NSH Acquires Elliott for Bartley

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Image Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In a trade that took “weeks“to develop, the Nashville Predators traded defenseman Victor Bartley to the Arizona Coyotes for fellow defenseman Stefan Elliott. You may be wondering, “How could this trade – of all trades – have taken weeks?” Well, it involves multiple players and more than just Arizona and Nashville.

Wanting Jarred Tinordi and Stefan Fournier from the Montreal Canadiens, the Arizona Coyotes configured a deal with Nashville (Elliott for Bartley) and then traded Victor Bartley and John Scott to Montreal for Tinordi and Fournier. Make sense?

Per Yahoo! Sports NHL, newly acquired Stefan Elliott has 82GP, 8G, 24PTs, and 16 PIM. Eh, not too shabby of a pick up with the luck Nashville has been having lately. Any goals would be wonderful, am I right?

Beyond Nashville trading defense for defense, there’s the fact that the Pacific Division All-Star Captain has been traded off to the Atlantic Division. What does that mean for John Scott and the All-Star Game? Surprisingly, not much. There’s a good chance he’ll just play out his role as Pacific Division Captain whist listed on the St. John’s IceCaps roster; both Scott and Bartley will join Montreal’s minor league affiliate.

Speaking of Victor Bartley, it’s been real. Placed on waivers by Nashville back in November, a trade featuring the 27-year-old defenseman was bound to happen. Originally an Undrafted Free Agent, Victor Bartley bounced around Sweden before signing his first NHL contract with the Predators in 2011. Of course, Bartley will probably be best remembered for his rendition of “Gangnam Style” with the Milwaukee Admirals:

Ah, good times.

Moving forward, let’s here what the Predators had to say about their newly acquired defenseman from Arizona:

Elliott, 24 (1/30/91), has skated in 82 career NHL games, posting 24 points (8g-16a) in parts of five seasons with the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defenseman has spent the 2015-16 campaign with Arizona, notching six points (2g-4a), 10 hits and 16 blocked shots in 19 games.

The native of Vancouver, B.C., was Colorado’s second-round selection (49th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft.

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Preds Release Opening Night Roster

opening night

Yesterday afternoon, the Predators released the finalized 23-man roster for the 2015-16 NHL season. Without further ado, here are your Nashville Predators:

FORWARDS

Smith

Forsberg

Arvidsson

Bourque

Fisher

Gaustad

Hodgson

Neal

Nystrom

Wilson

Ribeiro

watson

51(1)

DEFENSE

Bartley

Bitetto

Ekholm

Ellis

Weber

Josi

Jackman

Jones

GOALIES

Rinne

Hutton

 

So, are you surprised by who made  the roster? We certainly are happy to see that Austin Watson made the cut, as that kid has been working something hard in the AHL. The same can be said for Viktor Arvidsson, who is definitely ready for his light to shine this season.

The 2015-16 NHL season opens tonight with the Maple Leafs vs. the Canadiens, the Blackhawks vs. Rangers, the Flames vs. the Canucks, and the Kings vs. the Sharks. However, Nashville opens the season tomorrow at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Preds shutout Sabres 3-0

Source: John Russell/NHLI

Source: John Russell/NHLI

Call this just as much a morale victory as it was a shutout because the Predators needed a win like this desperately. Nashville, who has been in a deep, inescapable rut, last won a home game back on February 24th against the Colorado Avalanche. Actually, that was the last game the Predators played well before completely dismantling. Although the Sabres are 20-44-7 (before the game), that did give many fans much encouragement as the Predators continue digging out (or deeper) of their rut.

PRE-GAME NOTES:

  • Viktor Arvidsson was recalled by the Predators under emergency conditions to replace Colin Wilson, who is now day-to-day with a lower-body injury. This would be Arvidsson’s NHL debut.

SCRATCHES:

  • Anton Volchenkov, Colin Wilson, James Neal, Eric Nystrom, Victor Bartley

FIRST PERIOD:

  • The Predators gave Matt Hackett, the Sabres goaltender, a run for his money with seventeen shots-on-goal. However, for a net-minder who has only played in a handful of NHL games, he played rather well. The Sabres were only able to notch six shots-on-goal during this period.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • The lamp would finally be lit at 14:52, just four seconds into Nashville’s powerplay, by Taylor Beck, his 7th goal of the season. Shea Weber (30) and Matt Cullen (16) would tally an assist.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Craig Smith would put Nashville up 2-0 at 5:49 for his 23rd goal of the season. Ryan Ellis (16) and Matt Cullen (17) would notch the assists on Smith’s goal.
  • Mike Fisher would collect the game winner at 15:01, his 17th of the season. Viktor Stalberg (6) and Ryan Ellis (17) would tally the assists.

POST GAME NOTES:

  • Paul Gaustad did what he does best by winning all 13 face-offs in last night’s game.
  • Craig Smith was fined $5,000 by the league due to his high stick on Jerry D’Amigo; a penalty in which he served a double-minor.

  • The Predators are now just one point behind St. Louis from retaking the Central Division, whilst Chicago sits an uncomfortable four points behind Nashville.

Again, this could be chalked up as a morale victory more than anything for Nashville. I, for one, am hoping this win will boost the team out of their rut and onward into playoff contention. Ah, but the next opponents isn’t so easy… Montreal is on pass to be one of the first teams to surpass 100 points this season (the other team being Anaheim), a feat we once though Nashville would do. The Canadiens not only lead the Atlantic Division, they also dominate the Eastern Conference at 46-20-7. With Carey Price in net, who has now surpassed Pekka Rinne for wins at 40 (Rinne – 38), this will not be a walk in the park. But I bet you already knew that.

Ugly OT Win breaks Preds 6-Game Losing Streak

Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Call it what you will: ugly, gritty, rough, etc., but the Predators pulled out the two-points over the Arizona Coyotes to end their six-game losing streak last night.

SCRATCHED: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok, Eric Nystrom, Anton Volchenkov

FIRST PERIOD:

  • The Predators came out with a little more fire under their belts, but goaltender Louis Domingue interrupted all 13 SOG that Nashville mustered. For someone who has only tended NHL ice once previously to this match, Domingue brought his A-game; a testament to his solid abilities.
  • Pekka was on point, too, last night, blocking all nine shots-on-goal from the Coyotes in the first period.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • At 3:26 into the second period, Paul Gaustad collected his third goal of the season with assistance from Taylor Beck (7).
  • Both Arizona and Nashville were given two power play opportunities, but neither could capitalize on the advantage.
  • The Coyotes out-shot the Predators eleven to eight.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • At 7:27 into the third, the Coyotes set the game with a tip-in from Kyle Chipchura, his 4th goal of the season.
  • Nashville was awarded three power play chances in the third, including one that would follow up to the end of regulation, but they were unable to connect.
  • The Predators out-shot the Coyotes twelve to eight in the third period.

OVERTIME:

  • James Neal came to the rescue, scoring his 22nd goal of the season just 2:45 in overtime. Seth Jones (17) and Cody Franson (29) tallied the assists on Neal’s game-winning-goal.

POST GAME NOTES:

  • The Predators are now 8-0-1 when Paul Gaustad notches a point during the span of a game.
  • Nashville is also 9-1-2 when Viktor Stalberg is in the lineup.
  • Gaustad’s goal ends another poignant streak; the eleven-straight games without tallying the first goal. Reminder: six of those eleven resulted in losses.
  • Cody Franson tallied his first point with the Predators since being traded to the team back in February (and, if we want to get really technical, his first points with the Preds since the 2010-11 season).
  • With two points, the Predators jump the Anaheim Ducks to reclaim first in the Western Conference and league. That’s an amazing stat in its own, that Nashville was able to lose six-straight and still bounce back into the lead with one win.
  • Pekka Rinne now has 199 career wins and the Predators franchise now has their 599th win.

The Predators aren’t out of hot water just yet; oh no. Nashville heads further west, taking on all three teams in California before making it back home on Tuesday to face the Minnesota Wild. The Sharks, who Nashville plays Thursday night at 9:30PM, will be desperately looking for a win as they are sitting in fifth in the Pacific Division and just one point behind the Kings.

NSH notches 40th Win in SO against BUF 2-1

Source: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Well, this isn’t the road trip the Predators expected to have, now is it? After taking a loss Thursday 5-2 from the New York Islanders, then limping away with a point yesterday afternoon against the Flyers, the Predators were hoping to shake off this excruciating road trip with a win against the 17-38-4 (ouch) Buffalo Sabres before returning home on Tuesday.

SCRATCHES: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok

FIRST PERIOD:

  • A rather uneventful period, Nashville managed to out-shoot Buffalo eleven to three, but Michal Neuvirth was there to block the Preds.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • What looked like another quiet period, Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis (15) was able to sink a wrister on Carter Hutton at 19:46, giving the Sabres a late second period 1-0 lead. Zemgus Girgensons (14) and Matt Moulson (17) tallied the assists.
  • Nashville once again out-shot Buffalo, this time fifteen to four, but it was Ennis who found the sweet spot.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Relief for the Predators came at 15:43 on the powerplay as Mike Ribeiro (12) deflected a shot to tie the game at one. Cody Franson (27) and Seth Jones (16) notch the assists.
  • The Predators only managed ten shots-on-goal during the third, but again, out-shot the Sabres by four.

OVERTIME:

  • The Predators were given a late overtime powerplay chance, but nothing could be accomplished by either team in OT, so onward to the shootout…

SHOOTOUT:

  • BUF – Matt Moulson – MISS
  • NSH – Mike Santorelli – GOAL
  • BUF – Tyler Ennis – GOAL
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • BUF – Zemgus Girgensons – MISS
  • NSH – Matt Cullen – MISS
  • BUF – Brian Gionta – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – GOAL

POST GAME NOTES:

  • The Predators are the first team in the NHL to reach 40 wins with this shootout victory and set a franchise record.
  • Both Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli help secure this win tonight, with Franson collecting an assist and Santorelli sinking a goal in the shootout.

Inhale slowly through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth; the Predators walk away with the two points. Okay, but let’s discuss how outrageous Michal Neuvirth was in net tonight. Nashville was doing everything right; you can see that from the amount of shots-on-goal. Unfortunately, Neuvirth was doing everything right, too. The kid blocked 37 of the 38 SOG; that’s Pekka-esque and pretty darn good.

Take a deep breath, my friends. The Predators are back home Tuesday to take on the Colorado Avalanche, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the Central Division. Then it’s a bout with Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Predators Recall Anthony Bitetto

Source: Sarah Fuqua Photography

Source: Sarah Fuqua Photography

Late last night, the Predators slipped in that Anthony Bitetto had been recalled by the organization to join the team on their trip to Detroit. This is young defenseman’s first career NHL call up and is expected to make his NHL debut tonight as well. Here’s an excerpt from the official presser released by the Predators:

Bitetto, 24 (7/15/90), leads Milwaukee defensemen in points (2g-17a-19pts) while appearing in all 38 of the team’s games in 2014-15. During the team’s current six-game winning streak, the Island Park, New York, native has six points (1g-5a), moving him into a tie for eighth among all AHL blueliners in assists, and into the Top 15 League d-men in points. A season ago, his first full campaign at the AHL level, the 6-0, 215-pounder tied for sixth among AHL defensemen in goals (11), and for ninth in power-play goals (6). Nashville’s fourth choice, 168th overall (sixth round), in the 2010 Entry Draft, Bitetto did not miss a game during a two-year collegiate career at Northeastern University (Hockey East) from 2010-12, compiling 35 points (7g-28a) in 72 games, and helped the Indiana Ice win the 2009 Clark Cup as United States Hockey League champions. He is on Twitter @ABitetto7.

Bitetto, a mentioned above, leads the Admirals defencemen in points and has tallied 144 games in a three year span. So, who’s hurt? What was originally called a hand injury sustained by Victor Bartley in last night’s bout with the Capitals, it was deemed at game time to be an injury sustained by Anton Volchenkov. So there you have it.

The Predators hit the ice in Detroit tonight at 6PM, then it’s off to Montreal to take on the Canadiens on Tuesday.

Predators rally past Capitals 4-3

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Phew! You want to talk about a dirty, gritty win for the Predators? Well, last night was certainly an example of a robbery in progress and there was nothing Barry Trotz and the Capitals could do but watch. Granted, the Predators started the game out on the right foot, but leave it to Alexander Ovechkin to come roaring in to help the Capitals take and hold the lead late into the third period. Ah, but those pesky Preds had other ideas up their sleeves.

SCRATCHES: Viktor Stalberg (who has a birthday today) and Pekka Rinne

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Braden Holtby didn’t waste a moment showing off how on fire he has been as of late, keeping the first period rather uneventful until at 16:16 when Seth Jones’ (3) wrister sent the young goaltender falling backwards and the puck floating in the net. Calle Jarnkrok (7) collected the lone assist on Jones’ game-starter.
  • But before Jones got the ball rolling, the much anticipated video tribute to former head coach Barry Trotz was aired to a standing ovation. In fact, I couldn’t even hear what the video was saying because the cheers were so deafening. You can view the tribute here.
  • SOG: NSH – 10, SOG: WSH – 8 at the end of the first period.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • James Neal collected his 14th of the season at 1:50 into the second period, giving Nashville an early 2-0 lead with a beautiful deflection from Mike Fisher, leaving the net wide open. Mike Fisher (9) and Victor Bartley (7) pick up the assists.
  • But it was bound to happen: Ovi woke up. Ovechkin notched his 23rd goal of the season after sinking his signature in the top left corner of the net; Carter Hutton had no chance.
  • Capitalizing on a powerplay chance, Ovechkin (24) would sink another past Hutton to tie the game, sending the Predators defense into an obvious panic.
  • SOG: NSH – 8, SOG: WSH – 14 at the end of the second.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Marcus Johansson would give Washington a lead of 3-2 at 2:38 into the third period on a powerplay opportunity.
  • But thanks to a powerplay slapshot from Mattias Ekholm (4) at 15:31, the Predators found a much needed spark to push through the remainder of the period.
  • At 18:20, James Neal (15) would sink one of the most beautiful goals I’ve ever seen, giving the Predators a 4-3 lead late in the third.

NOTEWORTHY NOTES:

  • Carter Hutton’s record now improves to 1-3-2 as he collects his first win of the season. A much deserved stat as well, since some folks seem to think Carter Hutton is a horrible, no good goaltender.
  • Hand it to Seth Jones for clocking 23:01 minutes of ice time and collecting his third goal and tenth assist of the season.
  • James Neal is now tied with Filip Forsberg for goal leader amongst the Predators at 15.
  • Though the Islanders notched 30 wins before the Predators last night (due to being in the Eastern Time Zone), Nashville is still on a franchise march. The Predators are now 30-9-4 on the season in mid-January, a stat that took the team all the way until March last season to reach.

I’ll leave you with the post game presser of Barry Trotz’s take on his tribute video and a reminder that the Predators are at it again tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings are also coming in after playing last night, defeating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime. There are a lot of doubters amongst the league on if Nashville’s leadership is just a fluke, but that’s what tends to push the human spirit to persevere.

Preds trample Canucks 5-1; Rinne Injured in Process

IMG_3589

Source: Yahoo! Sports

The Predators improved their record to 29-9-4 after trampling the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 last night, but that wasn’t before losing goaltender Pekka Rinne a few minutes into the third period. Chris Higgins slid into Rinne while storming the crease and both collided into the boards. Higgins got up unscathed; Peks, on the other hand, was a little more hesitant. After reluctantly leaving the ice, it was announced that Rinne had suffered a lower-body injury and would not return for the remainder of the game. Carter Hutton, who had been sitting stone-cold for a good two hours, was prepared to be thrown to the metaphorical wolves.

SCRATCHES: Viktor Stalberg and Mark Arcobello

First Period:

  • Craig Smith got the ball rolling at 4:07 with a powerplay goal, which – notably – Nashville has gotten a better hand at, to say the least. Colin Wilson (15) and Mike Ribeiro snag the assists on Smith’s 13th goal of the season.
  • After notching an assist, Colin Wilson would collect his 13th goal of the season at 6:22 to put Nashville up 2-0 early. Mike Fisher (8) and James Neal (11) would assist in Wilson’s goal.
  • SOG – NSH: 12, SOG – VAN: 9

Second Period:

  • Vancouver came out in the second with a fire lit under their pants, giving Nashville the runaround for a majority of the period. Alexander Edler would put the Canucks on the board at 2:47 for his fifth goal of the season.
  • SOG – NSH: 9, SOG – VAN: 11

Third Period:

  • And we have reached the point in the post where we return to the first paragraph: Vancouver’s Higgins slides into Rinne, causing both to crash into the boards behind the net.
    MeekFatherlyFlickertailsquirrelAs you can see, it really wasn’t that bad of a collision and Anton Volchenkov also had a play in Rinne hitting into the boards (but we like to blame the Canucks for any and everything). As previously mentioned, Rinne was hesitant to leave the game and left on his own power, leading me to believe that Rinne being pulled from the remainder of the game was more of a precautionary tool than anything. Let me finish the recap and we’ll return to this subject.
  • Carter Hutton wiped off his cap, slapped on his pads, and hit the ice, his first appearance on home ice this entire season (his previous five appearances were on the road).
  • The Canucks pressured Hutton and the net well after he entered the game, but a noticeable fire was lit under the Predators.
  • Filip Forsberg put the Predators up 3-1 at 13:32 for his 15th goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (29) and Victor Bartley (6) notched the assists.
  • Mike Fisher would take the Preds up 4-1 at 15:31 for his 8th goal of the season. James Neal (12) and Colin Wilson (16) would tally an assist from Fisher’s goal.
  • And, what was originally called as Craig Smith’s goal, Colin Wilson collected his second goal of the night (14th overall) on the powerplay at 17:39, taking the wheels right out from under the Canucks.
  • SOG – NSH: 9, SOG – VAN: 11

Noteworthy Notes:

  • Carter Hutton, though he came in for Rinne in the third, does not actually collect the win; Pekka still does. This is due in part to the fact Hutton did not allow a goal, but Rinne did during his time in net. Had Hutton allowed a goal and Nashville still won, he would’ve collected the win.
  • Hutton did, however, stop the ten shots on goal that came his way, and many were pretty nail-biting.
  • Mike Ribeiro continues to be a proving asset to the Predators as he has now tallied 20 points in his last 20 games.
  • This is the third time in Colin Wilson’s career that he has tallied four points within a game. The kid’s on fire.
  • Back to Pekka: Later on after the game, it was announced that Rinne was day-to-day with his lower-body injury and that he would be re-evaluated on Thursday. Again, I believe that he being pulled from the game last night was purely precautionary and a “rather be safe than sorry” scenario; boy, do I hope I am right. Because he was able to get up on his own, stretch, and debated on whether he’d go back to the net or not is my reasoning behind believing this may just be a safety measure. Again, I really, really hope I am right. As great as Nashville has been, Pekka Rinne is a huge factor in that success and it would be hard to seal those gritty wins without him.

The Predators take two days off – plenty of time to work some kinks out – and then welcome in Barry Trotz (and Joel Ward, Mike Latta, and Jack Hillen) to Nashville on Friday. It is also Mike Fisher bobblehead night, though I think the game may already be sold out. Stub Hub and NHL Ticket Exchange have tickets available, but – in personal experience – my tickets sold in less than fifteen minutes yesterday. Needless to say, if you want to go, you better get on it.

As for Pekka Rinne, I will keep you updated as news becomes available regarding his condition. Cross your fingers, say your prayers, do whatever your little superstitious heart desires, Preds fans.

Preds try to give Fans Heart Attacks; Win in OT 7-6

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

Did that title catch your attention? No time to sugarcoat it tonight; oh no. I won’t spoil the fun by telling you what happened here; you need to read the meat and potatoes of the post.

What’s with all the back-to-backs, am I right? After a back-to-back against Chicago Monday and St. Louis Tuesday, the Predators received an extended break for the new year before heading West to take on the LA Kings this afternoon. Of course, tomorrow Nashville hops a block or two tomorrow to take on the Anaheim Ducks. Fun times
(Note: I wrote this paragraph before the meltdown).

SCRATCHES: James Neal (lower-body injury), Victor Bartley, and Miikka Salomaki (sorry, kid).

First Period:

  • The Kings wasted no time lighting the lamp as Matt Greene sent a slapshot past Pekka Rinne just 32 seconds into the game.
  • Mike Fisher quickly tied it up at 4:54 with a wrister past Jonathan Quick; his fifth goal of the season. Roman Josi (18) and Shea Weber (18) tallied the assists.
  • Not even two minutes later, Colin Wilson would collect the deflected goal off of Matt Greene’s stick; his eleventh of the season. Viktor Stalberg collected his first assist of the season on Wilson’s deflection.
  • Noteworthy: With eleven goals, Colin Wilson now has as many goals this season as he did all of last season.
  • Birthday Boy, Ryan Ellis would tally his fourth goal of the season on the powerplay at 9:43 with a speedy slapshot past Quick. Mike Ribeiro (22) and Seth Jones (8) picked up the assists.
  • After Ellis’s powerplay goal, Jonathan Quick was “quickly” pulled and replaced by backup Martin Jones.

Second Period:

  • Replacing Quick didn’t help at the beginning of the second period, as Mattias Ekholm collected his second goal of the season at 2:16. Craig Smith (10) and Ryan Ellis (11) nab the assists on Ekholm’s goal.
  • Nashville would continue pounding the Kings just a minute later, as newcomer Mart Arcobello picked up his first goal as a Predator at 3:57; his eighth of the season. Colin Wilson (11) and Paul Gaustad (8) are awarded the assists.
  • The Kings would not stay down for long, as Alec Martinez flipped a wrister past Rinne to put LA within three.
  • Dwight King would finish up the second period with another Los Angeles goal, a tip-in assisted by Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar.

Third Period:

  • Olli Jokinen nailed his third goal of the season at 8:38 with a wrist shot past Jones, giving Nashville a 6-3 lead. Gabriel Bourque – who’s been awfully quiet – picks up his fourth assist along with Paul Gaustad (8).
  • Dwight King picked up his second of the night at 17:59 with some assistance from Jake Muzzin.
  • Alec Martinez managed to bring it within one, his fifth goal of the season.
  • …And then Jeff Carter ties it at six at 19:26…

    All Predators fans can relate.

    OVERTIME:

  • Noteworthy: The Predators were up 6-3 with two minutes left in the game. SIX-TO-THREE. Why are we having flashbacks to Monday against Chicago? WHY?
  • Thankfully, it only took Roman Josi (6) eighteen seconds into overtime to seal the win in favor of Nashville. Filip Forsberg (22) and Mike Ribeiro (23) collect the game-winning assists.
  • Noteworthy: With this overtime assist, Filip Forsberg is now one point away from tying Alexander Radulov’s franchise rookie record.

The Predators nab their first win of 2015 – though they tried to give it to Los Angeles – to give themselves a record of 25-9-3, but – as I write a lot – there’s not time for rest. Nashville has a bout with the leader of the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow night at 7PM. The Ducks rest just four points ahead of Nashville in the Western Conference, so it’s easy for me to say that a win in regulation tomorrow night would be splendid indeed. …And less stress on my heart, thanks.

Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 7.07.01 PM

Okay, so heart attack relief comes in the form of the Central Division Standings.

Preds fall to Hawks 3-1; Time to Rest Rinne?

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Nashville hasn’t lost a home game since being pummeled 3-0 by the Penguins on October 25th, but another one was bound to happen sooner than later. Unfortunately for Preds fans, it came at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. What could add insult to injury is the fact that Chicago played the Montreal Canadiens last night at home, which usually puts said team at a disadvantage compared to a team [Nashville] who has a day to rest. Leave it to Chicago to bypass that hindrance and jump the Predators in the Central Division standings. You read that correctly:
Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 8.49.31 PMLooking at the glass-half-full, this loss wasn’t as devastating (stats wise) as it might feel; especially if you have to listen to belligerent Hawks “fans” as you leave the arena tonight. Though Nashville was only given two powerplay chances and managed to detour Chicago’s four chances, those were still two advantages the Predators failed to capitalize on that could’ve changed the game. However, the Blackhawks do currently hold the best penalty kill in the league, but that’s no excuse. The Predators are now 1-for-45 on powerplay goals at home this season; 28th in league just above the Wild and the Sabres. It is a weakness in advantage that is slowly catching up to the Predators as they push forward into the season.

Another factor to look at is impact on Pekka Rinne. Though there is no way you’d rest him while playing divisional opponents, when is the man going to get a break? Rinne has appeared in the 23 games thus far, whereas Carter Hutton has only seen three games worth of ice time. Yes, Pekka has been the much needed asset for securing many of Nashville’s 17 wins, but it may be time to give the Finnish Phenom a rest or two. Perhaps that will be the case for Tuesday’s game against Colorado; though a Central Division opponent, they sit four rankings below the Predators in sixth. However, ranking position means nothing if you’re goaltender isn’t on point, but Hutton has had enough rest and might want to stretch his legs. Truly, the only other time Pekka might legitimately get a break is on the 22nd when Nashville goes into Columbus. Yes, Pekka Rinne has saved many a butt and missing him from the net is definitely a risk (See last season), but starting him every single game is also a risk. You may play your best golf with your 9-iron, but eventually you’ll need your putter.

Kudos to Colin Wilson tonight for not allowing the Blackhawks to celebrate a goose egg tonight. His wrister past former Mississippi RiverKings (and Milwaukee Admirals, yea) goaltender, Scott Darling was his sixth for the season; assisted by Victor Bartley (1) and Mike Fisher (2). If you are stuck on the Mississippi RiverKings mention, that’s because it’s a Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) team and he is the first of said league to make it to the NHL. Jumping around that stat, Colin Wilson is certainly on his way to having one of the best seasons of his career. I mean, this kid went from constantly being tossed into Trotzy’s Doghouse to actually getting ice time to find his comfort zone. He has put up great numbers in the past, but I am foreseeing a much better performance from the 25-year-old under Laviolette’s system for sure.

Welp, don’t get too down, Preds fans; it’s Saturday night and, just remember: the Predators are doing 100x better than the Titans and shhh! Hockey’s not supposed to do better than football!