, definitely confirming he will be out at least two game. Mike Fisher, on the other hand, will be making the trip. Here’s a .gif of where Weber’s injury occurred:

  • Craig Smith notched his first of two goals last night in the second, helping to break that awful second period slump and gave Nashville a 3-2 lead going into the third.
  • Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-2 lead in the third, becoming the youngest player in Preds franchise history to score a post-season goal.
  • And, quickly after Forsberg, Craig Smith wanted another taste and notched his second goal of the night on Corey Crawford. Ah, and Pekka Rinne picked up the assist on his goal, too.
  • Mike Santorelli would get the deciding goal for his first in the playoffs, making the final score 6-2 in favor of Nashville.
  • Vince Vaughn was in town to watch his beloved Blackhawks along with NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman. The Predators should be beaming to show off such a great game to someone who doesn’t care much for small markets.

Other Thoughts:

That, ladies and gentlemen, was a game for the ages. The Predators went in knowing that things would possibly go against them – as it always has. Instead of taking the beating, Nashville stood firm and expressed the type of discipline they have been lacking for a while. Maybe it was the loss of Weber; maybe it was the excellent PK on that double-minor; whatever the case, there was a fire lit under the Predators that needs to stay lit for tomorrow’s game in Chicago and beyond.

Game 3 in Chicago starts at 2PM — A little bit earlier than the two here at home, I’d say. Like I said, that fire from last night needs to be there tomorrow. Chicago will have the crowd and home ice advantage, which could break them mentally. No need for mentality breaks.

Pekka Rinne makes Finals for NHL13 Cover

covervote.nhl.com – #voterinne

Behind much? Yea, we definitely are, but we are finally updating the site to announce what all (unless you live under a rock) Predators fans are aware of, due to the fact their Twitter, Facebook, and all other social media accounts are being blown up by… Pekka Rinne has made it to the final round of the NHL13 game cover.

Nashville’s top goaltender has made it through three grueling rounds, facing and surpassing big names like Patrick Sharp, Henrik Lundqvist, and John Tavares. Now he’s down to the final round, up against Philadelphia’s Alternate Captain Claude Giroux.

Predators fans have truly stepped up for their Finnish phenom, teaming up along the way with the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers. However, now that both goalies are in the finals, allies have backed down and now it’s on like Donkey Kong.

Pekka has had a strong lead throughout his run thus far, but cut it close in the last round, almost being knocked out by John Tavares. However, Nashville has a little star power backing up the 29-year-old Finn. Former players like Shane O’Brien, Steve Sullivan, and Joel Ward have tweeted to vote for their friend. Carrie Underwood and Charlie Sheen have also been sending out the love for Pekka, trying to bump up his votes.

Voting ends on June 4th, so don’t procrastinate! Results will be revealed during the 2012 NHL Awards on June 20th, so nails will be bitten until then! Keep it up, Preds fans!

www.covervote.nhl.com

Predators seek Ice Time in IIHF World Championship

Roman Josi will hit the ice with Team Switzerland.

The playoffs and hopes of a Stanley Cup in Nashville are over for the Predators, but for some of the players, a chance at a championship isn’t quite over. As teams have slowly but surely been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, NHL players have been packing up and heading to Europe to compete with their country’s national team for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship.

Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Yevgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) quickly joined up with Team Russia once eliminated, along with notable Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara joining Team Slovakia. Corey Perry (Anaheim), Duncan Keith (Chicago), Patrick Sharp (Chicago) and Alexandre Burrows (Vancouver) hopped aboard Team Canada, along with Jimmy Howard (Detroit) and Bobby Ryan (Anaheim) joining Team USA.

With sixteen countries represented, almost all have some support from an NHL player, minus France, Latvia, Italy, and Kazakhstan. If you’d like to check out who’s representing who, check out the IIHF website. However, since being eliminated on Monday night by the Phoenix Coyotes, members of the Nashville Predators have been stepping up for their respected national teams and continuing their time on the ice.

The rookies have proven they aren’t ready for off-season, with defenseman Roman Josi jumping on board with Team Switzerland and forward Craig Smith joining Team USA. Martin Erat is in the works with joining Team Czech Republic, along with Andrei and Sergei negotiating with Team Belarus. More Predators players are suspected to join their respected countries as the week goes on.

The IIHF World Championship tournament is going on now until May 20th, in both Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.

Update: Just as we expected, another Predator has joined the IIHF for the World Championship. Patric Hornqvist has hopped on board with Team Sweden. We will keep you updated as new players join their country’s team.

Preds Rally Back, Fall Short to Blackhawks 5-4

Alexander Radulov, David Legwand, & Roman Josi fight puck control.

After the captivating win over the Red Wings in Detroit last night, the Predators hit the road (err, airways?) with the wind in their sails, banking on another win tonight against Chicago at home in Nashville. In the six games that Nashville and Chicago have played one another, Chicago was only able to sneak one passed this Predators, and even then, it was in OT. However, after completely humiliating the Blackhawks in Chicago last Sunday 6-1, Chicago was chomping at the bit to bestow the same humiliation on the Predators in Nashville. Nashville has already sealed their playoff spot, but Chicago is still clawing up that ladder. With a win in Nashville, the Blackhawks would get their coveted playoff spot… even more reason to win tonight.

KEY POINTS:

  • The scratched list was long once again tonight, with Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, Craig Smith, and Ryan Ellis making the list. Although he returned briefly, Colin seems to be still suffering from a “groin” injury. With as well as Bourque and the return of Roman Josi, Craig Smith might be taking a few games off for a while.
  • Chicago drew blood first at 3:25 in the first with a power play goal from Patrick Sharp, his 32nd goal of the season. His back-hander passed Pekka would be the only goal of the first period.
  • Chicago wasted no time in the 2nd Period either, with Dave Bolland sinking another power play goal at 1:05 for his 19th goal of the season.
  • Patrick Kane would put Chicago up 3-0 at 6:50 with a wrist shot passed Pekka for his 21st goal of the season.
  • Viktor Stalberg would only fuel the fire at 8:35, sinking his 20th goal of the season in the 2nd Period.
  • At 9:29, the Predators finally found their groove and Martin Erat hit a wrist shot passed Corey Crawford for his 19th goal of the season. Ryan Suter (37th assist) and Mike Fisher (26th assist) picked up the assists on the power play goal.
  • Nashville would continue to fire back, with a snap shot goal from Shea Weber, his 18th goal of the season. Ryan Suter picked up his 38th assist along with Andrei Kostitsyn (18th assist).
  • The 3rd Period started out in favor of the Predators, with a backhanded goal from Alexander Radulov, his first goal at home after returning to Nashville (3rd goal of the season). David Legwand (33rd assist) and Kevin Klein (15th assist) picked up the assists on A-Rad’s goal.
  • Shea Weber would pick up his second goal of the night at 7:10 on the power play, his 19th goal of the season. Ryan Suter picked up his third assist of the night (39th assist) and David Legwand picked up his second (34th assist) of the night.
  • Although tied 4-4, Chicago wasn’t going to let Nashville sneak passed yet again and, at 8:19, Brent Seabrook sent a snap shot passed Pekka Rinne, putting the Blackhawks up by one (his 9th goal of the season).
  • It’s hard for Trotzie to decide whether to sit Pekka on nights like tonight, especially after playing such a physical game like last night in Detroit. Unfortunately, since Detroit and Chicago are both vying for potential playoff spots, Nashville can’t afford but anything but the best in front of their net. It was clear Peks was drained from last night’s game, but he still made an incredible effort, blocking 32 of 37 shots on goal. The Predators were, of course, out-shot 33 to 37, but you can’t help but be impressed by their effort to come back late in the 2nd Period and tying the game after being down 4-0.
  • Penalties were Nashville’s downfall tonight (well, along with some other elements). Chicago gave Nashville four power play chances, two of which the Predators were able to capitalize on. Nashville, on the other hand, gave Chicago six power play chances, two of which Chicago used to their advantage. Okay, so technically, Nashville used their power plays better, but penalties hurt nonetheless. Here are your penalty box boppers:
  1. Matt Halischuk – 1:38 1st Period – Hi-Sticking
  2. Paul Gaustad – 10:27 1st Period – Roughing
  3. David Legwand – 19:48 1st Period – Hooking
  4. Martin Erat – 13:13 2nd Period – Slashing
  5. Gabriel Bourque – 16:46 2nd Period – Tripping
  6. Alexander Radulov – 19:52 3rd Period – Hooking

A rough loss for Nashville tonight at home, allowing the Blackhawks to finally clinch their own playoff spot. However, considering Nashville has beaten the Blackhawks four times out six (gaining a point from one loss in overtime), you have give credit to the Predators for proving to be the better team overall this season. After coming back from being down by four goals, you have to admit, even after whipping Detroit’s butt last night, the Predators still had some kick in their step.

The Predators finish up the remainder of the regular season this week, with the Minnesota Wild coming in on Tuesday and the Dallas Stars venturing to Nashville on Thursday. The Predators last regular season game is on Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)