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

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

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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.

Predators find Weakness in Shootouts, Fall to Blues 4-3

Predators notched a few more goals, but was it enough?

We’d like to start out with an explainable excuse as to why the Predators fell short tonight against the Blues, but unfortunately, rust and adjustments just can’t quite get them by tonight. The first period started out slow and steady for the Predators, then rocket-powered during the second. The momentum seemed to fizzle during the third, and completely dissipate during overtime. With the team heading straight to Minnesota tonight, are the Predators ready to take on this hectic, fast-paced season? Here’s the rundown of tonight’s head-shaker:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad was scratched tonight due to an upper body injury sustained in Saturday’s game. Rich Clune took to the ice for his first time in a Preds’ sweater to replace the injured Goose. Jonathon Blum was the second scratch of the night, with Victor Bartley being sent back down to Milwaukee.
  •  As mentioned before, the first period seemed a little bit of a “slow go” for the Predators, with the Blues taking control early. However, the Predators picked up the pace, with Colin Wilson striking gold first, sinking the puck passed Jaroslav Halak at 9:10. Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Ellis both picked up their first assists for the season on Colin’s goal.
  • Before Predators fans could finish celebrating, the Blues responded with a goal of their own at 10:28 with a goal from Vladimir Tarasenko, his third goal of the season.
  • The Blues would take the lead at 15:04 with a powerplay goal from Andy McDonald for his first goal of the season.
  • Mike Fisher would quickly tie the game once again at 17:13 on a powerplay goal of his own, his first goal of the season. Martin Erat would pick up his first assist of the season, along with Patric Hornqvist who picked up his third. 
  • After notching his third assist, Patric Hornqvist felt it was time to seal a goal of his own, slipping one past Halak at 12:53 on the powerplay. Martin Erat would pick up his second assist, along with Mike Fisher picking up his first assist.
  • It seemed as if the Predators would keep the Blues at bay during the third period, but alas, Alex Pietrangelo would notch one at 12:10 past Pekka Rinne to tie the game.
  • Overtime saw no goals, though the puck stayed in the Predators’ zone if not all of the five minutes, making it look as if the Blues were on a permanent powerplay. Thus, to the shootout they went:

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

  • NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – SAVE
  • ST. LOUIS – T.J. Oshie – GOAL
  • NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
  • ST. LOUIS – Alexander Steen – GOAL

PENALTY SUMMARY:

The Blues spent more time in the penalty box than the Predators did (Predators only landed in the box during the first period), but the Preds only had one more powerplay goal than St. Louis. Here’s the penalty box rundown:

  • Rich Clune – 1st Period, 4:55 – Boarding
  • David Legwand – 1st Period, 13:32 – Hooking
  • Shea Weber – 1st Period, 17:37 – Interference
  • Hal Gill – 1st Period, 19:58 – Roughing

The Predators have no time to recuperate or collect themselves before the next game, as they should be on a plane headed to Minnesota to face the oh-so-wonderful Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Though not completely run over by the Blues like the Red Wings were on Saturday, the Predators still have more work to do if they want to compete in this short, fast-paced season. Offense is definitely a must, but that goes with a grain of salt. If the Predators do not collect themselves fast, they’ll be sitting on the shelf before they can even catch their breath.

The Predators will be in Minnesota tomorrow to face you-know-who and the Wild at 7PM. You won’t see the Preds back in Nashville until February 7th, so prepare yourselves for TV screaming time, thanks to the circus coming to town (yay!).

So what attitude will the Predators take on this seven-game road trip? We are hoping offensive, physical and mental toughness, along with plenty of shots-on-goal. We’d appreciate plenty of road Frosties.

Until tomorrow,
GO PREDS

Showing some Rust, Preds fall to Blue Jackets 3-2 in SO

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Don’t let the score dishearten you, folks.

Well, let’s first start off with WELCOME BACK TO SMASHVILLE!

For fans all over the NHL world, today – January 19th – might as well had been renamed Christmas Day. NHL hockey official returned and every hockey fan rejoiced, eager to don their favorite jerseys and return to their game day rituals.

In Smashville, tonight was electric. Hungry fans clawing to see their beloved team back on the ice; the past week open practice teasing them to push onward to Saturday. A Plaza Party to kick the festivities off, along with a “Gold Carpet” event with the players revving the fans into utter hockey ecstasy.

On the schedule for the shortened season opener? The Columbus Blue Jackets. Not exactly a formidable opponent in the past, but with the extended offseason, this season could bring forth a team not even on the radar to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. Tonight, Columbus wasn’t going to let a little offseason rust slow them down.

***

It’s been a while since the last post game write-up (too long, NHL & NHLPA), so we’ll give you a quick rundown of how our post game synopsis work. We basically cover the highlights (who scored, who got the assists, who was scratched, who got penalties, etc.). In a sense, we keep it short and simple. New this season, we are adding scores from around the league. You know, just in case you need to keep up with your fantasy team.
Okay, enough chitchat – You’ll see below how we cover the games, so there you go:

KEY POINTS:

  • Though not announced, the scratches for the Predators tonight included Jonathon Blum, Victor Bartley, and Rich Clune.
  • Also not announced was tonight’s starting lineup that included Shea Weber, Sergei Kostitsyn, Mike Fisher, Martin Erat, Roman Josi, and Pekka Rinne.
  • Martin Erat started the game out on fire, sending a wrister past goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky within 39 seconds of puck being dropped. Sergei Kostitsyn and Pekka Rinne picked up the assists on the new Alternate’s first goal of the season. Here’s the video of Erat’s goal:

  • The Predators would continue to hold the Blue Jackets at bay until Columbus snuck in a tying goal on a powerplay from Nick Foligno at 16:08 in the first.
  • Ryan Ellis would put the Predators back on top at 17:55 on a powerplay of his own, with Sergei Kostitsyn picking up his second assist and Patric Hörnqvist picking up his first.
  • Columbus wouldn’t stay behind for long, answering to the Preds at 12:05 in the second period, the tying goal scored by center Artem Anisimov.
  • The third period would produce no goals, sending the game into overtime, giving both teams a point overall. Like the third period, overtime saw no goals, leading the season opener into a shootout.

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

– COLUMBUS – Cam Atkinson – SAVE
– NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
– COLUMBUS – Artem Anisimov – SAVE
– NASHVILLE – Mike Fisher – SAVE
– COLUMBUS – Jack Johnson – GOAL
– NASHVILLE – David Legwand – GOAL
– COLUMBUS – James Wisniewski – SAVE
– NASHVILLE – Ryan Ellis – SAVE
– COLUMBUS – Ryan Johansen – SAVE
– NASHVILLE – Colin Wilson – SAVE
COLUMBUS – Derick Brassard – GOAL
– NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – SAVE

PENALTY SUMMARY:

Brandon Yip – 6:49, 1st Period – Roughing
Scott Hannan – 13:31, 1st Period – Fighting
Martin Erat – 15:14, 1st Period – Slashing
Shea Weber – 9:53, 2nd Period – Fighting
Shea Weber – 9:53, 2nd Period – Roughing
David Legwand – 5:00, OT – Holding

Rusty is a good word to describe both teams (and from what we hear, all the teams in the league, as well) tonight, but Columbus was able to shake those rusted bolts loose just enough to squeak past the Predators to nab the win. Though the Predators don’t leave tonight completely empty handed, we’re sure they aren’t leaving without a nice talking to by Mr. Trotzy, either.

Without a preseason to ease the players back into their routines (and the fact some players are adjusting to new lineups and positions), it was truly anyone’s game tonight, with both teams trying to feel out their new adjustments. Sadly, this is the real deal, not just an exhibition. The Predators will have to recuperate swiftly and adjust accordingly by Monday, as their next opponent swept the Red Wings 6-0 tonight. The Blues are wound up from hibernation and, after tonight’s performance, may want to lay a wallop on the repairing Preds, too.

Attendance: 17,113 (sellout)

Until Monday,
GO PREDS

Check the chalkboard, folks.

Check the chalkboard, folks.

 

The Blues come out Singing, Predators lose 3-2 in SO

Rookie Roman Josi finds the back of the net for his third goal of the season.

The Predators welcomed division rival St. Louis Blues to Nashville Thursday night, seeking to extend their winning streak to three. However, the Blues were just as hungry (if not more) than the Predators, seeking to finally take the almighty Predators down for this first time this season. Here are the highlights from Thursday night’s game in Smashville:

KEY POINTS:

  • Although Patric Hornqvist and Brian McGrattan are still feeling the effects of their upper-body injuries, both players are expected to play on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks. Jack Hillen and rookie Ryan Ellis were the two scratches for the night.
  • It was clear from the get-go that the St. Louis Blues were looking for a win in Nashville, controlling the puck for the majority of the 1st period. The Blues wasted no time gaining the lead at 4:13 with a wrist shot past Pekka from Chris Stewart, his 13th goal of the season. The Predators would trail the Blues into the second period 1-0.
  • Barry Trotz must have given the team an “intermission intervention”, for the second period looked much better for the Predators than the first period did. Rookie Roman Josi found the back of the net at 2:53, tying the game 1-1 for this third goal of the season. Roman was assisted by Brandon Yip (2) and Matt Halischuk (9).
  • Colin Wilson would give the Predators the lead at 12:52 with a backhanded goal, his 13th goal of the season. Wilson was assisted by Jordin Tootoo (20) and Nick Spaling (9).
  • The Predators did not have long to celebrate, for at 13:26 saw a goal from St. Louis’s Vladimir Sobotka, his 4th goal of the season. The two Central Division rivals would end the second period tied at 2.
  • The third period resulted in no goals from either team, thus tossing the game into overtime. After five minutes, neither team was able to produce a goal (plenty of close calls, though), sending the game into a shootout. Here is the shootout play-by-play:
  1. ST. LOUIS – T.J. Oshie – GOAL
  2. NASHVILLE – Colin Wilson – SAVE
  3. ST. LOUIS – Andy McDonald – GOAL
  4. NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – MISS
  • The St. Louis Blues managed to steal the win in the shootout over the Predators, their first win of the season against Nashville. Nashville was able to out-shoot the Blues 27 to 24, but Jaroslav Halak was able to block more goals than Pekka Rinne.
  • Neither team was able to use their powerplays successfully, although there was only one amongst both teams. Hal Gill was sent to the box at 9:26 in the second period for delaying the game.

The Blues left Nashville with the two points, but Nashville was able to get away with one point, which is much better than losing in regulation. It was clear that the Predators did not have their heads in the game – either they assumed a win against the Blues or they were just completely out of it – and the St. Louis Blues took complete advantage of the situation at hand.

The Predators continue the home stretch against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, who are 32-21-6 on the season and are 2nd in the Pacific Conference.

Until then,
GO PREDS.