Ribeiro’s 3rd Period Goal secures Preds Win 3-2

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After losing the Western Conference lead to the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night, the Predators needed the boost from regulation win against the New York Rangers to regain some momentum Saturday afternoon. The Rangers, who were 30-15-4 coming into yesterday’s bout, were riding confidently on a three game winning streak & hoping to extend that to four. Without King Henrik in the net, could the Rangers pull off the win? Or would Pekka Rinne’s return hold off the Blueshirts?

SCRATCHES: Olli Jokinen

FIRST PERIOD:

  • The first period saw plenty of pressure from both sides, but neither team could capitalize on their chances. The Rangers out-shot the Predators 10 to 8.
  • By no surprise, the Predators welcomed back former Predator Kevin Klein with a nice tribute video. Klein, who was drafted by Nashville 37th overall in the 2003 draft, spent his entire NHL career with the Predators up until last season when he was traded to the New York Rangers for… sigh… Michael Del Zotto. You can watch the tribute video here.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • The Rangers struck gold first, capitalizing on the powerplay from Rick Nash (33) at 11:49.
  • Roman Josi would respond at 18:39, collecting his 10th goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (5) and Calle Jarnkrok (9) would pick up the assists.
  • Shea Weber (12) would give Nashville the lead 2-1 at 19:20 with his signature slapshot past Cam Talbot. Roman Josi (27) and Matt Cullen (6) would notch the assists.
  • The Rangers took to out-shooting the Predators during this period as well, this time 12 to 10.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Ryan McDonagh wasted no time tying the game early into the third; his fourth goal of the season.
  • But it was Mike Ribeiro’s seemingly angry slapshot at 12:46 that sealed the game in favor of Nashville 3-2. Seth Jones (14) and Filip Forsberg (30) tallied the assists on Ribeiro’s 11th goal of the season.
  • The Rangers would – yet again – out-shoot the Predators, this time 10 to 5, but Nashville would come out as the victors.

NOTEWORTHY:

  • With his 11th goal of the season, Mike Ribeiro has now tallied his 700th career point. Ribeiro, who has been pretty consistent this season and lead the team in points for a good while, hasn’t had a point since January 29th against the Avalanche (picked up an assist). Chalk it up as patience towards that 700th point.
  • Colin Wilson sustained an injury during the first period and did not return to the remainder of the match. It was later released that he is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
  • Filip Forsberg continues to slap the NHL with his Calder Memorial Trophy contingency as he continues to lead the Predators in points and in every category that a rookie can (minus goaltending). Forty-seven points in 52 games? Yea, you can’t ignore that.

As usual, the Predators have no time to rest. Today, the team is in Sunrise, Florida to take on the 23-17-10 Panthers who are currently sitting pretty in 5th in the Atlantic Division. With Colin Wilson out, there’s a good chance Olli Jokinen will be off the scratched list and, due to being a back-to-back, Carter Hutton will start in net.

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Pekka Rinne: “I feel 100 percent and feel ready to go.”

Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Image

Well, that was fast! Official word has arrived from the Nashville Predators themselves! Pekka Rinne will be in net against the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow night! Here’s an excerpt from the official press release:

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is set to return to action Thursday, three weeks after suffering an injury in the third period of a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 13. The Finnish netminder was diagnosed with a sprained knee and given a three-to-five week recovery period following the incident and has progressed steadily the past 22 days. Rinne has participated in the team’s morning skates since Jan. 29, and is expected to start against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. “I feel really good,” Rinne said. “I feel 100 percent and feel ready to go. It’s never a good time to be injured, but I’m feeling good.” The NHL’s leader in wins with 29, Rinne holds a 1.96 goals-against average, second in the NHL, and a .931 save percentage, also good for second among League goaltenders. Rinne was named to the 2015 All-Star Weekend in Columbus, but was forced to miss the festivities due to the injury. Preds netminder Carter Hutton started in Nashville’s previous meeting with Anaheim on Jan. 4, recording 30 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Ducks. Hutton has seen a bulk of the action with Rinne out of the lineup, including a 4-0 shutout win over Pittsburgh on Sunday and a 4-3 victory over Toronto on Tuesday. “That’s great for Huts, he played a really strong game against one of the top teams, so that’s a big win,” Rinne said of Hutton’s shutout performance in Pittsburgh. “There’s been big wins [with Hutton in goal], the same against Washington at home [a 4-3 win], a big point in St. Louis [5-4 shootout loss], but there’s been big wins and big points.”

Funny to note that, despite being out for three weeks, Rinne still leads the league in wins (29) and is second in Save Percentages at .931. Will he be rusty against Anaheim? Who knows, but there’s no better time than now to get him back in the net. Now you may celebrate!

Hutton Shines but Preds fall 2-1 in OT to Habs

Source:  John Mahoney

Source: John Mahoney

Are you still a little hot under the collar after last night’s game? You should be. Though the Predators came out with one point, they still lost in what could be the worst way possible: terrible calls from the officials. Both goals awarded to Montreal were brought on by fluky penalties called on Craig Smith (first a holding, then a tripping in OT). The Predators also lose their record of no back-to-back losses this season. Very frustrating, indeed.

Things to take away from this game:

  • Taylor Beck was indeed the odd man out for last night’s bout against the Canadiens, meaning Olli Jokinen is safe for another day.
  • Eric Nystrom, as expected, returned to the ice last night after being placed on the IR back on January 8th. Nystrom saw 13:41 minutes of ice time.
  • Mike Ribeiro notched his 10th goal of the season off a tip-in deflection from a Seth Jones shot. Ribeiro was drafted 45th overall by the Canadiens in the 1998 NHL Draft and spent the 1999-00 through 2005-06 seasons (including a few stints with Montreal’s AHL team and a stint in Finland during the 04-05 lockout) with Montreal. Needless to say, last night’s goal for him hit the sweet spot for this native of Montreal.
  • Seth Jones collected his 11th assist of the season on Ribeiro’s goal, along with Filip Forsberg who picked up his 25th assist. Forsberg know has 40 total points this season and continues to lead rookies in all categories.
  • Carter Hutton had his best game this season, hands down. Sure, he hasn’t gotten to see too much ice time, but with Pekka out, he has certainly stepped up when it mattered most. Check out this save below:

  • Though his record states 1-4-3, you cannot argue that this is truly a stat that undermines the true skill behind Carter Hutton. He blocked 25 of 27 shots, most of which were very Pekka-esque. Luck, sadly, just hasn’t been on his side so far.
  • Peter Laviolette had some choice words for the officials last night after that botched tripping call that lead to Montreal’s victory in OT. If you read lips, you know what the head coach is barking about (and he has every reason to do so):
  • Mike Ribeiro also went on record to express his feelings towards the refs:

The Predators are now 30-10-5, which – on the bright side – is a feat to be proud of in its own right. Unfortunately, it stings a little more when you’ve gotten spoiled on multiple victories. A game like Detroit’s on Saturday should’ve hit Nashville right in the gut – now that was a face-plant. Last night’s in Montreal, however, can be dealt to the zebras; the Predators dominated that entire game and did not pull a “Green Bay” and drop the ball in the last few moments of the game.

The Predators get a much needed hiatus due to the All-Star break and will be back here at home on Tuesday, January 27th to welcome in the Colorado Avalanche.

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.

NSH claims 1st in League after OT Win over DAL

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Though it landed in overtime, the Predators captured the all-important two points to claim first in not only the Western Conference, but the entire League. Wowza. Or, as Sean McIndoe so eloquently put it:

Did the Predators ruin a bunch of predictions for the 2014-15 NHL season? Yea, I am going to go ahead and say that’s a big y-e-s to that one. It’s certainly not a bad thing. No one, not even the loyalest of fans, could have imagine that the Nashville Predators would be 27-9-4 at the beginning of January. And no one surely could’ve imagined that would be good enough to take the League. A team from Nashville?

I know, world; it’s hard to believe a bunch of hillbillies could muster the best team in the league. I must ask, though, as to why that always comes up. None of these guys [players], let alone the majority of the staff, administration, organization, what have you, aren’t even from Tennessee! Haters gonna hate. Shake it off.

SCRATCHES: Anton Volchenkov

First Period:

  • Shea Weber set the game in motion at 15:27 with a signature slapshot past Kari Lehtonen for his ninth goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (27) and Roman Josi (19) collect the assists.
  • Nashville would end the first period leading the Stars 1-0.

Second Period:

  • Jason Spezza would tie the game at 12:51, his seventh goal of the season.
  • In his NHL debut, nonetheless, Miikka Salomaki would claim his first career NHL goal at 16:47, pushing Nashville back into the lead 2-1. Roman Josi (20) and Calle Jarnkrok (6) collected the assists.
  • With just two seconds left in the period, Trevor Daley would sink one past Pekka Rinne to tie the game at two heading into the third.

Third Period:

  • Though it falls in the books that there were no goals tallied in the third period, a different story could be said for Preds fans. In a battle to get the puck to the net, Craig Smith got tied up with Kari Lehtonen, which allowed Filip Forsberg to sweep in for the score. Lindy Ruff and the Dallas bench called foul, claiming Smith was keeping Lehtonen from covering the post. Though originally called a goal, the play was then reversed in a matter of Smith committed “incidental contact” on Lehtonen. Of course, on review, it is clear that Jason Demers is crosschecking Smith into Lehtonen, thus causing the “incidental contact”, but it is all in the books at this point.

Overtime:

  • In a game that should’ve ended in regulation, Shea Weber sealed the victory in favor of Nashville just seventeen seconds into overtime, his second of the night and 10th goal of the season. Mike Fisher (7) and Colin Wilson (13) picked up the assists on Weber’s game winning goal.

Game. Set. Match. With the anticipated two points, the Predators bumped the Anaheim Ducks from the top of the Western Conference and League standings. However, Nashville isn’t out of the clear; both they and Anaheim share 58 points, but because the Ducks have played two more games, the Predators notch the top spot. With that, in order to push further ahead, Nashville will need to beat Minnesota tomorrow in regulation (or at least get one point) and hope that Anaheim gets steamrolled by the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

So Preds fans, bask in the glory that is top of the Central Division, Western Conference, and League.
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Gritty Third Period leads to NSH Victory over CAR

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

A gritty third period indeed. After a lackluster performance within the first and second periods, the outcome of the game in favor of Nashville looked pretty bleak going into the third period. Carolina, who were 12-24-4, were already up by one on Nashville and, even though that should be nothing for a team that is 25-9-4 should be concerned with, the Predators have a lengthy record of flunking against the Hurricanes.

SCRATCHES:

  • James Neal Anton Volchenkov

First Period:

  • The Hurricanes jumped on the board with a powerplay goal at 17:25 from Eric Staal, his eleventh of the season for Carolina.
  • Carolina managed to notch twelve shots on net, while Nashville desperately hunted for it, only tallying seven shots on net.

Second Period:

  • The second period brought zero luck to either contender on the side of goals.
  • Nashville came out with a bit more gusto this period, taking twelve shots to the net compared to Carolina’s five.

Third Period:

  • Peter Laviolette must have sacrificed a rookie during the second intermission because the Predators finally hit the ice with some power in the third.
  • Ryan Ellis (5) put the team on the board at 4:43 with a tricky slip behind Cam Ward’s back. Viktor Stalberg picked up his second assist for the season – his first one gained just last Saturday against the Kings.
  • Carolina would regain the lead at 8:14 with a powerplay goal from Justin Faulk, their second of the night.
  • A little over two minutes later, Mike Fisher would tie it once again for his sixth goal of the season. Colin Wilson (12) and Filip Forsberg (24) tally the assists.
  • Noteworthy: With his 24th assist, Filip Forsberg has now surpassed Alexander Radulov’s Franchise Rookie Record of 37 points; Forsberg leads rookies in the league with 38 points, 14 goals, 24 assists, and 23 plus-minus points. If he isn’t a Calder contender, I will have no reason to doubt the NHL just hates Nashville.
    radulov
  • Roman Josi would nail the GWG at 15:17 for his seventh goal of the season, bringing Nashville back from a dismal first and second periods. Viktor Stalberg (3) and Eric Nystrom (4) would nab the assists.

As the saying goes, “They don’t ask ‘how’ you won, but ‘if’ you won. Gritty wins in regulation still give you the two points.” — Someone says that. And, as news on the standings goes, Chicago (54) was blanked by the Colorado Avalanche last night, pushing Nashville (56) up two points. Though the Predators were already at the top of the Central Division, it’s still nice to push forward even farther from the Blackhawks. It is important to note that the Predators are also just two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for first in the Western Conference.

The 18-15-6 Dallas Stars roll into town on Thursday, then Nashville is off to St. Paul to visit Ryan Suter and the 18-15-5 Minnesota Wild.

Neal faces $2K Fine for Embellishment

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Say it ain’t so! James Neal has officially become the first player to be fined for embellishment (dive, what have you) during a game under the NHL’s new diving/embellishment rules. Neal was first reprimanded back on November 13th for a dive against the Blues, but there is no second warning nowadays. Neal’s $2000 fine was dealt due to an embellished fall from Saturday’s game against San Jose. Here’s the .gif of the act in question:

hmmm

Source: @KMartel_Sports

I missed this play during the game, but with slow motion and the tuck-into-fetal-position, it definitely looks like a dive; sorry James. Like I mentioned above the .gif, there are not second warnings, so what happens if Neal accidentally does this again (we say accident because James Neal is a classy individual not capable of such acting skills):

  • First Offense: Warning
  • Second Offense: $2,000 fine
  • Third Offense: $3,000 fine
  • Fourth Offense: $4,000 fine
  • Fifth Offense: $5,000 fine for him, $2,000 for Laviolette

Pretty certain there won’t be any beyond a fifth offense as, once the coach’s wallet starts taking a hit, the acting career will be over for the player involved pretty quickly. Well, I hope Neal doesn’t get pegged for embellishing anymore for his wallet’s sake, though I would’ve thought some Canucks would’ve gotten tagged with this fine before anyone…

Preds fall to Hawks 3-1; Time to Rest Rinne?

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Nashville hasn’t lost a home game since being pummeled 3-0 by the Penguins on October 25th, but another one was bound to happen sooner than later. Unfortunately for Preds fans, it came at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. What could add insult to injury is the fact that Chicago played the Montreal Canadiens last night at home, which usually puts said team at a disadvantage compared to a team [Nashville] who has a day to rest. Leave it to Chicago to bypass that hindrance and jump the Predators in the Central Division standings. You read that correctly:
Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 8.49.31 PMLooking at the glass-half-full, this loss wasn’t as devastating (stats wise) as it might feel; especially if you have to listen to belligerent Hawks “fans” as you leave the arena tonight. Though Nashville was only given two powerplay chances and managed to detour Chicago’s four chances, those were still two advantages the Predators failed to capitalize on that could’ve changed the game. However, the Blackhawks do currently hold the best penalty kill in the league, but that’s no excuse. The Predators are now 1-for-45 on powerplay goals at home this season; 28th in league just above the Wild and the Sabres. It is a weakness in advantage that is slowly catching up to the Predators as they push forward into the season.

Another factor to look at is impact on Pekka Rinne. Though there is no way you’d rest him while playing divisional opponents, when is the man going to get a break? Rinne has appeared in the 23 games thus far, whereas Carter Hutton has only seen three games worth of ice time. Yes, Pekka has been the much needed asset for securing many of Nashville’s 17 wins, but it may be time to give the Finnish Phenom a rest or two. Perhaps that will be the case for Tuesday’s game against Colorado; though a Central Division opponent, they sit four rankings below the Predators in sixth. However, ranking position means nothing if you’re goaltender isn’t on point, but Hutton has had enough rest and might want to stretch his legs. Truly, the only other time Pekka might legitimately get a break is on the 22nd when Nashville goes into Columbus. Yes, Pekka Rinne has saved many a butt and missing him from the net is definitely a risk (See last season), but starting him every single game is also a risk. You may play your best golf with your 9-iron, but eventually you’ll need your putter.

Kudos to Colin Wilson tonight for not allowing the Blackhawks to celebrate a goose egg tonight. His wrister past former Mississippi RiverKings (and Milwaukee Admirals, yea) goaltender, Scott Darling was his sixth for the season; assisted by Victor Bartley (1) and Mike Fisher (2). If you are stuck on the Mississippi RiverKings mention, that’s because it’s a Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) team and he is the first of said league to make it to the NHL. Jumping around that stat, Colin Wilson is certainly on his way to having one of the best seasons of his career. I mean, this kid went from constantly being tossed into Trotzy’s Doghouse to actually getting ice time to find his comfort zone. He has put up great numbers in the past, but I am foreseeing a much better performance from the 25-year-old under Laviolette’s system for sure.

Welp, don’t get too down, Preds fans; it’s Saturday night and, just remember: the Predators are doing 100x better than the Titans and shhh! Hockey’s not supposed to do better than football!

NSH takes Victory over CBJ 2-1

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Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Don’t you remember the good ole days when the Columbus Blue Jackets were a member of the Central Division and all was right in the world? Okay, the Blue Jackets in the Central Division certainly didn’t establish world peace, but it’s fun to reflect on times of old. Well anyway, Columbus and Detroit moved on to the Eastern Conference and have been trying to figure out their place in the world over there. Apparently, it hasn’t been exactly a warm welcome this season, as the Blue Jackets are sitting pretty at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and (to just add icing to the cake) the entire League. Ouchies. However, just because they haven’t had the ideal season thus far, doesn’t mean that the Predators should just wave them off as an automatic win. Those tend to be the games that Nashville (and honestly, any team) seems to fall flat against.

First Period:

  • Nashville came out on fire, taking 20 shots on goal compared to Columbus’s seven. Unfortunately, Curtis McElhinney just wasn’t going to let Nashville by that easily.

Second Period:

  • Mike Ribeiro would get the ball rolling at 12:47 with a wrap-around goal, his sixth of the season. Roman Josi (9) and Shea Weber (9) would collect the assists.
  • Nashville again would throw a number of shots on goal, this time thirteen to eight.

Third Period:

  • Columbus would enter the game at 3:48 on the powerplay, a trick that seems to be in their favor (including this goal, Columbus has nabbed 20 PPG this season). Ryan Johanssen would tally his ninth goal of the season.
  • Colin Wilson would seal the GWG at 17:48 for his fourth goal of the season. Craig Smith (7) and Calle Jarnkrok (4) would pick up the assists.

Now, this win not only puts Nashville’s record at 16-5-2, it also does the following:
IMG_3280 IMG_3281

What’s that? Nashville is now second in the entire league AND first in the Western Conference and Central Division! Some more optimistic folks may say we are tied for first in the league, but there’s a reason there’s not “two number ones”… that’s because Pittsburgh beat us head-to-head, therefore that gives them the No. 1. Darn you, Patric Hornqvist. However, if you want to look at it as a tie, you just go right ahead, you precious soul.

Nashville takes off East to North Carolina to take on the Hurricanes on Tuesday, then return to battle our buddy, St. Louis on Thursday night. Oh yea, and the Blackhawks drop by on Saturday. Joy.

Forsberg gives Preds the Edge over Oilers 1-0 in OT

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images-

How about that “Scoresberg”, y’all? For Predators fans, he could essentially be considered a Saint; as for the Capitals faithful? Well, they are still peeved over that Martin Erat/Mike Latta trade, and you can’t blame them. Though he was just a draft pick at the time (where as Erat/Latta had were exposed to the NHL), Forsberg was certainly a risky pickup. Did David Poile successfully predict his potential? Apparently, but we doubt he’d be the Rookie Offensive leader if he were still under the guidance of Barry Trotz.

Screen shot 2014-11-29 at 9.02.25 PM

I won’t go into the highlights of last night’s game other than Filip Forsberg’s goal at 3:55 in overtime for his tenth goal of the season. Roman Josi (8) and Shea Weber (8) nabbed the assists on the rookie phenom’s goal, giving Nashville the victory on Thanksgiving. The Oilers have now lost eight in a row, losing by one point in each of those games (minus the 7-1 loss against Chicago). Edmonton is floating in a boat all too familiar to the Predators; you have great talent (such as Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins), but something just isn’t connecting. Whether that missing piece be within the coaching staff or the players, they have good pieces, but they just haven’t found the rhythm. Good news, though! The Columbus Blue Jackets, who Nashville faces on Saturday night, are last in the league (Edmonton is above them with 16 points). Oh, and let us not forget to mention that it was also Mike Fisher’s season debut. No big deal.