Preds tally Win over Wild 3-1

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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.

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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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Nystrom & Neal added to IR; Salomaki recalled to NSH

ericandjames

After being recalled by Nashville this past week & sitting patiently on the Scratched list, Miikka Salomaki may finally be making his NHL debut tonight against the Dallas Stars.

There’s a good chance he’ll make his debut tonight due in part to both Eric Nystrom and James Neal being officially placed on the Injured Reserve. Though Neal’s placement was eminent, Nystrom comes as a bit of a surprise. I am not sure where he sustained an injury, as he seemed fine against the Hurricanes Tuesday and no news off an injury came about afterwards (until now).

It is interesting to note, however, that both Taylor Beck and Matt Cullen participated in today’s practice (they are both currently on IR). During this morning’s skate, Salomaki formed a third line alongside Olli Jokinen and Calle Jarnkrok, but we shall see if he truly makes his debut sometime before game start.

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.

Preds Knock Avalanche 3-0

Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America

After being knocked from the top spot in the Central Division and losing to Chicago on Saturday night, the Predators headed West for a mini trip while Marvel Universe takes over the Bridgestone Arena for a few days. Truly, Nashville’s powerplay seems to be their only weakness at this point and, while it isn’t the worst of situations, it is still adding insult to injury where Nashville could use some help in dire situations (i.e. game changer). Anyways, this is the first meeting between the Predators and the Avalanche this season and, where normally the Avs are heading the top of the Central Division, this year has been a little different (so far). Colorado is currently in sixth in the Central Division, while Dallas is rounding out the last spot at seven. As I mention in almost ever post that Nashville plays a team struggling with numbers, don’t count them out; the Predators are notorious for getting sleepy during games like these. Colorado also has one of the top penalty kill percentages thus far this season, which probably doesn’t mean much to Nashville as… they are terrible at powerplays to begin with.

First Period:

  • Just 2:23 into the period, rookie sensation Filip Forsberg sends one past Chet Calvin Pickard; Chet’s brother — remember Chet, guys? You know, our first…round…pick… Gabriel Bourque (1) and Seth Jones (6) picked up the assists on Forsberg’s 12th goal of the season.

Second Period:

  • No goals, but Nashville led SOG ten to Colorado’s eight.
  • Nashville was given three powerplay chances in the second, but could capitalize on none of them.

Third Period

  • The last two goals would be empty-netters, with Gabriel Bourque nabbing his first goal of the season at 18:10 with assistance from Mike Ribeiro (15).
  • And James Neal would pick up his tenth goal of the season and the game winner at 19:02. Mike Ribeiro (16) and Filip Forsberg (15) would grab the assist points.

Nashville’s week-long roadtrip has started off on the right foot, with the Predators now at a 18-7-2 record thus far this season. Next stop is in Glendale, Arizona to spend a little time with Martin Erat. This will also be Mike Ribeiro’s first return to Arizona since being let go last season. I’m sure they’ll be excited to see how well he’s been doing with Nashville, right…? Right?

Preds Win second straight SO; Rout Kings 4-3

Source: Brooks Bratten Twitter - @brooksbratten

Source: Brooks Bratten Twitter – @brooksbratten

I dare you not to stare at the photo of Shea Weber above for more than three seconds; he looks so delighted. And rightfully so as Nashville knocked the defending Stanley Cup Champions (L.A. Kings) in a shootout last night 4-3. Oh yea, and there are some other reasons why Shea might be a little giddy this morning, but we’ll cover that in the highlights of last night’s game:

First Period:

  • Nashville lit the lamp at 6:24 to get the ball rolling; Craig Smith’s seventh goal of the season. Colin Wilson (5) and Anton Volchenkov (3) pursued the assists on Smith’s goal.
  • The Kings were quick to put their name on the board, tying it at 11:32 with a goal from Jamie McBain (his first of the season – you’re welcome).
  • Though both even on the scoreboard, Nashville would send twelve shots-on-goal compared to L.A.’s seven.

Second Period:

  • Marian Gaborik would give L.A. the lead at just 1:01 into the second, his fourth goal of the season.
  • It would take a little over seventeen minutes later for Nashville to retaliate with a goal from Ryan Ellis (2). Colin Wilson would pick up his second assist of the night (6) and Craig Smith would collect his first of the night (6). Oh yea, and the first of one of these of the season:
    CATFISH
  • Not even a minute later, Eric Nystrom would tip one in from Taylor Beck (3) and give Nashville a 3-2 lead late in the second. Shea Weber also picked up an assist on Nystrom’s goal, his seventh of the season and – remember when I said he’d have another reason to be happy? – is now the franchise defenseman leader in assists with 223.

Third Period:

  • Just 38 seconds into the third period, Drew Doughty would sink a clean goal through Pekka Rinne’s five-hole, tying the game.
  • Though Nashville did everything right to push back into the lead (with a number of nail-biting dings off the post and floating pucks), Martin Jones kept his composure and helped send the game into overtime.

Overtime:

  • It was clear Nashville was in control during overtime, out-shooting the Kings four to one and keeping Jones on his toes. Unfortunately, no goals were tallied in overtime, thus throwing Nashville into its second-straight shootout.

Shootout:

  • NSH – Derek Roy – MISS
  • LAK – Jeff Carter – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – MISS
  • LAK – Marian Gaborik – MISS
  • NSH – Ryan Ellis – MISS
  • LAK – Anze Kopitar – MISS
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • LAK – Tyler Toffoli – MISS
  • NSH – Roman Josi – MISS
  • LAK – Jarret Stoll – MISS
  • NSH – James Neal – GOAL
  • LAK – Dwight King – MISS

Phew! For a second there, I thought we were going to have to go through the entire roster and then some! Both goaltenders, Rine and Jones, were on point and one was going to have to budge sooner or later. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, it was Martin Jones who cracked first, a kid who only moved up into the NHL from a stint in the AHL last season. However, the kid is good – when others would flinch under the sight of a Shea Weber cannon, Jones stood tall. With this SO win (and St. Louis’ loss in a shootout against the Senators), the Predators are back atop the Central Division, but St. Louis is still biting Nashville’s heels. The Predators are back in action tomorrow night for a Turkey Day throw-down with our friends from the North, the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers, who have lost their last five games and are sitting dead at the bottom of the Pacific Division, will be another possible “Florida Panthers scenario” if the Preds don’t mind their p’s and q’s. By assuming Nashville will overpower and kick the Oilers to the curb is as inaccurate as they come. The Oilers are due and win and punting Nashville on an American holiday is just what the doctor ordered.

First Period Action pushes Preds past Oilers 3-2

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Source: ESPN.com

After a six-game road trip, tallying 4-2-0, the Preds returned home last night to face the Edmonton Oilers for the second time this season (first time Nashville won 4-1). Though their record going into last night’s game was numbered at 6-8-1, the Oilers are a much stronger team than they let on. However, Nashville is on a power run and it’ll take more than being strong to knock them off their high horse.

Notable Notes:
– After suffering knee-to-knee contact with Brennan Evans of the Grand Rapids Griffins, it looks like Viktor Stalberg will be out for a 4-6 week period. Due to the injury, Evans has been suspended for four games.
– Good news for Mike Fisher fans as word has it he should be ready to return within two weeks.

First Period:
– Mike Ribeiro wasted no time getting the Predators on the board at 2:51, Nashville’s fastest goal this season. James Neal (4) and Filip Forsberg (10) picked up the assists on Ribeiro’s fourth goal of the season.
– Barely seven minutes later, Matt Cullen collect his second goal of the season with a tip-in past Viktor Fasth at 9:21. Seth Jones (4) and Craig Smith (3) would nab the assists.
– Filip Forsberg would put Nashville up 3-0 at 19:06 for his seventh goal of season and second point of the night. Mike Ribeiro (9) would collect the loan assist on Prince Filip’s goal.

Second Period:
– Edmonton would relieve Fasth of his duties and replace him with Ben Scrivens going into the second period.
– The Oilers took the first period to heart, scoring just 31 seconds into the second period with a goal from Benoit Pouliot.
– Edmonton would jump within one of Nashville with another goal at 14:42 from Nail Yakupov.

Third Period:
– No goals.

Edmonton bounced back strong in the second and third periods, but Nashville was able to hold them off and seal victory with the return home. As I mentioned, Edmonton’s record doesn’t account for how strong of a team they actually are; they just haven’t hit their stride yet (sounds super familiar). Nashville’s return was a quick one, as they jump back on plane and hop over to St. Louis to try another hand against the Blues, who are itching to push back into first in the Central Division (Nashville has 22 points, St. Louis as 21). Saturday night, Nashville returns with Winnipeg in tow (and it’s Pekka bobblehead night).

Preds take Win over Blues 2-1

Source: Eliteprospects.com

Nashville’s last stop on their Western Conference trek ended in St. Louis Saturday night, the first meeting between the two this season. St. Louis, who is currently sitting in first in the Central Division, could easily be punted out of that spot if Nashville came in with guns blazing. And, with players like Filip Forsberg and James Neal on point, St. Louis needs to watch its back.

First Period:
– St. Louis struck first with a goal at 14:30 from Jori Lehtera, his third of the season.
– Nashville was given two power play chances, but failed to capitalize on either during the first period.

Second Period:
– Filip Forsberg did his Forsberg thing with his sixth goal of the season at 7:15. Roman Josi (4) and James Neal (3) nabbed the assists.
– As awful as Nashville’s penalty kill can be, they did manage to hold off St. Louis’ power play at 17:49.

Third Period:
– After picking up an assist, James Neal collected his eight goal of the season and the game winner at 13:32 in the third. Filip Forsberg (9) and Mike Ribeiro (8) would pick up the assists.

With this win, Nashville is now 9-3-2 and the leader of the Central Division. Woot! The Preds return Tuesday night to face the Edmonton Oilers, a team Nashville has already had success over once this season (Oct. 29th – 4-1 in Edmonton). Welcome home, gentlemen.

Preds give Jets Third straight Win

Source: Sports.Yahoo.com

We’ll keep this short: Lots of penalties by both sides, yet it was Nashville’s special teams that ultimately failed in the long run.

First Period:
– The Jets wasted no time taking the lead at 2:53 with a PPG from Andrew Ladd (5).
– Not even three minutes later, Winnipeg would capitalize on yet another power play, taking the lead 2-0. – Number of penalties: two (both on Nashville – Matt Cullen (interference) and Colin Wilson (hooking)).
– Head Coach Peter Laviolette took a puck to the head late in the first period after Jacob Trouba slung one into the Preds bench. Laviolette stayed glued to the bench until the end of the period, but returned in the second with a fresh set of stitches.
Screen shot 2014-11-10 at 6.47.49 PMSecond Period:
– Leave it to Prince Filip to put Nashville on the board at 16:17 for his fourth goal of the season. Shea Weber (2) and Mike Ribeiro (7) picked up the assists.
KrRRMx– Number of penalties: four (three Winnipeg, one Preds – Roman Josi (roughing)).

Third Period:
– Blake Wheeler would seal the deal for Winnipeg with an empty-netter at 18:20.
– Number of penalties: five (three Winnipeg, two Nashville – Mattias Ekholm (holding) and Taylor Beck (spearing)).

Again, needless to say, the special teams has some work to do – it always has, but after tonight’s performance, it cannot be ignored any longer. Teams are quickly figuring out that, if they can get Nashville on the penalty kill, they just about have goal in the bag. Pekka Rinne and Carter Hutton can only do so much on their own.

Weekend Review: Lose Some, Win Some in Canada

Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

There’s always one team that gives Nashville trouble and we aren’t talking about Chicago or St. Louis; it is always that underdog team that your mind automatically – when going through the schedule – chalks up as a win. This year’s team that keeps knocking Nashville down a peg or two looks to be the Calgary Flames. Now, we aren’t saying Calgary is a terrible team by any means, but they aren’t a team we as fans go into thinking Nashville is going to have some trouble with… until this season. The season is still young, but losing twice to Calgary thus far (with only two meetings) and the fact that the Predators simply struggle against them could spell trouble down the road within the Western Conference. However, this weekend wasn’t a complete loss and happily, that win came in Canucklehead territory. Here are the highlights from this past weekend’s romp through Western Canada:

Friday, October 31st – Nashville @ Calgary:

First Period:
– The first period proved goal-less, with both Calgary and Nashville taking a good amount of shots (Calgary 10, Nashville 8).

Second Period:
– Calgary jumped on the board first with a PPG from Sean Monahan at 4:23 after Colin Wilson was charged with goaltender interference.
– Craig Smith would tie it at one with his fourth goal of the season at 5:30 with assistance from Ryan Ellis (5) and Mattias Ekholm (2).
craig smith– At 11:09, Nashville would gain the lead with a goal from James Neal, his sixth of the season. Mike Ribeiro (5) picked up the lone assist.
james nealThird Period:
– At 2:36, Jiri Hudler would tie the game in favor of Calgary for his third goal of the season.
– Calgary would collect a second PPG during the game with a goal from TJ Brodie at 4:23 pushing the Flames up 3-2.
– Not two minutes later at 6:37 Calgary would jump to 4-2 over Nashville with a clean goal from Johnny Gaudreau (2).
– Nashville would come back within one at 10:47 with a PPG from James Neal (7) with some assistance from Matt Cullen (2) and Filip Forsberg (7).
– Unfortunately, Calgary managed to keep Nashville at bay in time for regulation to run out, sealing the win in their favor 4-3 in the Saddledome.

Sunday, November 2nd – Nashville @ Vancouver:

First Period:
– The first period started off with a goal in favor of Vancouver, as Alexander Edler nabbed his second goal of the season on a PPG.

Second Period:
– Nashville would capitalize on the powerplay at 1:38 into the second with a goal from Filip Forsberg (2), though it was clear that former Predator, Dan Hamhuis knocked the puck in. James Neal (1) and Matt Cullen (3) would pick up the assists.
FORSBERG CANUCKSThird Period:
– Forsberg would sink one without the help of Hamhuis at 6:42 for his third goal of the season, with assistance from James Neal (2) and Mike Ribeiro (6).
FORSBERG CANUCKS 2– At 18:27, Colin Wilson would collect his first goal of the season and the GWG. Filip Forsberg (8) and Mattias Ekholm (3) picked up the assists.
COLIN– It is important to note that Vancouver was playing back-to-back games, but a regulation win is a regulation win.

Nashville is almost done with its trip around the Western Conference, with the next stop in Winnipeg to visit the Jets on Tuesday night.