Preds Fall to Blues 4-3

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Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Ahh, another visit with the St. Louis Blues. Normally, a game this early wouldn’t be this pressurized (so to say), but because both St. Louis and Nashville are bouncing between first and second place within the Central Division, it’s going to have some tension. So, did Nashville cling to the coveted top spot or did St. Louis push its kid brother aside for first place?

First Period:
– Leave it to T.J. Oshie to put the Blues on the board first at 3:25 with his first goal of the season and a PPG on top of that. Oshie has been waiting for that goal since being placed on the IR after suffering a concussion back on October 28th against the Stars.
– The Blues would launch themselves up 2-0 at 12:45 with a goal from Carl Gunnarsson; his first goal of the season.
– Saving Grace Filip Forsberg would put Nashville on the board less than a minute later at 13:21 for his eight goal of the season. James Neal (5) and Roman Josi (5) would collect on the assists.

Second Period: – Captain Shea Weber would tie the game at 2 with his fifth goal of the season at 3:41. Filip Forsberg (11) and Roman Josi (6) would pick up the assists. WEB– At 15:18, Vladimir Tarasenko would work his magic for his tenth goal of the season, putting St. Louis up 3-2 late in the second.
– With under a second left in the second period, Roman Josi sunk a PPG to tie the game for his second goal of the season. Shea Weber (3) and Filip Forsberg (12) assisted in the tying goal.

Third Period:
– The lone goal of the third period would come from Paul Stastny, sealing the game and the top spot of the Central Division in favor of St. Louis.

So Nashville falls to St. Louis 4-3 in regulation, giving the Blues the reigning spot of the Central Division. However, Nashville is still right behind St. Louis, so one false move and they’ll be back in second place.

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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 Sign Roy & Ribeiro to 1YR Deals

PicMonkey Collage

Who knew Nashville was in need of a few Centers? Late this morning, word came trickling through the social media world that David Poile had signed two Centers to the Nashville Predators roster. Those two? Former Phoenix Arizona Coyote, Mike Ribeiro (1-year, $1.05M) and former St. Louis Blue, Derek Roy (1-year, $1M). Both veterans of their trade, Ribeiro was drafted 45th overall in the 1998 Draft by the Montreal Canadiens and Roy drafted 32nd overall in the 2001 Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. They have both put up some outstanding numbers during their tenure, but – as more athletes do – have started to decline as they’ve aged. But let’s not forget Nashville just got away with a steal of a deal. Ribeiro, Roy and Jokinen each for 1 year for a total of $4.55M? Poile, you crazy GM, you! As I type, GM David Poile is hosting a presser to address the two new signees, with Ribeiro at his side. Here are some snippets from the press conference:

What? A player actually sought out Nashville on his own accord? Take that, Spezza. So, how many Centers does Nashville have now? Let’s see: Wilson, Ribeiro, Roy, Jokinen, Cullen, Gaustad, Smith, Jarnkrok, and Fisher (though he’s down for the count). That means someone will have to “fight for their job” as Poile has stated.

Interesting information coming out of the Preds organization this afternoon! We will add more as the presser continues and as more information becomes available.

Preds sign Olli Jokinen to One-Year Contract

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The Internet’s most gifed (sp?) hockey player (IMO) has landed in the arms of the Nashville Predators. David Poile dipped his feet into the Free Agency Waters this afternoon, after missing out on the likes of Paul Stastny, who ended up going back home to St. Louis during yesterday’s debacle. Jokinen, who scored 18 goals & posted 43 points last season with the Winnipeg Jets, isn’t the first free agent that came to mind yesterday when free agency finally took effect; but don’t count him out as a David Poile dud. Jokinen, though 35, has a lot of spunk behind him and is still going strong, despite his numbers dropping (but hey, that’s what happens when you get older). And, if things don’t end up working out, DP got the waffle-loving center for only $2.5M and a one-year contract. Don’t shut down the computers yet, Preds fans; we have a feeling DP is still testing the water before the day’s over. Until the next move, here’s the infamous waffle gif of your newest Nashville Predator:
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Blues Crush Predators 6-1

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Well, what can I say about last night’s game? Glad I was celebrating my college’s Homecoming, perhaps? Nah, I would’ve gone down with this ship if I had been there, but ouch; what a terrible way to start a long, seven-game road trip. The St. Louis Blues have always picked on little brother Nashville, but last night’s performance made even the strongest stomachs do a few flips, even all the way in Cookeville.

So, were there any highlights from last night’s game? Eh, one or two, but if I was a Blues blogger, I’d be up all night with this one. But there are still somethings we can discuss:

First Period:

  • Alexander Steen collected his ninth goal of the season on a powerplay brought about from a tripping call from Colin Wilson at 5:27. It only took Steen seven seconds to score, with the penalty beginning at 5:20.
  • St. Louis would pound Carter Hutton in the net with shots-on-goal at 17. Nashville was only able to send eight towards Jaroslav Halak.

Second Period:

  • T.J. Oshie would nab his second goal of the season with a tip-in at 7:35.
  • Jaden Schwartz would collect his second goal as well at 11:36.
  • Nashville took more shots in the second period, eight to St. Louis’ four.

Third Period:

  • Fifty-two seconds into the third, Nick Spaling would attempt to turn the tables, capitalizing with a short-handed goal, his first goal of the season. Mattias Ekholm would grab his first assist of the season.
  • Alexander Steen was well on his way to a Hat Trick with his second goal of the night at 4:37, his tenth goal of the season.
  • Predators would fall 5-1 with a goal from Derek Roy at 7:48.
  • Carter Hutton would be pulled after Roy’s goal, with Magnus Hellberg getting his first shot on NHL ice.
  • Alex Pietrangelo would score his first goal of the season on the powerplay to end the game in St. Louis’ favor, 6-1.

Welp, not too much to say after that game except Pekka’s injury has a lot of people freaking out. However, you cannot blame Carter Hutton for the awful game, though he isn’t out of the hot water just yet.

Also, the fact that Viktor Stalberg continues to be healthy scratched is not a good sign between he and Barry Trotz. He has expressed his distain and, you sort of side with the guy. Fourth line with Hendricks and Gaustad? Yea, not exactly an area to produce much from. It’s easy to understand his frustration but… that is the way of the Trotz. Someone has to take up residency in his dog house, and it looks like Mr. Stalberg has found his way.

Nashville has a few days off before heading out to Arizona to take on Phoenix on Halloween at 8PM.

Austin Watson’s NHL Debut marred by Preds 4th loss to Chicago

Source: Zimbio.com

The post-season train is about to board and Nashville is falling further and further to the back of the pack, with Chicago claiming their ticket and jumping aboard with tonight’s win over the Predators 5-3. As stated in a previous post, the lockout was more than helpful for the Chicago Blackhawks, as they started out the season undefeated through 24 games. Though they have since lost, their record against Nashville thus far remains 4-0.

Don’t laugh off the Predators just yet, though. They fell to the Blackhawks 3-0 in their first meeting, but Nashville has kept the games close against the leader of the NHL. But close doesn’t cut it when the playoffs are on the line and, though they fought a good fight, quality doesn’t always produce quantity when it comes down to it.

Here are the highlights from tonight’s game at the United Center:

BEFORE THE GAME:

  • Though he played in yesterday’s game, Mike Fisher was pulled from the lineup for safety reasons and an emergency recall from Milwaukee was made. Insert, Austin Watson: Nashville’s first round pick from the 2010 NHL Draft. As Milwaukee’s leading scorer, it was more of a “when is he coming” situation for the Predators.

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Andrew Shaw drew blood first with a slap shot past Pekka Rinne at 6:34 into the game, his 8th goal of the season.
  • Nashville would kill any chance of a shutout for Chicago at 17:16 with a wrister from Nick Spaling, his 7th goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn would pick up his 11th assist of the season.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Similar to the first period, Chicago would start out with a goal first, this time from Bryan Bickell, his 8th of the season.
  • The Predators would respond at 5:54 with a clean slap shot from Shea Weber, his 8th goal of the season. Nick Spaling would pick up the assist on Weber’s goal, his 4th of the season.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • David Legwand would give Nashville its only lead of the night at 6:54 for his 11th goal of the season. Matt Halischuk (5th) and Shea Weber (15th) would nab the assists on Leggy’s goal. Legwand is now just one goal away from his 200th NHL career goal.
  • Chicago would both tie and take the lead within 55 seconds of each goal, the first one nailed by Brandon Saad and the second collected by Jonathan Toews.
  • With the clock winding down, Patrick Kane collects his 20th goal of the season with an empty netter, sealing the game 5-3 in favor of the Blackhawks.

     

    The Blackhawks only needed one point to punch their ticket into the playoffs, but with their win in regulation, Nashville may have unwillingly handed Chicago their possible ticket, too.

The Predators have made the playoffs every year since 2003, spoiling Predators fans who weren’t aware of the franchise before that year. Do fans know how to handle an early off season filled with golf while watching other teams claw for the Cup?

The Predators pack up and head home to welcome the St. Louis Blues to the Bridgestone on Tuesday night. The Predators are just five points behind Detroit for 8th position and just six from St. Louis who sits in 7th. Two things need to happen to help the Predators: everyone else to lose and Nashville to actually win.

Western Conference Standings Update

I hope that photographer didn’t like that camera.

The standings are in from the last games of March, riding on the heels of the last month of regular season hockey. And, from the looks of it, Nashville is going to be fighting all the way through the month of April. Here is a snapshot from NHL.com of the current standings going into April:

Image Source: NHL.com

Image Source: NHL.com

The last post was written before all the games were over today, thus the standings are a tad bit different if you read it or have read it. With Columbus’s win over Anaheim, the Blue Jackets buzz past Nashville, Edmonton, and Dallas to take the elusive 8th spot, knocking St. Louis into 9th. Nashville is now in 12th of 15, just two points behind Columbus. But Dallas, Edmonton, and St. Louis stand in their way, all of who are fighting for that last playoff spot as well.

Check out the post below about what all Nashville faces going into the month of April. By the looks of tonight’s outcomes, it’s looking like it’s going to be an even rougher final month of hockey.

 

Let the Brutal ‘Final Thirteen’ Begin

Thirteen brutal games stand between Nashville and the playoffs.

Thirteen brutal games stand between Nashville and the playoffs.

Let’s start out on an honest foot: Brutal final thirteen? I’m pretty sure this entire season has been brutal for Nashville. But alas, these last thirteen games, which start tomorrow in Chicago, will test the Predators in more ways than one.

The lockout was not as nice to Nashville as it was to others teams, with Chicago, for instance, starting the season with one for the history books by eluding a loss in regulation in the first twenty-four games. It was Colorado who finally knocked them from Cloud 9, beating the Blackhawks 6-2, a team now sitting last in both the Western Conference and league (tied with the Panthers with 28 points).

The Penguins have also found their place in this shortened season, currently running on a fifteen-game winning streak. They also pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes by picking up Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames, a deal even the Boston Bruins were taken aback by (they probably had the jersey ready and waiting for him). Though the Penguins didn’t start out as cleanly as Chicago, they did get their engines running and haven’t really looked back since. Sidney Crosby, who leads the league in goal points, assists, and points in general, just had surgery today on his jaw, broken due to taking a puck to the face against the Islanders yesterday afternoon. His status is “out indefinitely”, but the Penguins do not rely on Crosby alone. Even if they struggle without Crosby at the helm, Pittsburgh is still leading the league with 56 points, though Chicago is biting at their heels with 55 points.

Though Nashville will not have to worry about facing Pittsburgh, they will have to visit with Chicago… Four more times, to be exact. The Predators first and only meeting thus far with the Blackhawks was a nasty won, with Chicago wiping the Bridgestone’s ice with the home team 3-0, Nashville’s third shutout in just twelve games. The Blackhawks continued to win, while Nashville would continue to win in OT, but lose in regulation.

Besides the conference-reigning Blackhawks, Nashville will also have to face two other tough divisional opponents: the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Detroit is currently sitting pretty in seventh, a safe playoff position. Nashville won its first meeting with Detroit, barely slipping by with a 4-3 victory in OT. But Nashville would venture to the Joe four days later and be laughed out of the arena with a shutout 4-0. The Predators will have two more chances in the regular season to sink the Red Wings.

It’s hard to believe the Columbus Blue Jackets would be considered a “tough” opponent, as they are usually Nashville (and the rest of the Central Division)’s punching bag. But the lockout gave Columbus a boost, even after trading their beloved Rick Nash to the New York Rangers during the off season. With the loss of their captain and rumors of a possible loss of franchise, Columbus wasn’t expected to make the impact they have this season. Although they haven’t made history like Chicago, they have played better than anyone expected, giving every team they come in contact with a run for their money. Columbus and Nashville started the season out against one another, with the Blue Jackets knocking out the Predators 3-2 in a shootout. Columbus would win e next meeting as well, 4-3 in regulation. Nashville would finally pull one over the Blue Jackets on March 23rd, winning in regulation 5-2. Like Detroit, Nashville will have two more chances to derail the Blue Jackets, who are tied with 35 points.

The challenge among the teams above is not all Nashville has to face. A round with St. Louis, Dallas, Vancouver, and Calgary is also in the cards, which will all give the Predators more than just a difficult time.

If the Predators intend to reach the post season and excel in the playoffs, dramatic changes will need to be established as soon as possible. With the recent return of Hal Gill, Patric Hörnqvist, and Paul Gaustad from the IR, Nashville can breathe a sigh of relief in veteran terms. However, the young blood has began to rise, with players such as Victor Bartley and Taylor Beck proving their worth on the NHL level and their importance to a post season for Nashville.

However, a team should not be based on an individual player, but as an organization as a whole. The players will have to learn to focus and work together in order to find success. Blown passes, careless plays, and missed goals will not produce a successful post season. It may not even produce a post season at all.

These next thirteen games will be the most brutal the Predators will face all season. The rest of the season is behind us. Now is the time to step from beyond the shadows and push for the playoffs.

Sweet Revenge: Predators Pummel Blues 6-1

Marty Erat does like to be injured.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure exactly where to begin. The team that hit the ice wearing Nashville sweaters was NOT the same club that has worn the jerseys previously. The Predators stayed consistent in both defense and offense, and Pekka Rinne was back in his Finnish phenom pants. Though the Predators only lead in shots over the Blues in the first period (9 to 4), the fact Nashville took a chance on shots for once proved successful, thus putting the breaks on the Blues 6-1. Again, I’m not sure even where to begin. So many plays, passes, shots, etc. were in Nashville’s favor, I just hope they can hang on to this voodoo that they’ve come across. For a team that has only two regulation wins, ten points are mind-blowing. Here are the highlights from tonight’s blowout over the Blues:

KEY POINTS:

  • Martin Erat powered back from his lower-body injury, hitting the ice against the Blues. Jonathon Blum, who proved his worth on NHL ice last Saturday against San Jose, got the nod to suit up once again. Brian McGrattan and Matt Halischuk settled with scratches.
  • Blues’ Center Andy McDonald took an early tripping penalty in the first, giving Nashville a chance at a powerplay goal. Ryan “The Rocket Ship” Ellis took a wrister from the corner, sneaking it past Brian Elliot for his second goal of the season (2:10). Martin Erat picked up his third assist and Colin Wilson picked up his second.
  • Nashville camp out in the Blues’ zone, with newcomer Rich Clune slipping a tip-in to sink his first NHL goal at 15:53. Colin Wilson would pick up his second assist of the night (third altogether) and Paul Gaustad would pick up his first assist.
  • Nick Spaling would sink his teeth into a wrist shot, earning his second goal of the season at 19:13, putting the Predators up 3-0 at the end of the first. Brandon Yip would pick up his second assist and Roman Josi would gain his first assist of the season.
  • Nashville would extend the momentum into the second period, with Kevin Klein pulling a Shea Weber and sending a killer slapshot past Elliot, thus pulling him from the game completely. Klein gained his first goal of the season at 9:09, with assists from Jonathon Blum (1) and Martin Erat (4).
  • Gabriel Bourque decided it was his time for a goal, tipping it in past rookie goalie Jake Allen. Not a good start to his NHL debut, no? Bourque’s goal was assisted by Colin Wilson, his third of the night and fourth overall.
  • A holding call on Roman Josi would prove why the Blues are second in the league in powerplay goals. Alex Pietrangelo would nab his second goal of the second with a backhander past Pekka Rinne. Pietrangelo’s goal would shift the momentum in favor of the Blues, pushing the Predators to either buck up or fall back.

Though the Blues took the reins in the third period, Nashville remained consistent, despite being out-shot 14 to 7. Pekka Rinne can be praised for his continuous saves, keeping the Blues at bay. A wrist shot at 16:34 from Martin Erat was the nail in the coffin for the Blues, sending Nashville up 6-1. Erat’s third goal of the season was assisted by Ryan Ellis (2) and Jonathon Blum (2).

Thirty-two shots on goal and only one snuck by. That’s the Pekka we know. Looks like the Finnish phenom is getting back into a rhythm, one I hope I didn’t just jinx. Even rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko couldn’t work his magic around Peks.

Penalties are still an issue with the Predators, with Nashville seeing six and the Blues only taking three. For a team that is second in the league for powerplay goals, the Blues weren’t exactly the team to give powerplay chances to. However, Pekka and the Predators held strong, only allowing one PP goal. Here are the six box sitters:

  1. David Legwand – 12:41, 1st Period – Diving or “embellishing”
  2. Roman Josi – 11:53, 2nd Period – Holding
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 16:07, 2nd Period – Hooking
  4. Shea Weber – 19:38, 2nd Period – Tripping
  5. Roman Josi – 1:15, 3rd Period – Cross-Checking
  6. Nick Spaling – 17:07, 3rd Period – Slashing

 

What a step in the right direction for Nashville. As I mentioned in previous posts, though shootout points are helpful, points in regulation are the key to the Stanley Cup. Okay, not the key, but one of many that the Predators have to nail down to compete throughout the season.

But there is certainly no way I can criticize tonight’s game. Absolutely outstanding defense, offense, and overall teamwork shown by the Predators tonight. It’s hard to believe that, just five games ago, Nashville fell 3-0 to this exact same team. This is the Predators team we expect to see. This is the Predators that will make it far in the playoffs.

Don’t forget! Tomorrow night at Dave and Buster’s at Opry Mills: The debut of The Kevin Klein Show at 6pm! Get there early for prime seating, as you don’t want to miss Kleiner or his special guest, Pekka Rinne!

Until then,
GO PREDS

Preds Shutout by No. 1 Blues

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Shea tries some defensive moves to avoid another Blues goal.

If you watched any of tonight’s game, you noticed the Predators did not retain any of their confidence from Tuesday night’s win over the Minnesota Wild. Or maybe, they are just that unnerved by the St. Louis Blues. Nonetheless, wether it be sheer nerves or a lack of confidence, it was clear the Predators were not ready to gain their second win. What was also clear? The lack of a complete offensive initiative. Any Predators stronghold will tell you, offense is not Nashville’s strong suite, but tonight’s performance made it overly apparent.

Plentiful penalties also played a huge factor in tonight’s loss for the Predators, with both sides taking their share, but the Preds took six to the Blues’s five. By the looks of the way they performed tonight, Tuesday’s game was a mere fluke by the Wild. The Predators have an uncountable amount of work to do if they wish to see the post-season. Here is the rundown of tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad remains on the scratched list, along with Jonathon Blum and Brian McGrattan. Keeping with the lines from Tuesday, Yip, Bourque, and Spaling stick together, while Craig Smith finds himself center on the fourth line.
  • T.J. Oshie capitalized on the Blues’s first powerplay of the night at 12:59, sealing his third goal of this early season with a wrister past Pekka Rinne.
  • The only goal from the second period would rise from the Blues, a penalty shot (possibly the first of the NHL season) by Patrik Berglund sinking his second goal of the season, a wrister of his own past Rinne. The penalty shot was brought about due to a hooking on the breakaway from Mike Fisher. Pekka has struggled thus far this season when it comes to one-on-one situations (do we need to go into detail?).
  • The third period goal also belonged to the Blues, with Vladimir Tarasenko, the Russian youngster taking the NHL by storm, gaining his fourth goal of the season. Again, with the wrist shot.
  • From the get-go, the Blues had the upper-hand against the Predators, both offensively and defensively. Out-shooting the Predators 24 to 13, Nashville was at a loss from the very beginning.

Like we mentioned above, penalties plagued both sides tonight, but the Predators took the brunt of the penalties. The Predators were given five chances by the Blues to gain their footing, but St. Louis wanted nothing of it, denying any chance of a goal for Nashville. Here are your penalty box lovers:

  1. Matt Halischuk – 4:22, 1st Period – Hooking
  2. Mike Fisher – 12:10, 1st Period – Hooking
  3. Rich Clune – 6:11, 2nd Period – Fighting
  4. Mike Fisher – 9:26, 2nd Period – Hooking on Breakaway (Penalty Shot)
  5. Craig Smith – 16:20, 2nd Period – Hooking
  6. Rich Clune – 17:42, 3rd Period – Roughing

No fight, no battle from the Predators tonight against the Blues. Expressing the fact that the Blues had the upper-hand the entire game cannot be spoken enough. The Predators were not physically, mentally, or emotionally ready to face the No. 1 Blues tonight, no excuses needed.

Though the Predators will find their groove again, this will not be the end of the psychological impact the Blues have over the Preds this season. The Predators face the Blues in St. Louis once again on February 5th.

The Predators are off to the Golden State to face the Anaheim Ducks this Saturday at 9:30PM. Hopefully, the Ducks do not hold the same voodoo over the Predators has the Blues do.

Until then,
GO PREDS