Gaustad and Gill are Fond of Nashville

Paul Gaustad mentally prepares himself before a game.

Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill may have only been with the Predators since the Trade Deadline (February), but both newcomers have become quite fond of the Music City; and the fans have become quite fond of them as well.

Hal Gill was acquired on February 17th from the Montreal Canadiens for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a 2nd round draft pick. With Gill’s extraordinary penalty kill abilities and his experience holding up the Stanley Cup, Nashville knew Gill would be a key player to have during the playoffs. Gill immediately fell into line with team, finding a connection with fellow defenseman, Roman Josi. It’s honestly hard to remember that Hal has only been with the Predators since February.

Paul Gaustad was the last acquired player at the TD, being picked up from the Buffalo Sabres for a first round pick in the draft. A blind-sided trade, most fans (on both Buffalo and Nashville) did not see this trade coming, but due to his inquisitive skill at face-offs, Paul Gaustad was another key component to Nashville’s playoff run. Like Gill, Gaustad slipped in with the team and had no trouble making a name for himself in the southern franchise.

Both experts in their given skills, Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill helped propel the Nashville Predators throughout the end of the regular season and the playoffs, gaining fans along the way. However, now that the off-season is in full swing for Nashville, what will happen to the two newcomers?

Keeping these two assets (who would definitely help in the regular season) comes down to one thing: Money. Of course it comes down to money. The Predators are facing one of the toughest off-seasons ever in their franchise, with many of their key players facing both restricted and unrestricted free agency, including Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Jordin Tootoo, and Sergei Kostitsyn. As such, a lack of a “proper” paycheck may send many players packing, including Hal Gill and Paul Gaustad… or would it?

Per a few sources, Paul Gaustad has made mention that, if in case the Predators were willing to sign him, he’d be willing to take a pay cut. Sources have also claimed the same has been said of 37-year-old defenseman, Hal Gill. The Predators organization has been considered on of the greatest in the NHL, but would players seriously be willing to take pay cuts to stay?

Although Sergei Kostitsyn is wanting to be signed to a longer contract in Nashville, it’s probable that if David Poile offers him yet another one-year contract, SK74 will take it, especially if his brother, Andrei Kostitsyn, is signed as well.

With players who haven’t been in Nashville as long as other veterans, it’s astonishing that they’d be willing to forego a larger paycheck just to stay with a particular organization. Either those players have a strong faith in Nashville and wish to see a Stanley Cup come to this city, or they just really, really love their sport… we’re going to say both.

Makes you wonder why Suter and Weber don’t want to just go ahead and sign… That’s a subject for another post.

So, for all you Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill fans, good news! These two have made it quite apparent that they have found a soft spot for Nashville and its fans in such a short amount of time, wether they’re willing to take a pay cut or not.

No matter what, you have to admit, this looks very, very good for Nashville and its franchise. Players are willing to make the roster no matter what it takes. Obviously, Poile, Trotz, and the rest of the organization is doing something right in the NHL.

 

Hockey Season Officially Ends for the Predators

Surely SK74 and Patric Hornqvist aren’t going at it? Picture from the 2010 Olympics.

With Slovakia ending the Czech Republic’s run at the championship 3-1 in the semifinals, all of Nashville’s players have been eliminated from the IIHF World Championship. The Predators had a good amount of players who jumped on board after the post season, despite going into Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Here’s a final rundown of who played for who:

Team Belarus – Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn
Team Switzerland – Roman Josi
Team Sweden – Patric Hornqvist
Team USA – Craig Smith
Team Czech – Martin Erat

Andrei, Sergei, Roman, Craig, Martin, and Patric

Team Belarus and the Kostitsyn brothers were first to be knocked out of the tournament, falling to Team Canada 5-1 on Tuesday, May 15th. Sergei Kostitsyn did manage to collect a goal during his short run in the tournament. Also on Tuesday, Craig Smith and Team USA eliminated Roman Josi and Team Switzerland 5-2. On Thursday, Team Finland overthrew Team USA to advance 3-2, knocking out rookie Craig Smith.  Martin Erat, who notched a goal against Team Sweden, eliminated Patric Hornqvist and Tre Kronor 4-3.

As of yesterday’s game between Team Slovakia and Team Czech, Marty “Party” Erat was the only Predator left in the running for the gold. Unfortunately, Erat was sidelined early in the semifinal game, leaving the ice during the 1st Period after a shoulder check by Slovakia’s Libor Hudáček. Here’s the video from the game:

It was announced by Czech GM Slava Lener that Martin Erat does have a concussion, which could potentially affect the Predators in the upcoming season. Although the 2012-13 season is a little over five months away, concussions are a bit of mystery when it comes to treating them properly. That, and Martin Erat’s history of concussions is virtually unknown, so the way his body handles the healing process of a concussion will be on a day-to-day basis.

Martin Erat, though his a bit more serious, was not the only player injured during the World Championship. Sergei Kostitsyn dislocated his shoulder during the match between Team Canada after being hit by Kris Russell, a currently St. Louis Blues defenseman. As stated, although not as serious as Erat’s concussion, Kostitsyn will have to sit back a while to let it properly heal.

UPDATE ON ERAT CONDITION:
Martin Erat’s agent, Mike Deutsch has just announced that, despite what Czech GM Slava Lener stated earlier, Erat did not suffer a concussion and is simply suffering from a ‘stiff neck’. Good news for both Martin Erat and the Nashville Predators, but we will keep you updated in case the story changes once again. 

Hockey has officially ended for Smashville, but hockey altogether is still chugging along, wether our favorite players are on the ice or not. Now that all is done, it’s now time for the part of the off-season everyone dreads: Who stays and who goes…

Martin Erat being helped off the ice.

Sergei Kostitsyn seeks Long-Term Contract with Nashville

Sergei taking a break during practice.

Sergei Kostitsyn, or SK74 as he is affectionately called, is what is known as a “young gun, rebel” type… or, at least, he was. Sergei has worn the Predators jersey for two seasons now and, although they’ve heard the many of rumors, Nashville has never seen the rebel, immature side of the 25-year-old Forward from Belarus.

A 7th Round Pick in the 2005 Draft at the tender age of 18, Sergei was a bit of a diamond in the rough. The potential was clearly there (he wouldn’t have even been considered for the NHL if it hadn’t), just a little masked by insecurity and a lack of confidence in himself. SK74 was drafted by the  Montréal Canadiens, the same team that found potential in older brother, Andrei Kostitsyn.

As most former Habs players have admitted, finding the perfect fit in Montréal is a bit challenging, and with his lack of confidence and insecurity, Sergei found himself fighting to stay above water. In frustration, Kostitsyn did whatever he thought would get himself more attention, and potentially more ice time. However, acting out and bad behavioral issues wasn’t the direction the young Forward wanted to walk down, especially alone.

Missing the bus to a preseason game in 2009, being suspended for not reporting to Montréal’s AHL farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs; Sergei and fellow teammate, goaltender Carey Price even got into an argument about Sergei’s lack of effort and commitment to the team. Montréal and Sergei Kostitsyn were clashing, and both the NHL and the KHL were watching.

Though his behavioral issues out-shined his potential as a great player at times, one team saw past the frustration and immaturity that comes with being a young, ice-deprived hockey player. The Nashville Predators traded Dustin Boyd and Dan Ellis in the off-season of 2010, giving the Belorussian a chance at a fresh start.

Both Coach Barry Trotz and General Manager David Poile worked with Sergei, highlighting both his strong and weak spots, instead of letting him fall the the wayside like he had with the Habs. Two seasons later, Sergei Kostitsyn found himself on the top line along with Mike Fisher and Martin Erat, and notched his first career Hat Trick on January 1st.

However, Sergei still had his off moments in both the 2011-12 season and post season. Lack of confidence still plagues the young Belorussian, causing him to miss key passes, shots, and goals. Although he performed well during the Detroit series in the playoffs, SK74 struggled in the Phoenix series, being replaced on the top line by Colin Wilson.

After two season, Sergei Kostitsyn has expressed his desires to be signed to a long-term contract by Nashville, the one team who he was nestled with soundly. No word if SK74’s agent has met with the club yet, but the deadline to tender qualifying offers to restricted free agents is June 29th, giving both sides a little over a month to come to a decision.

Recently, both Sergei and older brother Andrei jumped on board with Team Belarus for the IIHF World Championship. Although Belarus was recently knocked out by Team Canada, Sergei was able to score a goal in his short time with his country’s team. However, Sergei collided with Team Canada’s Kris Russell yesterday, separating his shoulder. Team Belarus Head Coach, Kari Heikkilä stated that Sergei will be all right, but will need to rest for one to two weeks.

Looking back at his issues with Montréal, it’s clear why Sergei wishes to stay with the Nashville Predators. Not only has Nashville worked one-on-one with SK74, tweaking and fine-tuning his value, the club has become both a home and family to Sergei. Nashville has just begun polishing this diamond in the rough, and Sergei Kostitsyn wants to shine brighter.


Here’s a highlight video of today’s (15 May 2012) IIHF tournament games. You can see Sergei’s goal against Canada at the beginning of the video.

Preds gain Momentum in Game 3, Fall Hard in Game 4

The Game Ops Department really stepped up for Round 2

After A. Kostitsyn and Radulov’s curfew incident, it would be up to the rest of the team to take the reins and prove to the NHL world that, even though some of their players aren’t taking the playoffs seriously, there are others who are willing to step up and earn their place on the ice. Lady Preds has had a busy weekend, so we apologize for not having Wednesday and Friday’s games up earlier, but we shall condense them both into one post for your viewing pleasure. Here are the highlights from Game 3 and Game 4 in Nashville.

GAME 3 – WEDNESDAY NIGHT:

  • For their first game at home for Round 2 against Phoenix, Nashville’s Game Ops department really stepped up to amp up the fans. With laser etchings of the Predators logos, a catfish, the players numbers and even signatures, it was hard not to be completely mesmerized. Here’s a video of it shot by a fan:
  • With AK46 and Rads suspended for the night, two hungry bench-warmers got the chance to prove themselves on the ice Wednesday night. Those two? None other than Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo. Although we wouldn’t deem Hali a bench-warmer, he has been sitting out a few games due to an ailing injury. Tootoo, on the other hand, has been warming the bench during the playoffs, so proving his worth and not losing focus was key for the enforcer. Also getting another shot on the ice was Mr. Controversy himself, Colin Wilson. Brian McGrattan, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen and Ryan Ellis topped out the scratched list.
  • David Legwand took advantage of a scoring opportunity at 8:10 in the 1st, notching his 3rd goal of the playoffs. Gabriel Bourque (2nd Assist) picked up the lone assist on Leggy’s wrister past Mike Smith.
  • Mike Fisher would counter Legwand’s goal at 9:16 of the 1st, grabbing his first goal of the playoffs thus far. Sergei Kostitsyn (1st Assist) and Martin Erat (3rd Assist) picked up the assists.
  • Nashville would hold the 2-0 lead over Phoenix in both the second and the third periods, giving the Predators their first playoff win in this series against the Coyotes. David Legwand tried pressing the Predators further with a second goal of his own, but the goal was inevitably ruled as an “intent to blow” call.
  • Nashville took control of the game defensively, with Pekka Rinne blocking all 32 shots on goal, his first shutout of the 2012 playoffs. The Predators gave the Coyotes four power play chances, but Nashville’s defense stepped up when needed and held Phoenix at bay to seal the win. Here are the four penalty offenders:
  1. Mike Fisher – 11:04 1st Period – Interference
  2. David Legwand – 15:39 1st Period – Hooking
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 12:59 3rd Period – Hooking
  4. Martin Erat – 14:18 3rd Period – Tripping
  • Interesting note: Although all four players took 2 minutes in the penalty box, each man collected a point in the game winner for the Preds.
  • The Predators proved that a snide incident involving two irresponsibly players would not phase them while fighting for the Stanley Cup. However, Nashville would have to come out with the same intensity on Friday to keep them from falling deeper into the hole…
GAME 4 – FRIDAY NIGHT:

  •  After a stellar performance on Wednesday night, it was obvious why Coach Barry Trotz did not put Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn back in the lineup. However, would Phoenix expect this out of Trotz and anticipate Nashville’s every move? From its outcome, it looks as if Nashville fell right into Phoenix’s trap, which was for the Predators to come out and play the exact same way on Wednesday.
  • After getting bruised and beaten on Wednesday, Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo took the place of AK46 and Radulov once again, with both players showing great determination on Wednesday. Colin Wilson also came out, once again, proving his puck-handling skills are worth the ice time. Jack Hillen, Brian McGrattan, Ryan Ellis, and Craig Smith continued on the scratched list.
  • Paul Gaustad and Kyle Chipchura dropped the gloves in the first period, with the announcers originally calling Gaustad as Kevin Klein. Here is the video of the two knuckle heads:
  • Rostislav Klesla wasted no time pummeling the Predators, sending already bruised and beaten Matt Halischuk violently into the boards. Klesla was only given a minor penalty of 2 minutes, but Brendan Shanahan ruled this afternoon that Klesla will be suspended for one game (Game 5) due to his unsportsmanlike hit. Luckily, Halischuk was not seriously injured. The video of the hit is below, but you can check out Shanahan’s take on the hit here.
  • Coyotes captain Shane Doan would scored shortly after Klesla’s hit on Halischuk at 14:52, his third goal of the playoffs.
  • At one point during the third period, Nashville was able to slip the puck past Mike Smith for a goal, but in true NHL referee fashion, the goal was waved off due to an “intention to blow” call. This is the second consecutive goal that has been waved off for Nashville due to this “unbelievable” call. Although completely overrun in the first period, the Predators pressured hard in the second and third periods, but were unable to slip past the Coyotes defense.
  • Nashville out-shot Phoenix by one (25 to 24), but even with all the potential chances the Predators were given, Nashville just wasn’t able to pull one out. It also did not help that Phoenix was out to weaken the Predators, pummeling them left and right into the boards.
  • Both Nashville and Phoenix had the same amount of power play chances at three, but neither team was able to capitalize on their advantage. Here are the three Predators offenders of the first period:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 1:30 1st Period – Interference
  2. Paul Gaustad – 10:00 1st Period – Fighting
  3. Gabriel Bourque – 15:55 1st Period – Slashing

Although coming out with an intensity that can only be described as Predators hockey on Wednesday night, Nashville’s flame completely burned out on Friday, not what the Predators needed in order to contend for the Cup. It was clear Phoenix was completely and utterly prepared for Nashville to play the exact same way they did on Wednesday, which is one of the major flaws in the way Barry Trotz coaches. Now, don’t get us wrong, Trotz is an outstanding coach… in the regular season. However, teams anticipate opponents to fall to familiarity, and Nashville did just that on Friday night. They played it safe and kept the same lineups and plays as Wednesday, giving Phoenix the completely advantage. The one change that was noted was that SK74 was bumped from the star lineup and replaced with Colin Wilson. And, a question we ask, why wasn’t Paul Gaustad in the face-offs? With the highest winning percentage, why did he not get first choice in face-offs?

We could ask questions like these all day until our faces turn blue, but what ultimately matters now is that the Predators stitch themselves back up, change it up a bit, and come out swinging in Glendale tomorrow night. With the Stanley Cup on the line, if Nashville is as hunger as they think they are, tomorrow will not even be a factor.

Until then,
GO PREDS

Nashville finds Strength in Detroit; Predators Win 3-2

Take that, Klein haters!

Game 3 of the Detroit/Nashville series started bright and early today with the puck dropping at 11AM; the first game scheduled for the day.

Nashville struggled Friday night on home ice, losing to Detroit 3-2 in regulation and tying the series 1-1. With two games down in Nashville, it was time for the Predators to head north to the Motor City to throw-down in the Joe. However, the Predators last visit in Detroit bounced in their favor, wiping out the Red Wings 4-1. Needless to say, the Predators aren’t afraid of Detroit and its fans, but would it be enough to erase the power play issues from Friday? Here are the highlights from today’s game in Detroit:

KEY POINTS:

  • Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen, Chet Pickard, Brian McGrattan, and Hal Gill rounded up the scratched list for Game 3, but one surprise was the scratch of Matt Halischuk. In replace of Hali, Jordin Tootoo hit the ice, along with rookie Ryan Ellis.
  • Good thing Shea Weber feeds positively off of negativity, for he sealed the first goal of the game at 2:48 on the power play for his 2nd goal of the playoffs. Every time Weber’s stick would touch the puck, a cascade of “boos” would float amongst the crowd, but Weber quickly silenced them. Andrei Kostitsyn (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (2nd assist) picked up the assists on Weber’s silencer.
  • Kevin Klein would pick up a goal of his own at 3:50 in the 2nd Period, his first of the playoffs after scoring only four during the season. Martin Erat picked up his first assist of the playoffs, also the first point acquired by the top line of SK74-Marty-Fisher.
  • Pavel Datsyuk would finally get Detroit’s ball rolling at 15:03 with a wrap-around goal passed Pekka Rinne. This was Datsyuk’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Johan Franzen stopped the hearts of millions watching when he was able to slip the puck by Pekka Rinne, essentially tying the game with under a second left in the 2nd Period. The goal was reviewed and it was clear the clock had run out just milliseconds before passing Pekka, rendering it no good. Whew!
  • Sergei Kostitsyn would sink the third goal for the Predators at 16:30 with a clean snap shot passed Jimmy Howard. Mike Fisher picked up his first assist and point of the playoffs along with Kevin Klein (1st assist) on SK74’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Henrik Zetterberg would leave fans biting their nails at 19:06 when he was able to put the Red Wings within one of tying the game with Nashville on the power play, but the Predators defense would prove impenetrable, holding the Wings at bay until the final horn sounded to end the game.
  • Call this the Series of the Penalties! Twelve penalties in all, with six penalties for each team, giving both Detroit and Nashville equal power play opportunities. Unlike Friday, Nashville was finally able to snag a power play goal, but Detroit was able to snag one as well. Pointless penalty of the day came from Jordin Tootoo, who was called for roughing after pushing on Henrik Zetterberg. If you’re going to take a penalty, at least get a few swings in first! Here are the other Predators who took some time to reflect in the box:
  1.  David Legwand – 12:53 1st Period – Tripping
  2. Jordin Tootoo – 1:21 2nd Period – Roughing
  3. David Legwand (served by Patric Hornqvist) – 14:33 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Mike Fisher – 17:46 2nd Period – Roughing
  5. Sergei Kostitsyn – 19:49 2nd Period – Hi-Sticking
  6. David Legwand – 18:23 3rd Period – Holding
  • Pekka Rinne blew Detroit away in usual fashion, blocking 41 of 43 shots on goal. Nashville lacked on the shots on net, only attempting 22, but the accuracy was much better and Howard just wasn’t expecting to be taken out on his own ice.
  • Kevin Klein stepped up today, gaining an assist and a goal, only his 2nd playoff goal of his career. Both Kostitsyn brothers picked up points, with Andrei gaining an assist and Sergei collecting a goal. The top line all finally found a groove, with Fisher and Erat both gaining assists and, again, SK74 with a goal. 
The Predators came out swinging in the first period, but the second and third periods left us biting our nails down to the quick. However, a win’s a win and we will take it, especially when it is up in Motown. This win was actually Nashville’s first post-season win in Detroit in franchise history. As “Not Paul Gaustad” said on Twitter:

Follow @PaulsStick on Twitter

The Predators stay in Detroit until Tuesday, taking on the sea of Red at 6:30PM. Although the defense has been doing pretty well thus far, if Hal Gill can return by Tuesday, we believe there’s no stopping Nashville from taking this series.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Lindback Shines for Predators, Ducks Swept by Nashville 3-1

The Predators celebrate their win over Anaheim on Sunday night.

After the excruciating loss against the L.A. Kings the night before, the Predators trudged across the street (basically) into Anaheim to face the always pleasant Ducks. The Predators have dominated the Ducks all season long, so sweeping the Ducks in their final meeting of the season would give the Predators a giddy up in their step after a tough Western trek. The Ducks are currently sitting in 12th in the Western Conference, but don’t let that fool you; Similar to the Kings and the Sharks, the Ducks aren’t a team to overlook. They can be dirty, physical, and competitive; Did the Predators pull out a regulation win? Here are the highlights from last night’s game in Anaheim:

KEY POINTS:

  • Brian McGrattan, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Paul Gaustad, Jack Maclellan, and Colin Wilson were the scratches for the night. However, it was Wilson’s injury that caused a stir among Predators fans yesterday. Wilson suffered a “tweaked” groin muscle during practice yesterday. Don’t worry, although he was missing from the lineup last night, it doesn’t seem to be life threatening.
  • Anaheim started out strong at 7:32 with a short-handed tip-in goal from Devante Smith-Pelly past Anders Lindback for his 5th goal of the season.
  • With no follow up goals in the 1st and no goals whatsoever in the 2nd, it was looking like Predators were struggling once again against their Western foes. However, Anders Lindback blocked 13 shots on goal during the second, proving he’s just as strong as Pekka Rinne.
  • Nashville looked like the Kings during the third period, coming out with a ferocity they should have emitted during the first two periods of the game. Patric Hornqvist struck fast at 1:19 with a wrist shot past Jonas Hiller for his 23rd goal of the season. David Legwand picked up his 30th assist and rookie Gabriel Bourque picked up his 8th.
  • Mike Fisher sounded off his 23rd goal as well at 10:27 with a beautiful tip-in with help from Ryan Suter (36th assist) and Martin Erat (38th assist).
  • David Legwand would seal the game for the Predators at 19:43 with an empty-netter power play goal for his 16th goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his 26th assist along with Kevin Klein for his 13th assist.
  • Besides the 3rd period, the Ducks out-shot the Predators in both the first and second periods. However, although backup goalie Anders Lindback hasn’t seen too much ice time behind Pekka Rinne, it was clear Lindback was itching for some ice time. If you hadn’t known Lindback was starting last night, you would have thought that was Pekka all the way. Blocking 30 of 31 shots on goal, we’d say Anders Lindback is a Pekka Rinne in the making.
  • Although the Predators allowed a short-handed goal in the first period, Nashville only gave the Ducks one penalty chance throughout the game. Martin Erat picked up an interference on goalkeeper penalty 33 seconds into the 2nd Period, yet Anders took control and blocked all 13 shots on goal during that period.

The Ducks were unable to snag one win over the Predators this entire season, hopefully giving the Nashville team a boost in confidence as they return to Smashville on Tuesday night to take on the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton is currently sitting in 14th in the conference and 5th (last) in the Northwest Division. But again, the Predators should not underestimate the struggling Oilers.

The puck drops in Nashville at 7PM tomorrow night.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit of: Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

AK46’s Accuracy saves Predators in SO, Nashville wins 5-4 in Phoenix

Francis Bouillon and Ryan Ellis celebrate Frankie's first goal of the season.

The Predators began their Western trek last night with their first stop in Glendale, Arizona to face the team that currently holds the 2nd spot in the Pacific Division, the Phoenix Coyotes. After losing five games in a row, then coming back to demolish the San Jose Sharks on Saturday 3-0, the Coyotes were eager to jump back on the winning wagon and retain their #2 spot in the division. However, the Coyotes fall just two spots behind the Predators in conference standings, and just ten points behind the Preds… Who was more hungry for a win? Here are the highlights from last night’s all-nighter:

KEY POINTS:

  • Craig Smith was finally able to stretch his legs, getting off the scratched list to see some ice time. Kevin Klein, Brian McGrattan, Brandon Yip, and Roman Josi topped out the scratched list, with Roman suffering from a possible concussion. In fact, Josi didn’t even make the trip to Phoenix with the team, leading us to speculate that his concussion might lead to possible IR time. Yikes.
  • Both teams were shaky in the first, with both the Predators and the Coyotes only sending 8 goals a piece on net during the period. Martin Erat was finally able to slip a wrist shot past Mike Smith at 19:31 for his 17th goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his 24th assist and Hal Gill his 10th of the season on Marty’s Party goal.
  • Phoenix must have had an intermission intervention, for Daymond Langkow tipped the puck in past Pekka Rinne 49 seconds into the 2nd Period for his 9th goal of the season.
  • The Predators would finally take the lead once again at 11:04 with a beautiful setup between the dream team that is Martin Erat, Sergei Kostitsyn, and Mike Fisher. Fisher’s wrist shot gave him his 21st goal of the season, along with SK74’s 25 assist and Marty’s 34th assist of the season.
  • Keith Yandle didn’t wait too long to tie the game once more, gaining his 10th goal of the season at 14:23.
  • The back and forth would continue at 18:26 with a wrist shot from Francis Bouillon, his 1st goal of the season. Martin Erat picked up his second assist of the night (35th) along with Ryan Ellis (7th assist).
  • Craig Smith would come out fast in the 3rd Period, scoring his 13th goal of the season at 2:36 with a backhanded beauty. Paul Gaustad was the lone assist, picking up his 13th for the season.
  • The Coyotes wouldn’t let the Predators, who were up by 2 in the third, simply slip away with the easy win and came back with force. First with a goal from Oliver Ekman-Larsson (his 9th of the season) at 7:11 and then another from Raffi Torres at 15:01 for his 13th goal of the season. Both goalies and defense would block each team from taking the win, sending the game into OT.
  • Overtime, although with Phoenix taking 2 shots and the Predators only taking 1 on goal, would produce nothing for either teams, sending the go-around into a shootout, a testament for both teams’ goalies.
  1. PHOENIX – Ray Whitney – SAVE BY RINNE
  2. NASHVILLE – Andrei Kostitsyn – GOAL
  3. PHOENIX – Radim Vrbata – SAVE BY RINNE
  4. NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE BY SMITH
  5. PHOENIX – Mikkel Boedker – SAVE BY RINNE
  • Andrei Kostitsyn’s accuracy saved the Predators from a rough and too-close-for-comfort game. The Predators may have left with the two points, but the Coyotes slipped away with one, and after holding the lead by two, the Predators (although the victors) hung their head after letting an easy win turn into a fight for survival.
  • Both teams equalled out in shots on goal at 35, but both goalies took a beating. Both Pekka Rinne and Mike Smith made some remarkable saves, but due to flaws in the defense, Pekka wasn’t able to stop nasty goalies from the likes of Yandle and Langkow.
  • The Predators only gave the Coyotes one power play chance, with a tripping penalty called on Sergei Kostitsyn at 16:43 in the 2nd Period. The Coyotes handed the Predators three chances, but none were used to Nashville’s advantage.
The Predators slipped away with the win by the skin of their teeth, clearly a lack of motivation after gaining the lead by 2. The Coyotes ate up the sluggish, slackers and almost sent the Predators packing to San Jose with a loss under their belt. However, no matter how nasty of a win, a win is a win and the Predators came out the victors.
Trotz has probably already tanned their hides for the close call, so hopefully the Predators will be more focused and ready to win the game in regulation against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The puck drops even later on Thursday with the game starting at 9:30PM CST.
We leave you with this video highlight of last night’s game, with a shot of AK46’s shootout goal that save the Predators from a loss.
…Who’s a happy GM? David Poile’s a happy GM!
Until then,
GO PREDS.

The Predators Wipe Out Avalanche 4-2

Patric Hornqvist battles against former Predator Shane O'Brien

After a rough game against the L.A. Kings on Tuesday, the Predators needed a jolt on the ice to get the momentum going once again. Although currently 2nd in the Northwest Division and coming off a two-win streak against the Wild, the Avalanche have been a bit iffy this season. However, the Avalanche are not one to sit back and take a beating and Thursday’s game proved to be one with attitude. Here are the highlights from Thursday’s game against the Mile High team:

KEY POINTS:

  • Another night for plenty of healthy scratches, including Colin Wilson. Along with Wilson, the scratch list included Brian McGrattan, Craig Smith, Kevin Klein, and Jack Hillen. Although a healthy scratch, Klein is still suffering from an upper-body injury, but has yet to be placed on the IR.
  • Colorado started the night off with a goal at 1:14 with a wrist shot from Jamie McGinn for his 16th goal of the season.
  • The Predators quickly responded with their own goal at 2:54 with a wrist shot from Mike Fisher for his 20th goal of the season. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter picked up the assists on Fish’s goal.
  • Brandon Yip finished out the 1st Period with a tip-in past Semyon Varlamov at 6:58. After being credited to Roman Josi, it was finally rewarded to Yip for his 2nd goal of the season. Roman Josi and Gabriel Bourque picked up the assists.
  • The Avalanche came out with their pants on fire during the second, but not with shots on goal. In fact, the Predators out-shot Colorado 13 to 9 in the 2nd. Instead, the Avalanche took to throwing elbows and finally, at 19:43, Jordin Tootoo and Cody McLeod dropped the gloves and threw the fists.

    Unfortunately, Toots didn’t fair too well against McLeod, but it did get the crowd stirred up quite a bit. It also got the Predators fired up a bit, too.
  • While at even play with both McLeod and Tootoo taking the fighting penalty, Sergei Kostitsyn sealed his 17th goal of the season with a wrist shot at 19:28. Not only did SK74 put the team up 3-1, he also captured the elusive Goo Goo Goal. Matt Halischuk was the lone assist on SK74’s Goo Goo Goal.
  • The feisty Avalanche would continue to pressure the Predators into the 3rd Period, with Paul Stastny sealing his 17th goal of the season at 4:58.
  • Martin Erat would nail his 16th goal of the season on the empty-netter at 19:16, ending the game in the Predators’ favor 4-2. Paul Gaustad was the lone assist on Erat’s empty-netter.
  • The Predators, although bruised and blooded by the Avalanche, still managed to out-shoot Colorado in every single period, ending the game with 31 shots to Colorado’s 17. Pekka Rinne returned to his usual self after a rough game on Tuesday night, blocking 15 of the 17 shots.
  • Along with plentiful shots on goal, the Predators also managed to stay out of the penalty box more than two times. Colorado gave the Predators four penalty opportunities, none of which were capitalized on. Former Predator, Shane O’Brien found himself in the penalty box twice, once for interference, then for hooking. Here are the two penalty box lovers:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 18:31 2nd Period – Fighting
  2. Mike Fisher – 19:43 2nd Period – Roughing

The Predators have beaten the Avalanche all three times this season and will see Colorado one last time during the season on April 7th in Denver.

The Predators finish up at home on Saturday as the Detroit Red Wings come storming into Nashville at 7PM.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Predators Fall to the Los Angeles Kings 5-4

Craig Smith fights for the puck along with L.A.'s Jarret Stoll

The Predators welcome L.A. back to Nashville Tuesday night, expecting to send them packing once more with another loss. However, the Kings had other plans on their schedule, seeking to overthrow the Nashville Predators at home and slip that much closer to the playoff cutoff spot. Although the Predators are safe (for now), the L.A. Kings aren’t as lucky and needed the win in Nashville to move up to bump the San Jose Sharks. Here are the highlights from Tuesday night’s game:

KEY NOTES:

  • Jack Hillen, Matt Halischuk, Brandon Yip, and Brian McGrattan found themselves on the scratched list, along with Kevin Klein, who is still battling an undisclosed upper-body injury.
  • The Kings wasted no time taking the lead, with Justin Williams scoring his 14th goal of the season at 6:16 with a wrist shot past Pekka Rinne.
  • Patric Hornqvist would tie the game up at 18:41 with this 19th goal of the season. Andrei Kostitsyn and Ryan Suter picked up the assists on Horny’s goal.
  • Unfortunately, even before Hornqvist’s goal could be announced, Justin Williams slipped in and sealed his 15th goal of the season at 18:53 with a back-hander into the net.
  • Martin Erat would tie the game up once again at 9:16 in the 2nd Period with a wrist shot past Jonathan Quick. Mike Fisher and Roman Josi picked up the assists on Erat’s 15th goal of the season.
  • L.A. would put themselves in the lead for the third time of the game at 12:21 with a wrist shot by Drew Doughty. This was Doughty’s 8th goal of the season.
  • Sergei Kostitsyn would help continue to back and forth match by sealing his 16th goal of the season at 14:05. Completely unassisted, SK74’s goal would leave the two teams tied into the 3rd Period.
  • The Kings reminded the Predators of who wanted to win more with a goal at 1:15 in the 3rd. With his 4th goal of the season, Matt Greene sent a slap shot soaring past Pekka Rinne.
  • Trevor Lewis sealed his 3rd goal of the season at 3:00, putting the Kings up 5-3 over the Predators early in the 3rd Period.
  • Patric Hornqvist will nail his second goal of the night at 14:42 for his 20th goal of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to send the game into OT. Andrei Kostitsyn and Ryan Suter picked up the assists on Horny’s goal.
  • It was clear that Pekka was having an off night, but unfortunately, it wasn’t just him. The entire team looked disheveled and off, never good when playing against a team hungry for a playoff position. Pekka took 28 shots, blocking 23 of those on net. It’s been a while since Peks has let 5 or more pucks fly passed him, but off days happen, especially with as many games as he starts.
  • The Predators only gave the Kings three chances on the power play, but with the way the team played, even one misstep had a major impact on the Predators. Here are the boys who took some penalty time:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 9:48 1st Period – Roughing
  2. Nick Spaling – 3:21 2nd Period – Cross Checking
  3. Jordin Tootoo – 13:19 3rd Period – Misconduct (10 Minutes)

 

The Predators took a tough loss against the L.A. Kings, a team they were expected to beat once again at home. The Predators continue their home stretch by welcoming the Colorado Avalanche back to Nashville on Thursday and the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. The puck drops at 7PM for both games.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Preds Player Profile: Andrei Kostitsyn

Andrei Kostitsyn will make his Nashville debut on Tuesday, March 6th.

The Predators picked up two players before the Trade Deadline commenced on Monday afternoon, surprising most (if not all) Predators fan. With everyone’s minds on the Nash-to-Nash conundrum, no one saw who Predators General Manager, David Poile was really eyeing in the Eastern Conference.

The first of those two Eastern Conference contenders the Predators traded for was Andrei Kostitsyn, current Nashville Predators player Sergei Kostitsyn’s older brother. The Predators made a trade agreement with the Montreal Canadiens, that (along with the conditional draft pick used to get Hal Gill) the Canadiens would hand over AK46 for a 2nd Round Draft Pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Andrei Kostitsyn was born on February 3, 1985 in Novopolotsk, Belarus. Before starting his career in the NHL, Andrei competed in several different leagues, including the Eastern European Hockey League and the CSKA of Russia. After his first season with CSKA,  Andrei was drafted first round (10th overall) in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. In the summer of 2004, AK46 signed a three-year contract with the team.

Andrei Kostitsyn saw his first NHL game on December 1, 2005 against the Buffalo Sabres, a game the Canadiens would ultimately lose in overtime. Kostitsyn wasted no time scoring his first NHL goal on the December 13th against the Phoenix Coyotes, a game the Canadiens would end up winning 5-2.

Unfortunately, the older Kostitsyn is no stranger to injury, suffering a minor concussion in the 2008-09 season along with a leg injury. Thankfully, in the same month, AK46 notched his first career Hat Trick on December 27, 2008.

After seven years with the Montreal Canadiens, it was time for AK46 to be reunited with little brother, SK74 in Nashville. Sergei and Andrei were separated on June 29, 2009 when Sergei was traded to the Nashville Predators for goaltender Dan Ellis and forward Dustin Boyd.

OTHER NOTABLE FACTS:

  • Posted 12:13 minutes of ice time against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night during his debut with the Nashville Predators.
  • Andrei and Paul Gaustad, the other major trade pickup for the Predators, both share the same birthday (February 3rd).
  • Collected 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 53 games this season with the Montreal Canadiens.
  • AK46 played 379 NHL games since his 2005-06 career, all with the Montreal Canadiens. Along with this, Kostitsyn has tallied 99 goals and 210 points.

Andrei Kostitsyn has been called the complete opposite of his young brother, Sergei. In what ways? Well, Andrei likes to shoot and shoot as often as possible. Though Sergei is finally coming around to shooting more often, hopefully with his brother on his side, both will become an unstoppable brotherly force. Maybe a Sedin twin combo? Along with this potential, by picking up Andrei, the chances of the Predators re-signing Sergei are much higher come post-season.

Welcome to Nashville, Andrei Kostitsyn!

(Photo credit: Elsa/Getty Images North America)