Preds Win second straight SO; Rout Kings 4-3

Source: Brooks Bratten Twitter - @brooksbratten

Source: Brooks Bratten Twitter – @brooksbratten

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

First Period:

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

Second Period:

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

Third Period:

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

Overtime:

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

Shootout:

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

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

Predators Out-Play Blackhawks 7-2

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Back-to-back games are rough on any team and after coming off a 17-day road trip, Nashville was no exception. But after losing 4-1 to Pittsburgh and turning right around to take on the 13-2-4 Chicago Blackhawks? But let us not forget the Predators way: When they should win, they lose; When they should lose, they win. Totally makes for great blood pressure, truly. Let’s jump to the highlights:

First Period:

  • Similar to last night, Nashville struck first with a wrister from Matt Cullen at 7:28, his third goal of the season. Craig Smith (6th assist) and Seth Jones (6th assist) would collect the assists.
  • Nick Spaling would put the Predators up 2-0 at 8:25 with wrister of his own for his second goal of the season. Craig Smith would notch his second assist of the game (7th overall) and Ryan Ellis would pick up an assist, too (4th overall).
  • Nashville would outshoot Chicago 10 to 7, with NHL rookie Marek Mazanec stepping up his game from last night’s punishment.

Second Period:

  • The Predators kept the momentum into the second with a Power Play tip-in goal from Patric Hornqvist (6th goal) at 9:02. Roman Josi, who was first awarded the goal, picked up his 2nd assist overall along with Shea Weber (5th overall).
  • Craig Smith (4th goal) would give Nashville a substantial 4-0 lead at 18:18 with a backhander past Corey Crawford. Matt Cullen (3rd assist) would pick up the assist.
  • Chicago would finally get on the board at 18:44 with a wrister from Patrick Kane, his 11th goal of the season.
  • Nashville would keep the Blackhawks at bay with a 4-1 at the end of the 2nd period, though this time, Chicago outshoot the Predators 18 to 13.
  • Kudos to Mazanec for blocking 17 of 18 shots during the second period, especially after being pulled after the same period the night before. Amazing what a game at home can do… even if there is way too many mustard jerseys filling said seats.

Third Period:

  • Chicago would embrace the second intermission and come out swinging in the third, collecting their second goal at just 6:14 into the second period. Brandon Pirri collected his 5th goal of the season on Chicago’s goal.
  • Viktor Stalberg would give his old team a big middle finger just fifteen seconds later with a backhander past Crawford for his second goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (3rd assist) and David Legwand (12th assists) would help collect Nashville’s fifth goal of the night.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQHUu3XNfMw
  • At 12:19, Mike Fisher would pick up his third goal of the season with an assist from Patric Hornqvist (7th assist), putting the home team up 6-2.
  • And, at 14:07, Captain Shea Weber sealed the deal with his signature slapshot to put Nashville up 7-2. Roman Josi (3rd assist) and David Legwand (13th assist) setup Weber’s 5th goal of the season.
  • Chicago would put the extra pressure on Mazanec in the third period, outshooting Nashville a cool 16 to 7. Again, another shout out to the NHL rookie for blocking 15 of 16 shots on goal. He took a pounding, nonetheless.
  • Marek Mazanec, after being pulled after the second period the night before, collected his first NHL win tonight against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The final shot totals: Chicago 41, Nashville 30. So, doing the easy math, Mazanec blocked 39 of 41 shots on goal. Pretty spectacular for a rookie, eh?

Again, the Nashville Predators just have this uncanny way of defeating teams that just aren’t on the radar. Never, never count out the pesky Preds, my friends. Even after the whole ticket debacle, the Bridgestone Arena was still overrun with those awful red jerseys, which was not unexpected; we pissed them off. Maybe with this win, Chicago fans will have some respect when visiting Nashville and maybe, just maybe, take them down a peg or two. Did I personally hear the whole “two Cups in three years” line tonight? Yes, yes I did. As they say, “Scoreboard, son”.