Predators trounce Toronto 9-2; tie Franchise Record

Taylor+Beck+Nashville+Predators+v+Toronto+TF5H5JZ67Tbl

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

It’s the first meeting of two this season between the Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs, with Nashville sitting 2nd in the Central Division and Toronto sitting 6th in the Atlantic. Though on different sides of the Conference Coin, both teams are looking to improve their appearances (Toronto is coming off a two-game losing streak and Nashville? Well, we always need positive press). So, were the Maple Leafs able to cut their losses and collect a win or is Nashville still clawing at St. Louis’s heels?
—————————————————————

First Period:
– Just 1:52 into the first period, the silent Taylor Beck clocks a wrister past Jonathan Bernier for his second goal of the season. Shea Weber (4) and Paul Gaustad (4) picked up the assists.
– A 10:14, Derek Roy nabbed his first goal (and point as a Pred) of the season with a backhander. Matt Cullen (4) and Ryan Ellis (7) collect the assists on Roy’s goal.
– Taylor Beck would finish off the first period with another goal, this time a backhander and on the powerplay for his third goal of the season. Filip Forsberg (13) and Seth Jones (5) would help with the assists.
– Toronto wasn’t that far being Nashville in SOG, with eight compared to Nashville’s twelve.

Second Period:
– Eric Nystrom picked up his third goal of the season at 18:45, putting the Predators up 4-0 over the Maple Leafs at the end of the second period. Taylor “on fiyah” Beck (2) and Craig Smith (4) picked up the assists.

Third Period:
– Mike Ribeiro set the third period on fire just 53 seconds into the period with a tip-in past Reimer. Ryan Ellis (8) would collect on the assist.
– Not even a minute later at 1:26, Filip Forsberg (9) would put Nashville up 6-0 with a deflected goal. Shea Weber (5) and Mike Ribeiro (11) would pick up the assists.
– Calle Jarnkrok would put the Preds up 7-0 at 3:06 for his first goal of the season with assistance from Colin Wilson (4) and Shea Weber (6).
– Pushing it 8-0 at 5:14, Roman Josi collects his third goal of the season with a wrap-around. Eric Nystrom (3) and Paul Gaustad (5) amass the assists.
– Former 2004 Nashville draft pick Mike Santorelli finally put Toronto on the board at 8:18 for his third goal of the season.
– Just a few minutes later at 10:32, Nazem Kadri (5) shot the Maple Leafs up 2-8 with assistance from Dion Phaneuf and former Predator, Cody Franson.
– Colin Wilson put Nashville up 9-2 at 17:28 with a snap shot for his second goal of the season; assistance from Calle Jarnkrok (2).

—————————————————————
And with Wilson’s goal (and much distaste from Toronto fans – many f-bombs dropped and a bag of what looked to be “sheet” and a jersey hit the ice), Nashville prevails in Canada on a Tuesday. Also prevailing is the fact Nashville has now tied their franchise record of number of goals scored in a game (vs. Calgary in 2006 and Pittsburgh in 2004). Oh, and let us also not forget the Predators have hopped-skipped-jumped St. Louis to take the lead of the Central Division… again. One more stat for the night: Shea Weber’s three assists tonight now tie him with Kimmo Timonen with 222 assists for Nashville.

Sadly, Olli Jokinen remains point-less, despite many chances tonight alone. However, just because he has been unsuccessful collecting a point, he has been a huge part in getting Nashville to where it is now, 12-4-2. You can see from the past few games that he is getting more and more frustrated, but his points will come.

Nashville is pushing eastward to face David Legwand in his new hometown of Ottawa on Thursday night, then it’s back to Nashville on Saturday night. But for tonight, it’s a celebration! Preds going up on Tuesday (as the cool kids say):

Advertisements

2014 Winter Olympics Team USA Roster

Ryan Suter – 2010 Winter Olympics – Getty Images

The official roster for Team USA was announced this afternoon following the 2014 Winter Classic, in which the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings in a SO 3 to 2. 105,491 was the official attendance in today’s Winter Classic, by the way… and the average temperature was 13°, with a wind chill of -1°

Any who – back to Team USA – So, who got the call to represent the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? Here’s the list:

David Backes – St. Louis Blues
Dustin Brown – Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Callahan – New York Rangers
John Carlson – Washington Capitals
Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Kesler – Vancouver Canucks
Paul Martin – Pittsburgh Penguins
Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers
Ryan Miller – Buffalo Sabres
James van Riemsdyk – Toronto Maple Leafs
Brooks Orpik – Pittsburgh Penguins
TJ Oshie – St. Louis Blues
Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadiens
Zach Parise – Minnesota Wild
Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings
Kevin Shattenkirk – St. Louis Blues
Paul Stastny – Colorado Avalanche
Derek Stepan – New York Ranger
Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
Blake Wheeler – Winnipeg Jets
Jimmy Howard – Detroit Red Wings
Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs

As you may have heard (especially if you’re a Predators fan), the Nashville Predators General Manager, David Poile, was named the Team USA GM over the summer. So, are you surprised no Predators made the roster? Seth Jones & Craig Smith were the only players that popped up on the radar and were expected to make the list, but as we now know, neither one apparently quite made the cut. Since Jones is still a young NHL-er, his roster-miss is not as surprising as Craig Smith’s, especially after his outstanding performance in the IIHF World Championships this past Spring.

Notable other players absent from the roster list include Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan, Phoenix’s Keith Yandle, Columbus’ Jack Johnson, and Islanders’ Kyle Okposo among many others that you could make a solid argument for.

So, there you have it. Will you put your differences aside and cheer for the likes of Ryan Kesler, Ryan Suter, and Patrick Kane to push Team USA to gold? We will… but just for this time.

Predators blank Red Wings 2-0

Courtesy: Getty Images — And yes, this is an older photo

After a less than successful road trip to their tremendous win over the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night 7-2, Nashville hit the road again, making their first stop in the Motor City; the first time since Detroit hopped ship to the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for the Wings, after years of questioning their position in the West, their debut in the East hasn’t exactly been the brightest. Though a better record than Nashville at 9-5-7 (NSH – 9-9-2), the Wings have been on a downslope the last six games. That’s right; six games. Luckily for Detroit, however, 5 out of 6 of those losses have resulted in either a SO or OT, so at least a point is gained.
So, after the outstanding performance against the Blackhawks Saturday night, would the Predators extend the momentum to the Joe and hand their old foes their seventh consecutive loss? Let’s jump to the highlights:

First Period:

  • Neither team was able to collect a goal during the first period, but it was far from uneventful.
  • Both sides were given Power Play opportunities, but neither goalie was willing to give the other side any leeway.
  • Nashville outshot Detroit 10 to 7 at the end of the first period.

Second Period:

  • Plenty of penalties were had in the second period, with the Red Wings notching three and the Predators picking up one from Mike Fisher’s holding call.
  • Nashville would finally connect on a Power Play opportunity at 19:55 (yes, just five seconds left in the period) with an infamous slapshot from Shea Weber (6th overall). David Legwand notched his 14th assist on Weber’s goal.
  • Detroit would take the lead in shots-on-goal in the second, 9 to 7.

Third Period:

  • Gabriel Bourque would put Nashville up 2-0 at 7:13 with a backhander around Jimmy Howard (3rd overall). Viktor Stalberg would pick up the assist (2nd overall).

In an interesting and bizarre call, Viktor Stalberg and Mikael Samuelsson both received holding penalties, though they clearly initiated a fight. Was it because no punches were thrown? Who knows, but both we given minors for the incident.
Detroit would attempt to take the helm by outshooting Nashville 11 to 8, but it just wasn’t enough to power past the rookie goaltender.
Speaking of rookie goaltender, kudos to Marek Mazanec for his first career NHL shutout. And in the Joe, nonetheless! Mazanec is just the second Czech-born goaltender to record a shutout for the Predators.
Final shot count: Detroit 27, Nashville 25.
Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 9.42.00 PM

I’d like to believe that Nashville has shaken their slump and that the sting of 5-0 shutouts have faded from recent memory, but I won’t be setting up my lawn chair for the Stanley Cup parade on Broadway just yet… but I like the path they are on currently. A win over Chicago and Detroit are always confidence builders.

The Predators head East to Toronto to take on the 13-7-1 Maple Leafs, who Nashville has already beaten on the road once this season. So, can they do it again? We’ll find out Thursday night at 6PM.

Leafs blank Preds 4-0

image

Ouch. Not much stings worse than a goose egg at home.
However, out of all the goalies Nashville is faced over its 15-year span, Jonathan Bernier has to be the most despised, yet respected.
Come on! What about Luongo? Howard? Kiprusoff? Yes, those goalies have engrained themselves into a special place in every Preds fans’ mind, but none have a record against Nashville like Bernier. After the win last night, he now stands at 8-1-0 against Nashville… even when he was a backup for the Kings.
And if you watched any of the game last night, whether you were there in the arena or sitting on your couch on TV, you couldn’t miss how in control Bernier was last night. He allowed maybe one or two to ricochet, but the majority of his stops were controlled. One would have thought he put a magnet in the puck and his glove. He just couldn’t be stopped.

And this is no dog on Nashville; oh no. Yes, there were a few hiccups, but all-in-all, the Predators played hard and came out of the game on top with shots on goal, 36-26. But Bernier was on his A-Game last night and, although they tried valiantly, it just wasn’t enough to sneak one past the seasoned goalie.

Due to an unfortunate collision with former Predator Cody Franson, who went face-first into the rounded glass and cut his nose on his visor, Mike Fisher was given a major, which left the Predators with the remainder of the game in the favor of Toronto. The Maple Leafs would capitalize twice before the final buzzer, with an unfortunate knock-in goal by rookie Seth Jones.

Back to the Franson/Fisher hit, it was clear – as most people didn’t even see the accident – that is was, as Mike Fisher quoted it, “just a hockey play” and was “surprised” to have received a penalty. Fisher did make the effort to reach out to Franson after the game to make sure the former Pred was alright. As we all know, Fisher is not a malicious player and does not go out to intentionally injure opposing players. Freak accidents happen and, from the outside looking in, that’s what it appears to be. The NHL has not ruled out a supplemental discipline for Fisher’s hit, but as of 9:30AM Friday morning, no word has been announced.

Goose eggs – no, not Gaustad eggs – are an instant morale drainer. Just as Nashville was gaining confidence from Tuesday’s winner over the Wild, it was taken down a peg by a 4-0 loss to the Maple Leafs. After last night’s loss, the Predators are now sitting pretty at the bottom of the newly reformed Central Division. However, don’t let that disheartening fact get you down; it’s only the fourth game of the very long season. Hey, you have to hit rock bottom to hit the top, right?

The Predators welcome in the New York Islanders Saturday night at 7PM. Tickets are still available, so get them now!

Realignment: Who will Rival the Nashville Predators?

Could this mean the end of the NSH/DET rivalry?

After tonight’s rough and disheartening shutout, I think it’s time to move onto a much lighter subject. Possible realignment of conferences!

Wait – Are you having déjà vu? You should be, for this isn’t the first time it has been brought up. A proposed realignment of the Western and Eastern Conferences into four smaller conferences has been put out there, but has also been shutdown in the past.

The possible realignment was brought up by the boys over at Hockey Night in Canada, which got a lot of people taking about rivalries that could come to an end next season if said proposal was passed. Here’s a look at the possible conferences:

Proposed “Conference 1” and “Conference 2” – Source: HNIC

The proposed “Conference 3” and “Conference 4” – Source: HNIC

Thanks to Nick Costonika for the screen captures from HNIC, you can see that a few teams lose their renowned rivalries. Okay, none are terrible on the Eastern Conference front (the Flyers still have the Penguins, Toronto still has Montreal), but – and this could be because we are partial to the Central Division – Detroit will lose its in-conference rivalries with Chicago and Nashville. Though in all honesty, it makes more sense for Detroit to be in the East, the breaking up of the Central Division would be devastating, as they are the most heated division in the Western Conference.

However, it would be interesting to see if Detroit could stay on their toes in a division alongside such teams as the Boston Bruins (which would lose their heated meetings between the Rangers and such).

How about the Nashville/Detroit rivalry? How will the “Pred Wings” handle not seeing their beloved “team on the down low” as often in Music City or vice versa? Yes, it would be difficult to say goodbye to such a loving rivalry, but Nashville no longer relies on big names like Detroit, Chicago, or St. Louis to pack the house. With twenty-two straight sell outs, the Predators have dug themselves a nice, cozy home at the Bridgestone Arena, and they have plenty of inhabitants to keep the electricity on.

Nashville will still have Chicago and St. Louis if the conference realignment was allowed, but a new, more original rivalry may come about. St. Louis and Chicago would pair up, no doubt, and Dallas and Colorado could knock each other around, but Nashville? Who would Nashville choose to be eir “team they love to hate”?

We’ll give that honor to the Minnesota Wild. Why Minnesota? Really, must you even ask? With Ryan Suter making the move to the Wild in the off-season, Nashville fans already have a bad taste in their mouths whenever the name “Minnesota” or “Wild” is even mentioned. Yes, we have no doubt the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators would form a new, possibly historical rivalry, and that sounds fantastic.

Either way, this realignment is just a talking point. Though it has been proposed and is on the table for next season, it is not set in stone and will probably be shot down just like in previous attempts. Though we like the rivalries we have now, realignment would be helpful, especially travel-wise for teams like Nashville (the farthest East team in the Western Conference) and Winnipeg (the farthest West team in the Eastern Conference).

A girl can only hope, right?