Predators Knock off Last Undefeated Team in SO

Craig Smith does not like the doghouse.

Now that shootouts are becoming the norm for the Predators, it is only natural that they would eventually get pretty good at them (thankfully). The Predators have only notched one regulation win, the other two being settled in a shootout. Nashville seems to be a freak of nature in the league this season, with that one regulation win, yet still holding their own with nine points. However, they are still last in the league in offense (gasp) and are the only team not to have a win on home ice, thus far (excuse me, they’ve been on a long ass road trip, thank you). Even with their setbacks and chug-a-lug start, the Predators are hanging in there, trying desperately to get a bit of momentum to power through this short, but backbreaking season. Knocking the last remaining undefeated team off its high horse? Very good start. Here are the highlights from Saturday’s game in San Jose:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jonathon Blum hit the ice Saturday night, his first steps on NHL ice since December of 2011. Blummer stepped up to replace the ailing Martin Erat, who took a puck to the ankle/foot during practice on Friday. Don’t expect Marty’s injury to be as bench-warming as Hornqvist’s, however.  Brian McGrattan remains on the scratched list.
  • The first and second period’s produced zero goals for either side, but action remained on high as both teams tore out of the gate on fire. San Jose out-shot Nashville in both periods, but Pekka remained on point, keeping the Sharks at bay and preventing them from continuing their undefeated streak.
  • Something sparked the Predators in the third, with Sergei Kostitsyn notching his first goal of the season with just 59 seconds on the clock. His wrister was assisted by Colin Wilson, his first assist of the season.
  • The Predators would hold the Sharks back until a careless mistake by the Predators in the form of a “too many men on ice” penalty stopped them in their tracks, allowing Martin Havlat to gain his third goal of the season. The Predators would out-shoot the Sharks nine to seven in the third period.
  • As usual, overtime was uneventful, though the Predators continued to out-shoot the Sharks, this time two to one. While that isn’t much, it is refreshing to see the Predators take a few shots every now and then.

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

  • SAN JOSE – Michal Handzus – SAVE
  • NASHVILLE – David Legwand – SAVE
  • SAN JOSE – Ryane Clowe – SAVE
  • NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – GOAL
  • SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski – SAVE

Now, what were we saying in the last post? Maybe Sergei dropping down to the third line and Craig finding himself in Trotz’s doghouse would possible motivate them to prove their worth? Looks like, so far, it’s doing the trick. Another face to commend is Jonathon Blum – for someone who hasn’t been in a Predators sweater in over a year, he didn’t bat an eyelash when it was his time to step up.

Penalties were abound in this game, a usual thorn in Nashville’s side. Here are the five penalty takers:

  1. Brandon Yip – 0:59, 1st Period – Hooking
  2. Jonathon Blum – 16:15, 1st Period – Interference
  3. Mike Fisher – 6:05, 2nd Period – Slashing
  4. David Legwand – 17:01, 2nd Period – Tripping
  5. Craig Smith – 12:26, 3rd Period – Too Many Men on Ice

Though we are happy the Predators are getting points, wether they win or lose in the shootouts, they cannot slide their way to the Stanley Cup on shootout points alone. The Predators are nearing the cliff of safety points and are going to have to nab some regulation wins if they want to continue pushing towards the Cup.

The Predators will finish out their road trip tomorrow against the nagging St. Louis Blues, an opponent that hasn’t been as kind to the Predators thus far.

NEW TO SMASHVILLE:
102.5 THE GAME and FIFTH THIRD BANK present the all-new Kevin Klein Radio Show, starting this Wednesday (2/6) at 6PM at Dave & Buster’s at Opry Mills! Kevin’s first guest of the season will be goaltender, Pekka Rinne! Someone had to replace Tootoo, right?

Until tomorrow,
GO PREDS

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.