Pekka Rinne Update: E.Coli Infection

Image: Getty Images

So, we are all aware of Pekka Rinne’s infection in his surgically-repaired hip, but no one was prepared to hear exactly what type of infection it was.

An Escherichia coli (or E.Coli as it is affectionately called) infection. Yikes.

Though rare, infections in repaired hips are nothing to toy with and can cause serious damage or worse (we won’t go into those details). Luckily, Pekka’s symptoms were caught early and we don’t suspect his team of doctors will let it go unmonitored, so his expected recovery time is 6-8 weeks… just in time for Christmas/New Year’s.

Now, that’s just a rough estimate; his condition could worsen or get better depending on how his body reacts to antibiotics and other methods of recovery, just like any other type of infection. When the infection was intially discovered, Rinne did undergo a hip scope to clean out the infection.
However, do not get your hopes up for a speedy recovery. Just like any other serious infection, no one is going to be pushing Rinne back into the net any time soon, even if he’s the one claiming better health. I suspect we will begin hearing leaks of his recovery around the 6-8 week time frame, but I do not think he’ll be ready until he has been deemed completely back to 100%. No jumping back into the ice ahead of time for this guy!

So, that leaves Carter Hutton to man the goal posts until late December at the minimum. His confidence has me thinking he’ll be fine; a good stand-in until Peks can get back to his former self. When games go South for Nashville, all the blame cannot be bestowed upon Hutton, though he’s an easy target. Hutton’s had some outstanding, heart-stopping saves, but he has also had some blunders that would make kids in the juniors blush. But hey, you live and you learn, right?

The Predators are in Denver tonight to take on the 12-1-0 (yay) Avalanche, a team that defeated Nashville last month in their first meeting of the 2013-14 season. The Avalanche are hot, but Nashville’s known for their pesky determination and have pulled some wins out of nowhere. Let’s do that.

Smith with Wild GWG in OT; Preds edge Jet 3-2

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Didn’t the Predators just play the Jets?
Oh yes, they did; and they won in Winnipeg 3-1. So, would the boys be able to capitalize over the former Atlanta Thrashers once again? Especially after the punishing loss in Minnesota on Tuesday? The home crowd always builds some much needed confidence, so here are the highlights from last night’s overtime game:

BEFORE THE GAME:

  • Late Wednesday afternoon, word started floating around that Magnus Hellberg, the 38th overall draftee (first goalie) in the 2011 NHL Draft and the current goalie for the Milwaukee Admirals, would be called up for the Thursday night game.
  • Carter Hutton took to practice on Tuesday, but Pekka Rinne was nowhere in sight, which got the ball rolling on speculations as to what was wrong with the Finnish Phenom.
  • Word was made official yesterday during a press conference with the media regarding Pekka’s condition. Feeling weak and with a high temperature, Rinne bowed out of practice and it was revealed that he has a spontaneous bacterial infection in his surgically repaired hip.

Yikes. For any of us that have experience with hip surgeries (no, not me personally), you know that those kind of infections can be serious. Luckily for Peks, it was caught quickly and the medically staff he has access to will not allow the infection to spread by any means. So, in a nutshell, Pekka is out for a minimum of four weeks and it is up to the level-headed Carter Hutton to step up to the starting goalie plate.

  • Mike Fisher skated in practice yesterday, along with concussed Roman Josi. Though Roman is still not 100%, Fisher didn’t hesitate to jump back into the game last night. After his wife, Carrie Underwood accidentally revealed that his lower-body injury was indeed a foot fracture, we assume Mike decided it was time to shake it off and hit the ice. You can’t hate on Carrie for the accidentally slip; it happens sometimes in passing and, unfortunately, this one happened on Twitter were scoop-hungry media ate it right up.

First Period:

  • Shea Weber would get the ball rolling in favor of Nashville at 15:53 with a powerplay slapshot that Ondrej Pavelec just couldn’t wrap his mitts around. David Legwand (5th assist) and Filip Forsberg (3rd assist) picked up the assists in Weber’s third goal of the season.
  • Nashville would end the first period outshooting the Jets just 10 to 9, but Carter Hutton was well-prepared to prove he could backup Pekka Rinne.

Second Period:

  • Winnipeg would finally slip one around Hutton with a wrap-around from Anthony Peluso for his first goal of the season. The second period would end with both teams tied at 1.
  • Winnipeg attacked the puck during this period, outshooting Nashville 14 to 9. It was not surprising that at least one shot would inch past Hutton, but it was actually a sneaky one that did it.

Third Period:

  • Patric Horqnvist would hit a snap shot to put Nashville up again, this time 2-1 at 6:04 for his fourth goal of the season. Mike Fisher (4th assist) and Seth Jones (3rd assist) would nab the assists.
  • Blake Wheeler wouldn’t give up so easily, sending a wrister past Hutton at 16:59 to tie the game again.

Despite extreme effort, both teams were unable to end the regulation period with a game-winner, sending the game into OT.

Overtime:

  • Only two shots between each team was taken during overtime, and it was Craig Smith would was able to capitalize on his shot.
  • With only 17 seconds left in overtime, Craig Smith, who has been stellar thus far this season, sent a slapshot past Pavelec with the help of David Legwand (6th assist) to win the game. Here’s the video:

As we mentioned, Craig Smith has been a quiet stud thus far this season, the kind of stud we have expected from him for a while. After his performance for Team USA during the IIHF series, we were starting to wonder when that grace would hit the NHL ice. So far, with 11 GPs, Smith is currently sitting in 14th amongst the league. We have this feeling his league rank will be getting closer to the Top 10 very soon.

The Predators have one last home game before going on a seven-game road trip. The Preds will not return to Nashville until Saturday, November 16th when they welcome in the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Added Bonus:
Rich+Clune+Los+Angeles+Kings+v+Colorado+Avalanche+OfXJmj8sOf9lRich Clune vs. Matt Hendricks – September 23, 2009
Think they remember this now that they’re teammates?

Hutton leads Predators over Jets 3-1

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

The Predators have had some great outcomes thus far this season, but tonight it was finally time to let the Finnish phenom take a break and let the backup try his hand at a full NHL game. Insert: Carter Hutton, the confident backup for Pekka Rinne who has only had one shot at protecting an NHL basket. When was that? First game of the season when Peks was pulled in the first period against the St. Louis Blues. But hey, Pekka’s looking much better now (scared me there for a moment).

So, how did Hutton fair against Matt Halischuk and the Winnipeg Jets? Here are the highlights:

First Period:

  • No goals were tallied during the first, but Matt Cullen did collect the only penalty between both teams in the first at 15:58 with a hooking call on Matt Halischuk. Nashville was able to keep Winnipeg at bay, despite the Jets outshooting the Predators 15 to 12.

Second Period:

  • Ten seconds in, Matt Hendricks would head to the box for a tripping call, giving the Jets an early advantage in the opening of the second period.
  • Eric Nystrom didn’t mind being down a man, sending a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec for a shorthanded goal just twenty seconds in.
  • Patric Hornqvist would collect this third goal of the season at 12:07 with an unassisted snapshot.
  • Matt Cullen would pick up his second goal of the season at 14:17 with assists from Colin Wilson 4th assist) and Craig Smith (5th assist).
  • Winnipeg would lead Nashville in shots on goal with eleven to seven at the end of the second.

Third Period:

  • Evander Kane would collect his fifth goal of the season with a tip-in past Hutton, though it was simply a case of “lost puck”.
  • Carter Hutton and the Preds would hold off the Jets 3-1, despite being outshot in total 26 to 39.
  • Hutton would inevitably block 38 of those 39 shots; pretty good for his first full NHL game, right?

The NHL take notice of Hutton’s success as proven with this tweet:

Well, we had our stats wrong shots wise, but oh well.

Nashville has just one more game on the road before they head back home Thursday and, who’s that team? The Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Blown Call gives Avs Win over Preds 6-5

Sergei Kostitsyn picks up a goal and an assist in Denver.

Missed us? Last week was a bit hectic and with all of us at the games, it was hard to motivate ourself to hit the blog after a long day. We’ll get to those games later, but right now, let’s discuss the game that went down today in the Mile High City.

With the season being as short as it is, there are going to be a lot of back-to-back games and today’s afternoon set in Denver is just the start of a long two-day stretch for the Predators. The Avalanche have had their share of highs and lows so far, but the last few games have been rough on the Avs, with Colorado losing three of their last four. Needless to say, the Avalanche, playing on without their fearless leader Gabriel Landeskog, were hankering for a win. The Predators, having lost three of the last five games, were sitting in a similar boat.

FIRST PERIOD

  • The Avalanche were quick to strike first, with a wrist shot from Aaron Palushaj at 3:43 for his second goal of the season.
  • The Predators would put the pressure on Semyon Varlamov, but the Avs would capitalize again at 9:30 over Mason on the powerplay, with a slap shot from Tyson Barrie, sending Colorado up 2-0 early in the first.
  • Colorado’s two goals would awaken the Predators at 17:20 with a powerplay wrister from Sergei Kostitsyn, his second goal of the season. Colin Wilson would pick up his seventh assist, along with Craig Smith (2nd assist).
  • The Predators kept the pressure in the Avalanche zone, out-shooting Colorado nine to eight.

SECOND PERIOD

  • The second period would become one for the history books, with outstanding goals and controversial miscalls.
  • Matt Duchene’s goal at 3:18 will forever be one of controversy, though it is clear that the lineman that missed the blatantly obvious offsides. You can see the play here:
  • Even if you don’t understand anything about hockey, you can tell something was wrong here. Even Duchene hesitated before shooting the puck, knowing good and well he was offsides. However, when the whistle was not blown, Duchene took full advantage of the mistake and capitalized with a goal. After the game, the NHL did agree that the offsides call should have been made, but what does it help now?
  • Mike Fisher would put the missed call behind him, sending a wrist shot past Varlamov at 10:16 for his third goal of the season. Shea Weber, who was originally accredited with the goal picked up his third assist and Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his fourth assist of the season.
  • Colorado wouldn’t give Nashville a chance to gain momentum, sending snap shot past Mason at 11:06 from Chuck Kobasew, his first goal of the season.
  • Colin Wilson would battle back at 13:17 with a backhand into the net for his fifth goal of the season. Martin Erat would nab his seventh assist and Jonathon Blum would collect his fourth.
  • Paul Stastny and Jamie McGinn would surprise and embarrass Mason with two goals in less than sixteen seconds of each other, sending the Avs up 6-3 late in the second. Mason was promptly pulled, giving Pekka the reins.
  • With Pekka Rinne in net, the Predators were able to hold the Avs back long enough for Jonathon Blum to nab his first goal of the season with a clean slap shot at 19:10.
  • Colorado got the upper-hand on Nashville in the second, out-shooting the Preds fifteen to twelve.

THIRD PERIOD

  • Unlike the second period, the third period was filled with exhaustion on both sides. Shea Weber would capitalize on a wrist shot, putting the Preds within one (6-5) at 18:42 for his second goal of the season. Mike Fisher (3rd assist) and Patric Hornqvist (4th assist) assisted in the late minute goal.
  • Nashville overpowered the Avalanche in the third, out-shooting them seventeen to five, but it just wasn’t enough to tie the game, giving the Avs a much needed win in regulation.

 

MUSINGS:

  • Patric Hornqvist returned to the lineup after suffering a lower-body injury against the Ducks on January 26th. Apparently, Hornqvist jumped right back in without skipping a beat, picking up an assist on Shea Weber’s goal and took twelve shots on goal.
  • Paul Gaustad suffered an “upper-body” injury in the first period, taking him away from the rest of the game. The Predators took a hit on the face-offs, with Colorado winning 29 of 46 of them. Yikes. Gaustad’s injury remains unknown and his condition is said to be “day-to-day” at this point.
  • Chris Mason got the nod as starter for the game, though it wasn’t exactly the presence he intended to make. Pekka would have to come in during the second period to take over, after Mason allowed two goals in just sixteen seconds.

 

As we mentioned before, the NHL admitted that Duchene’s goal should have been waved as he was offsides, but that does not help the Predators now, who would have eventually tied the game late in the third period, sending the game into overtime, which could have produced an entirely different outcome. But the nothing can be done now. The final score is in the books and, although we are not bitter about it (Duchene did what any player would do), when will the NHL take responsibilty for their linesmen missing such obvious calls?

The Predators head home to face the much missed (NOT) Jordin Tootoo and his Detroit Red Wings tomorrow night at home. Tickets are still available, but expect the 21st consecutive sellout tomorrow night.

Until then,
GO PREDS

Sweet Revenge: Predators Pummel Blues 6-1

Marty Erat does like to be injured.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure exactly where to begin. The team that hit the ice wearing Nashville sweaters was NOT the same club that has worn the jerseys previously. The Predators stayed consistent in both defense and offense, and Pekka Rinne was back in his Finnish phenom pants. Though the Predators only lead in shots over the Blues in the first period (9 to 4), the fact Nashville took a chance on shots for once proved successful, thus putting the breaks on the Blues 6-1. Again, I’m not sure even where to begin. So many plays, passes, shots, etc. were in Nashville’s favor, I just hope they can hang on to this voodoo that they’ve come across. For a team that has only two regulation wins, ten points are mind-blowing. Here are the highlights from tonight’s blowout over the Blues:

KEY POINTS:

  • Martin Erat powered back from his lower-body injury, hitting the ice against the Blues. Jonathon Blum, who proved his worth on NHL ice last Saturday against San Jose, got the nod to suit up once again. Brian McGrattan and Matt Halischuk settled with scratches.
  • Blues’ Center Andy McDonald took an early tripping penalty in the first, giving Nashville a chance at a powerplay goal. Ryan “The Rocket Ship” Ellis took a wrister from the corner, sneaking it past Brian Elliot for his second goal of the season (2:10). Martin Erat picked up his third assist and Colin Wilson picked up his second.
  • Nashville camp out in the Blues’ zone, with newcomer Rich Clune slipping a tip-in to sink his first NHL goal at 15:53. Colin Wilson would pick up his second assist of the night (third altogether) and Paul Gaustad would pick up his first assist.
  • Nick Spaling would sink his teeth into a wrist shot, earning his second goal of the season at 19:13, putting the Predators up 3-0 at the end of the first. Brandon Yip would pick up his second assist and Roman Josi would gain his first assist of the season.
  • Nashville would extend the momentum into the second period, with Kevin Klein pulling a Shea Weber and sending a killer slapshot past Elliot, thus pulling him from the game completely. Klein gained his first goal of the season at 9:09, with assists from Jonathon Blum (1) and Martin Erat (4).
  • Gabriel Bourque decided it was his time for a goal, tipping it in past rookie goalie Jake Allen. Not a good start to his NHL debut, no? Bourque’s goal was assisted by Colin Wilson, his third of the night and fourth overall.
  • A holding call on Roman Josi would prove why the Blues are second in the league in powerplay goals. Alex Pietrangelo would nab his second goal of the second with a backhander past Pekka Rinne. Pietrangelo’s goal would shift the momentum in favor of the Blues, pushing the Predators to either buck up or fall back.

Though the Blues took the reins in the third period, Nashville remained consistent, despite being out-shot 14 to 7. Pekka Rinne can be praised for his continuous saves, keeping the Blues at bay. A wrist shot at 16:34 from Martin Erat was the nail in the coffin for the Blues, sending Nashville up 6-1. Erat’s third goal of the season was assisted by Ryan Ellis (2) and Jonathon Blum (2).

Thirty-two shots on goal and only one snuck by. That’s the Pekka we know. Looks like the Finnish phenom is getting back into a rhythm, one I hope I didn’t just jinx. Even rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko couldn’t work his magic around Peks.

Penalties are still an issue with the Predators, with Nashville seeing six and the Blues only taking three. For a team that is second in the league for powerplay goals, the Blues weren’t exactly the team to give powerplay chances to. However, Pekka and the Predators held strong, only allowing one PP goal. Here are the six box sitters:

  1. David Legwand – 12:41, 1st Period – Diving or “embellishing”
  2. Roman Josi – 11:53, 2nd Period – Holding
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 16:07, 2nd Period – Hooking
  4. Shea Weber – 19:38, 2nd Period – Tripping
  5. Roman Josi – 1:15, 3rd Period – Cross-Checking
  6. Nick Spaling – 17:07, 3rd Period – Slashing

 

What a step in the right direction for Nashville. As I mentioned in previous posts, though shootout points are helpful, points in regulation are the key to the Stanley Cup. Okay, not the key, but one of many that the Predators have to nail down to compete throughout the season.

But there is certainly no way I can criticize tonight’s game. Absolutely outstanding defense, offense, and overall teamwork shown by the Predators tonight. It’s hard to believe that, just five games ago, Nashville fell 3-0 to this exact same team. This is the Predators team we expect to see. This is the Predators that will make it far in the playoffs.

Don’t forget! Tomorrow night at Dave and Buster’s at Opry Mills: The debut of The Kevin Klein Show at 6pm! Get there early for prime seating, as you don’t want to miss Kleiner or his special guest, Pekka Rinne!

Until then,
GO PREDS

Frustration Builds as Predators fall 4-0 to Coyotes

It has to be frustrating to more than just the fans, right?

Is frustration building amongst the team or is it just amongst the fan base? It would be difficult to believe that the team wouldn’t be, as the season just isn’t adding up to what they imagined thus far. It isn’t as if the Predators are just daydreaming along, but they just can’t seem to get the upper-hand when it comes to hammering a nail in the win column. The Predators had plenty of opportunities tonight, but again, the Predators just couldn’t squeeze one in, inevitably locking the 4-0 shutout in favor of the Coyotes. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jonathon Blum and Brian McGrattan continue to sit on the scratched list, with Patric Hornqvist joining them, for what looks like 3-4 weeks with a sprained knee.
  • Although the Predators came out on fire, the Coyotes scored first, with a wrister from Antoine Vermette past Pekka Rinne at the three-minute mark in the first (his third goal of the season). Phoenix would out-shoot the Predators 5 to 3 in the first period.
  • The second period would produce another goal for the Coyotes, sending Phoenix up 2-0 at 16:48 with a wrist shot by Lauri Korpikoski (third goal of the season). Phoenix would again out-shoot Nashville, this time 9 to 7.
  • Poor passing attempts would prove fatal for the Predators in the third, with Nick Johnson notching his first goal of the season with a – get this – wrister past Peks at 11:34.

The Predators were given plenty of powerplay opportunities, and managed to shutdown all six penalty kills awarded to the Coyotes. Here are the six troublemakers:

  1. Rich Clune – 15:12 1st Period – Fighting
  2. Craig Smith – 6:28 2nd Period – Hooking
  3. Matt Halischuk – 11:03 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Martin Erat – 5:24 3rd Period – Roughing
  5. Colin Wilson – 8:08 3rd Period – Too many men/ice
  6. Gabriel Bourque – 13:15 3rd Period – Tripping

Frustration. The word of the day, folks. We can’t imagine the team and the fans are feeling anything else. The second shutout of the season, the Predators are needing more help than we first imagined. Poor passes, unnecessary penalties, and zero offense won’t get you into the post season, especially when you are working with a 48-game season, and you’ve already lost five of the six.

What can the Predators do to reach Stanley Cup potential? I am afraid we’ve exhausted all of our options, but as a UT/Titans fan, you have to keep your head held high. Still early, the Predators can bounce back.

KEEP CALM AND GO PREDS.

Preds fall to Ducks 3-2 in 3rd Shootout of Season

20130127-001810.jpg

Gill putting the Ducks in their place.

Shootout. The third in just five games. The Predators are 0-3 on the shootout thus far.
After the Ducks’ embarrassing 5-0 shutout against the Canucks the night before, it is not surprising the Ducks weren’t forgetting what time the game started tonight. However, unlike Thursday in St. Louis, Nashville came out strong, though both sides stayed evenly matched when it came to shots on goal throughout the game. The Predators played much better and much more level-headed compared to Thursday, but the Ducks just weren’t going to suffer two nasty losses in a row. Both teams were licking the wounds of a shutout, but only one could savor sweet victory. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game in the Golden State:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad returned to the lineup after missing the last two games. Jonathon Blum and Brian McGrattan remained on the scratched list, along with Matt Halischuk.
  • Brandon Yip struck gold first with a backhanded goal past Viktor Fasth, who made his NHL debut during tonight’s game. Yip’s first goal of the season was unassisted.
  • The Predators would hold down the fort throughout the remainder of the first and for all of the second, except for Bobby Ryan notching his first goal of the season with just over 30 seconds left in the second to tie the game.
  • David Legwand would seal his second goal of the season at 10:09 in the third with a backhander, assisted by Kevin Klein (second assist) and Gabriel Bourque (first assist).
  • Daniel Winnik would respond moments later with his fifth goal of the season, a tip-in past Pekka to tie the game once again.

Overtime proved to be a heated match, but neither side could find the sweet spot to end the game, thus throwing the game into a shootout, the Predators’ apparent mortal enemy.

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
ANAHEIM – Ryan Getzlaf – SAVE
NASHVILLE – Mike Fisher – SAVE
ANAHEIM – Corey Perry – GOAL
NASHVILLE – David Legwand – SAVE

Penalties, yet again, plagued the Predators tonight. With Nashville’s four and Anaheim’s two, the Predators gave the Ducks more chances to advance. Luckily, the Ducks just couldn’t nail that powerplay goal. Here are the four guys who like the box a little too much:

1. Nick Spaling – 6:28 1st Period – Slashing
2. Craig Smith – 16:56 1st Period – Throwing Stick*
3. Brandon Yip – 9:16 2nd Period – Boarding
4. Hal Gill – 5:17 3rd Period – Tripping

*Rule 10.3 – “A player will be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to a teammate on the ice.” Yea, it’s real.

  • Patric Hörnqvist suffered a lower-body injury tonight during the third period, first from taking a Shea Weber slapshot to the leg and another hit against the boards from Ryan Getzlaf. Per Coach Trotz, Patric will be out indefinitely and most likely will be on a plane back to Nashville to be examined by the team doctors. Although a tremendous loss for a struggling team, Patric’s healing time may lead to more opportunities for players such as Colin Wilson.
  • Craig Smith looks like he has made his way into Trotz’s infamous “dog house”, with a very noticeable lack of ice time with one shift in the second period. There will be no sending him to Milwaukee, however, as that would expose him to waivers. After his senseless penalty, Smith may not see the ice for a while. Colin Wilson’s heart may be smiling, as he is most notable for being Trotz’s go-to player to punish.

Rough beginning to the season for the Preds, but don’t jump ship just yet, fellow Preds fans. Though Nashville does not have the luxury of an entire season to gain momentum, they still have time, if they push themselves to victory. It can be done, but they cannot take their time. Do not turn on Peks, either. Though he hasn’t quite reached his typical Finnish phenom status, he isn’t the problem. Yes, shootouts are not his strong suite, but he is not the only factor that leads to a shootout scenario.

The Predators wander out to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes on their turf, another game that could prove rough for the Predators. Then again, they may pull some confidence from midair and nab a much-needed win. Preds and Coyotes match up Monday, January 28 at 8 PM.

Keep Calm and Go Preds.

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

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)

San Jose Sharks sink Predators in SO 2-1

Photo credit of Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America

After a close shootout win in Phoenix on Tuesday night, the Predators headed further west into California to take on the San Jose Sharks in the always intimidating Shark Tank. The Predators and the Sharks would only meet four times this season, with San Jose winning two of those wins being in favor of the Predators (the Sharks won the first game of the season against the Predators in Nashville 3-1). The Sharks, who are fighting back the L.A. Kings for the 8th Spot in the Western Conference, were prepared to take out the Predators on their own territory on Thursday night, but would the Predators take the shark bait? Here are the highlights from Thursday’s game in San Jose:

KEY POINTS:

  • Gabriel Bourque, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk, Roman Josi, and Kevin Klein were all scratched for the night, but, even with the possible injuries, none of the fellows above (mainly Josi and Klein) are suspected to be placed on the IR.
  • It took half the period before anyone could seal a goal, but it was Patric Hornqvist who got the ball rolling at 13:18 during the 1st with a wrist shot on the power play for his 22nd goal of the season. Horny was assisted by Mike Fisher (22nd assist) and Martin Erat (36th assist).
  • The Predators head the 1-0 lead over the Sharks’ heads during the 2nd Period, ending the period still on top. Neither team was able to sneak one past either goalie during the 2nd Period.
  • The Sharks attacked as soon as the 3rd Period began, with Joe Thornton sealing a power play goal of his own with only 55 seconds into the period, his 16th goal of the season. The Sharks would fight the Predators off to end the game tied at 1-1, sending the game into overtime.
  • Overtime produced no goals for either team, despite Shea Weber taking a tripping penalty during the overtime.
  • The Predators succeeded in the shootout on Monday night, but could they do the same in San Jose? Here’s the rundown of the shootout:
  1. SAN JOSE – Martin Havlat – SAVE
  2. NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – SAVE
  3. SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski – SAVE
  4. NASHVILLE – Andrei Kostitsyn – SAVE
  5. SAN JOSE – Ryane Clowe – GOAL
  6. NASHVILLE – David Legwand – SAVE
  • Although a tough loss, Pekka Rinne was still on his A-Game, blocking 33 of 35 shots on goal. It was that one flaw in the defensive line that snagged the win for the Sharks during regulation, but it was all up to Peks in the shootout. The Predators also made took some silly penalties, giving up one goal during five power play chances. Here are the five penalty-takers:
  1. Andrei Kostitsyn – 1st Period 14:28 – Slashing
  2. Paul Gaustad – 2nd Period 15:43 – Roughing
  3. David Legwand – 2nd Period 19:49 – Interference
  4. Andrei Kostitsyn – 3rd Period 4:47 – Hi-Sticking
  5. Shea Weber – Overtime 4:56 – Tripping

The Predators luckily did not leave San Jose empty handed, tucking tail and heading South to Los Angeles with one point under their belts. Unfortunately, the Predators lost more than just the extra point that came with the win, as Paul Gaustad fell on his wrist during the third period, leaving the game with an upper body injury. If this turns out to be more than just a little awkward fall, Gaustad’s absence could be a huge hole in the Predators line.

The Predators continue their Western trek in L.A. on Saturday, then finishing up with the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday evening. Will Hollywood be kind to the Nashville kiddos? The puck drops at 9:30PM on Saturday.

Until then,
GO PREDS.