Wild shutout Preds 2-0

Photo courtesy: Getty Images

It was the Nashville Rinnes tonight as the Predators finished up their road trip in St. Paul against the Minnesota Wild. What do I mean by the “Nashville Rinnes”? Well, by the outcome of the game, if it hadn’t been for Pekka, we’re pretty sure the Wild would’ve ended the game 29-o.
Now, we aren’t ones to put down the team, but it was clear the Predators were exhausted. They did not come out with the enthusiasm that they had against the Habs or the Jets. Pekka was on top of his game, as usual, so thankful we are for an amazing goaltender. Here are the minuscule highlights (for Nashville, anyways) from tonight:

First Period:
No goals, but plenty of tiffs. Five penalties overall, with Nashville taking three of those. Rich Clune, in his first game back in a while, dropped the gloves with Zenon Konopka at 2:07.

Second Period:
Late in the second, Minnesota would finally slip one around Pekka Rinne with a wrister from Justin Fontaine at 18:53.
Minnesota would end the second period leading Nashville, not only in goals, but in shots on goal with eleven to six.

Third Period:
Pekka would continue to battle against an aggressive Wild team, only to be pulled for the extra man late in the game. Unfortunately for Nashville, Jason Pominville would collect an empty-netter for the game-winning goal at 19:35.

Exhausted and with no heads in the game, Nashville stood no chance against a win-hungry Minnesota Wild. However, Nashville returns home Thursday to take on a recent opponent, the Winnipeg Jets. After the outstanding win Saturday, will the Predators know which buttons to push on the Jets?

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Predators notch first Win, Beat Wild 3-2

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The Predators made their way back to the familiarity of Bridgestone Arena Tuesday night, welcoming in the Minnesota Wild for their season home opener. The Wild, who were 0-0-2 coming into the game, had a slightly better – and we mean slightly – chance compared to Nashville’s 0-2-0 record. But there’s just something about the home crowd that instills some confidence and Nashville definitely exuded the offering. Here are some of the highlights from Tuesday’s game:

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Leave it to Zach Parise to take the first strike, notching a tip-in past Pekka Rinne at 4:05 on the powerplay, brought on due to Seth Jones hi-sticking Mikko Koivu. Koivu and Ryan Suter picked up the assists.
  • Youngster Filip Forsberg would retaliate at 5:07 with a powerplay goal of his own, sending a snapshot past Backstrom. Forsberg showed some rare emotion after his goal, understandably so considering it was his first career NHL goal. Patric Hornqvist picked up his second assist and rookie Seth Jones notched an assist; his first NHL career point.
  • Less than 40 seconds later, Colin Wilson would capitalize on the powerplay with a wrister at 5:46. Matt Cullen (1) and Mike Fisher (2) picked up the assists on Wilson’s first goal of the season.
  • Eric Nystrom would be awarded a penalty shot at 11:14 after being slashed by Keith Ballard from behind. After slamming into the goal, Nystrom actually injured goalie Niklas Backstrom, who left the game just before Nystrom’s penalty shot. Nystrom, who played with the Wild during the 2010-11 season, knew just where to send the puck around backup goalie, Josh Harding. Nailing the shot, the Preds then lead the Wild 3-1.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • The Wild would attempt to gain control at 7:26 with a powerplay wrister from Jared Spurgeon. Despite six penalties, Spurgeon was the only player to capitalize on said penalties in the second period.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • No goals were gained in the third, but there were a few penalties to be had.
  • Zach Parise was called for holding against Patric Hornqvist, who in turn was called for embellishment (diving) on the penalty. Personally, we don’t believe you can call both at the same time, but you can’t reverse the call and it didn’t hurt Nashville any.

With their first win of the season under their belt, Nashville gained some much needed confidence and morale. Not that the Predators are deemed unworthy of a decent season, they are still technically in a rebuilding stage. Shea Weber just hasn’t found his paired connection since Suter left for the North, despite he and Josi doing well together. However, with Roman out with a concussion, he has now been paired with the youngster that is Seth Jones. We’ll be honest; the pairing looks good, but it needs some work. But we all know that, in order to be the best, you have to work towards greatness. There are no shortcuts.

The Predators welcome the 3-1-0 Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night to Smashville. This will be only the fifth time Toronto has played in Nashville and Jonathan Bernier has his eyes set on continuing his outstanding record against the Preds.

Jonathon Blum to Minnesota?

Bye, bye Blummer?

Is Jonathon Blum headed North? Well, those are the rumors swirling this afternoon as the young defenseman who has been with Nashville his entire career begins seeking ice time elsewhere.

Blum has been iffy for Nashville, bouncing between the Predators and the Admirals in Milwaukee since being drafted by Nashville in the 2007 NHL Draft. There’s no surprise as to why Nashville did not extend an offer to Blum; he struggled while younger, thirstier players took charge, tossing Blum in the funk he eventually settled in. With only one goal and six assists in the 2012-13 season, Blum’s future amongst the rising defensemen in Nashville looked bleak.

But don’t count him out just yet. Although he has struggled with the Preds, Blum isn’t a terrible, get-out-of-the-NHL defenseman. Similiar to Halischuk, Jonathon Blum is a diamond in the rough that, unfortunately, just couldn’t quite shine here in the Music City.

The rumors state Blum is expected to sign a contract with the Minnesota Wild as early as tomorrow, but other teams, including the Flyers, have shown interest in him, as well. No matter who Blum chooses to sign with eventually, that said team will get a bargain and a potential goal-scorer. We suspect Blum will do well elsewhere, we are just disappointed it wasn’t here in Nashville.

We will let you know as soon as we hear word as to where Jonathon Blum eventually signs.

UPDATE:
As we expected, Jonathon Blum signed a one-year, two-way contract this morning with the Minnesota Wild. Like Halischuk, you will still get your Blummer fix. The Wild are in the same conference as the Nashville Predators.

Good luck, Blum!

Seth Jones signs first Pro Contract

Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Well, he fell to fourth in the draft, so did you honestly think Nashville would not sign the 18-year-old star defenseman? Of course not! At 12pm on the dot today, Seth Jones and the Preds sat down to confirm his commitment in writing with a three-year, entry-level contract. The base salary of the contract is $925,000, with maximum rookie contract signing bonuses giving him a salary cap number of $3.225 million. We assume that Jay-Z (his agent) approved of this, though there was no word of his attendance this afternoon.

Jones will be donning the No. 3, which has displaced a few Wade Belak fans. Though he was close to many hearts in Nashville and the NHL abroad, Belak had retired before he passed and Nashville did not retire his number nor have the discussion with the public as to whether it should be. Minnesota’s newest signee from Pittsburgh, Matt Cooke, actually contacted Derek Boogaard’s parents in regards to wearing the late enforcer’s number 24 who died just two months before Belak. Are we saying Jones should contact Belak’s late wife and ask permission to wear a number he’s always worn and just so happens to be associated with a lost enforcer? No, not at all. It is not his duty to do so and we are betting Jones’ has no idea that he’s stepping into a number held by greatness.

Again, no surprise that Nashville was quick to have Jones commit to the organization and put him in a jersey. Per some, the look on David Poile’s face was sheer joy as Jones signed his contract. We can’t blame him. Jones will be huge.

A Shutout leads to a Shootout in Nashville: Oilers & Wild Recap

Rich Clune takes on Mike Brown, while SK74 tries to derail Ryan Suter.

Rich Clune takes on Mike Brown, while SK74 tries to derail Ryan Suter.

After being completely manhandled by the L.A. Kings on Monday, the Predators took a much needed four-day rest, hoping to regenerate some sort of game plan to make it through the rest of the season. The Predators have proven they do slightly better at home this season, but back-to-back games? Let’s highlight the recaps of both games against the Edmonton Oilers and the Minnesota Wild:

FRIDAY – EDMONTON OILERS

  • Patric Hornqvist picked up his first goal since returning from the IR, sending a wrist shot past Devan Dubnyk at 6:07. Colin Wilson picked up his 11th assist and Mike Fisher picked up his 5th assist.
  • Rich Clune and Mike Brown dropped gloves shortly after Hornqvist’s goal. Here is the video of the punch fest:
  • David Legwand would end the 1st period 2-0 with a strange wrist shot from the centerline that Dubnyk just didn’t seem to know what to do with. Legwand was first noted as unassisted on his fourth goal, but Colin Wilson was awarded his 12th assist on the goal. Here’s the video of this head shaking goal:
  • At 51 seconds into the second period, Rich Clune picked up his second NHL career goal, assisted by Paul Gaustad (3rd assist) and Sergei Kostitsyn (8th assist). Made up for that five for fighting, right?
  • One of the new B’s (all three actually were in the lineup as expected), Zach Boychuk made his presence known at 18:22 with his first goal of the season and first as part of the Nashville organization. His tip-in goal was assisted by Shea Weber (7th assist) and Martin Erat (10th assist).
  • Colin Wilson would lead the Predators up 5-0 at 4:43 into the 3rd with a backhander for his sixth goal of the season. Mike Fisher picked up his sixth assist along with Shea Weber picking up his 8th assist.
  • Colin would then again nab his second goal of the night at 16:39 on the powerplay, his seventh overall. Shea Weber would collect his ninth assist, along with Craig Smith obtaining his third assist. This was Wilson’s first career 4-point game.
  • Although Nashville put a pounding on  their first meeting with Edmonton, the Oilers ultimately sent Patric Hornqvist back out of the lineup. Suffering from an upper body injury, Hornqvist missed ice time against the Minnesota Wild and will be out against Dallas for tomorrow’s game.

SATURDAY – MINNESOTA WILD

  • Ouch. Although they were shown for the likes of Steve Sullivan and Jordin Tootoo, Ryan Suter did not receive a tribute video for his contributions while with the Predators. As you heard from the video above, Nashville hadn’t forgotten Suter’s “sneaky” ways around signing with the Minnesota Wild. A video was indeed made, but after the reaction the fans would give every time Suter hit the ice, the video was canned.
  • Minnesota would strike first at 9:01 in the second with a powerplay goal by Zach Parise for his ninth goal of the season. Ryan Suter would pick up his 15th assist along with Mikko Koivu (15th assist).
  • David Legwand would tie the game at 6:28 in the third period, his fifth of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn would collect his ninth assist and Shea Weber would collect his 10th assist.

SHOOTOUT:

MINNESOTA – Zach Parise – MISS
NASHVILLE – Gabriel Bourque – MISS
MINNESOTA – Mikko Koivu – GOAL
NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – GOAL
MINNESOTA – Matt Cullen – GOAL
NASHVILLE – David Legwand – MISS

  • Though not exactly the 6-0 shutout from the night before, Nashville still managed to grab a point instead being demolished by Parise and Suter. However, Colin Wilson did leave the game with an upper body injury, similar to Hornqvist’s the night before.

Nashville is currently sitting in fourth in the Central Division, with Columbus just two points behind (26, 24). However, the are sitting in an ugly 11th in the Western Conference, tied with Dallas at 10th and just two points behind St. Louis who sits in 8th. While we are at it, let’s just go ahead and tell you were Nashville sits league-wise: 20th. With less than a month left in the regular season, Nashville will have to make some major adjustments, which (in a way) they have with the Three B’s, if they want to see an extended season. Or, maybe they are just ready for an early golf season?

UPDATES:

  • Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson have now been placed on the IR, which means they will both at least be out for a week. Brandon Yip, on the other hand, has made his way off the IR, practicing with the team this morning. Hal Gill is on the mend, but is still day-to-day.
  • Matt Halischuk has returned to Nashville early, due in part to both Colin and Patric’s injuries. Though we don’t believe he was on the same track initially as Brian McGrattan, Colin and Patric’s injuries may have bought Halischuk some time. Who knows. We could be completely wrong. There is still much to be seen with the Nashville Predators.

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?

Controversial Call Leads to Demise in Minnesota

There’s a reason Gaustad is a bit irate.

The Predators have already had their way with Minnesota once this year, reminding Ryan Suter of the team he abandoned back in the off-season to “be closer to home”. With a shutout victory of defending Stanley Cup champs the L.A. Kings on Thursday, Nashville was still riding high as they flew into St. Paul to face the menacing Wild. However, tonight would prove much more difficult than the last time they visited, with controversy to follow suite.

KEY POINTS:

  • The seven d-man assault left Matt Halischuk on the scratched list, along with Brian McGrattan. Similar to the first encounter with Minnesota, Chris Mason was called up to man the net.
  • Paul Gaustad would be the leading man of the night, notching his first goal of the season at 10:11 in the first period with a wrister past Backstrom. Craig Smith would pick up his first assist of the season as well.
  • As usual, the Predators were out-shot in the first period, this time 10 to 6 by the Minnesota Wild.
  • The second period would prove a bit more physical for the Predators, with the Wild hammering down at all costs. After immense pressure on net, the Cal Clutterbuck collected a tip-in goal from Ryan Suter to tie the game at one.
  • The Predators would not retain a goal after Clutterbuck’s, nor would the Wild, thus sending the game into an all-too-familiar scenario. However, this is where the controversy comes into play. Apparently, there is a new face-off rule and Mr. Paul Gaustad did not abide to those new standards… Here’s Rule 76.4:

“Both players facing-off are prohibited from batting the puck withtheir hand in an attempt to win the face-off. Any attempt by either center to win the face-off by batting the puck with their hand shallresult in a minor penalty. This penalty shall be announced as ” Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation”. The two players involved in the actual face-off (the centers) are not permitted to play the puck with their hand without incurring a penalty under this ruleuntil such time as a third player (from either team) has at least touched the puck. Once the face-off is deemed complete (and a winner of the face-off is clear) hand passes shall be enforced as per Rule 79.”

Slow motion for me, move in slow motion for me.

…And here’s a .gif of what Gaustad did wrong:
Did you catch Gaustad’s mistake? No? As you watch the animation above, note that Gaustad’s hand grazes the puck as he and Granlund battle it out. Although it is clear Gaustad is not “batting the puck away to win the faceoff”, that is what the referee apparently thought, as this was probably his first encounter with this new rule at hand. The Wild would inevitably score on Gaustad’s penalty, sealing the win in favor of Minnesota in OT.

But was it really a bad call on the ref’s behalf that crushed the Predators? Though it wasn’t very helpful, this new rule did not solely cause certain doom for the Predators last night. A double minor on Devin Setoguchi in the third period, giving the Predators a four-minute powerplay, could’ve prevented this whole “Rule 76.4” mess in the first place, had the Predators worked together to nab a goal. Now, the Predators did outshoot the Wild twelve to eight in the third, but Nashville had plenty of opportunities to throw this one in the bag, but just couldn’t seem to get it together long enough to capitalize on their attempts.

The Predators will have to shake this one off quick, as they return tonight to face the ever welcoming Chicago Blackhawks, their first meeting of the season tonight at Bridgestone Arena.

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

Third Time’s the Charm; Preds grasp 3-1 Win over Wild

Nick Spaling capitalizes in Minnesota

FINALLY! A POST WITHOUT EXPLAINABLE EXCUSES! Ahh, just kidding; the Preds didn’t do that bad during the last two games, but how refreshing it is to write the first winning post of the season! And against the power couple that is Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, no doubt!

The Predators started out a bit iffy tonight, similar to last night’s start with the Wild showing the upper-hand. Showing no fatigue from last night’s shootout loss to the Blues and the late night plane ride, the Preds kept par with Minnesota, inevitably holding strong for the win. Here are the highlights from tonight’s first win of the season:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad traveled to Minnesota with the team and even took to the ice during practice this morning. However, his upper-body injury is still on the mend, so he, Jonathon Blum, and Brian McGrattan were your three scratches for the night.
  • Gabriel Bourque, who played a substantial role during last year’s playoffs, boarded a plane from Milwaukee at 7AM this morning to join the team in St. Paul. Bourque did not originally join the team at the end of the lockout due to an injury, healing while with the Admirals.
  • Chris Mason was given his chance to hit the ice for the Predators once again since 2008, getting the nod as starting goalie against Niklas Backstrom. Pekka Rinne, after a rough two games at home, took a needed break, although many were weary of Mason’s preparation against a 2-0 opponent.
  • Minnesota started out on the feisty side, keeping the action centered around Mason and the Predators’ zone. At 6:02, Dany Heatley knocked one past Mason, his third goal of the season.
  • The Wild’s early strike stirred the pot for the Predators, waking them up near the end of the first period with a wrist shot at 16:31 from Nick Spaling, his first goal of the season, to tie the game. Kevin Klein and Brandon Yip both picked up their first assists of the season.
  • The second period remained quiet on the goal front, but not on the defensive and offensive front. The Predators put up more shots on goal during the second (10 to Minnesota’s 7), and Chris Mason made some key and valuable saves to avoid sending the Wild into the lead.
  • The majority of the third period had most Predators fans wondering if they were going to see yet another shootout (three in a row?!), with both sides taking an even amount of eleven shots on goal during the period. However, Martin Erat nailed the magic backhand past a misplaced Backstrom to put the Predators up 2-1 for his second goal of the season at 11:45. Unassisted, we might add.
  • The Wild would pull Backstrom to give them an extra hand, but a last minute slashing penalty on Pierre-Marc Bouchard ended up backfiring on the Wild, giving the Predators the upper-hand and David Legwand’s first goal of the season at 19:43 on the powerplay. His snapshot was assisted by Nick Spaling.

The game was full of penalty action, both on the Predators and the Wild. Thankfully for the Predators, none of their penalties had a reprocution of a goal in favor of the Wild, but the latter can be said for Minnesota. Here are your Predators that wanted some alone time in tonight’s game:

  1. Rich Clune – 1st Period, 2:18 – Fighting
  2. Nick Spaling – 1st Period, 12:16 – Tripping
  3. Patric Hornqvist – 1st Period, 19:55 – Roughing
  4. Shea Weber – 2nd Period, 4:03 – Interference
  5. Brandon Yip – 2nd Period, 19:17 – Roughing
  6. Patric Hornqvist – 3rd Period, 9:47 – Goaltender Interference

The Zach Parise/Ryan Suter pairing have proven to be a power couple in just two games, but it was proven tonight that they are flawed and are not invincible. Though Roman Josi and Shea Weber have not meshed as well as Suter/Weber once did, the season is still young and, though it is a shortened season, the Josi/Weber pairing has time (not too long) to mesh and maybe, just maybe, we’ll forget all about that “Ryan Suter” character.

Let us not forget backup goaltender, Chris Mason. The Wild were brutal on net when they were in the crease, giving both the Preds defense and Mason a run for his money for not being a lanky, 6’7″ Finnish phenom. Mason blocked 28 of 29 shots on goal; though you can argue Peks has stopped many more than that while balancing on his right pinkie, Mason revived a few reluctant fans (and analysts) who just weren’t sure about how he could stack up to both Pekka and former backup goalie, Anders Lindback. After tonight’s performance, it looks like Chris Mason has measured up and surpassed even our critiques.

The Predators are off tomorrow night, but face the Blues in St. Louis on Thursday night. After tonight’s reviving win, will the Predators take that momentum across the West?

Until then,
GO PREDS!

Predators find Weakness in Shootouts, Fall to Blues 4-3

Predators notched a few more goals, but was it enough?

We’d like to start out with an explainable excuse as to why the Predators fell short tonight against the Blues, but unfortunately, rust and adjustments just can’t quite get them by tonight. The first period started out slow and steady for the Predators, then rocket-powered during the second. The momentum seemed to fizzle during the third, and completely dissipate during overtime. With the team heading straight to Minnesota tonight, are the Predators ready to take on this hectic, fast-paced season? Here’s the rundown of tonight’s head-shaker:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad was scratched tonight due to an upper body injury sustained in Saturday’s game. Rich Clune took to the ice for his first time in a Preds’ sweater to replace the injured Goose. Jonathon Blum was the second scratch of the night, with Victor Bartley being sent back down to Milwaukee.
  •  As mentioned before, the first period seemed a little bit of a “slow go” for the Predators, with the Blues taking control early. However, the Predators picked up the pace, with Colin Wilson striking gold first, sinking the puck passed Jaroslav Halak at 9:10. Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Ellis both picked up their first assists for the season on Colin’s goal.
  • Before Predators fans could finish celebrating, the Blues responded with a goal of their own at 10:28 with a goal from Vladimir Tarasenko, his third goal of the season.
  • The Blues would take the lead at 15:04 with a powerplay goal from Andy McDonald for his first goal of the season.
  • Mike Fisher would quickly tie the game once again at 17:13 on a powerplay goal of his own, his first goal of the season. Martin Erat would pick up his first assist of the season, along with Patric Hornqvist who picked up his third. 
  • After notching his third assist, Patric Hornqvist felt it was time to seal a goal of his own, slipping one past Halak at 12:53 on the powerplay. Martin Erat would pick up his second assist, along with Mike Fisher picking up his first assist.
  • It seemed as if the Predators would keep the Blues at bay during the third period, but alas, Alex Pietrangelo would notch one at 12:10 past Pekka Rinne to tie the game.
  • Overtime saw no goals, though the puck stayed in the Predators’ zone if not all of the five minutes, making it look as if the Blues were on a permanent powerplay. Thus, to the shootout they went:

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

  • NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – SAVE
  • ST. LOUIS – T.J. Oshie – GOAL
  • NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
  • ST. LOUIS – Alexander Steen – GOAL

PENALTY SUMMARY:

The Blues spent more time in the penalty box than the Predators did (Predators only landed in the box during the first period), but the Preds only had one more powerplay goal than St. Louis. Here’s the penalty box rundown:

  • Rich Clune – 1st Period, 4:55 – Boarding
  • David Legwand – 1st Period, 13:32 – Hooking
  • Shea Weber – 1st Period, 17:37 – Interference
  • Hal Gill – 1st Period, 19:58 – Roughing

The Predators have no time to recuperate or collect themselves before the next game, as they should be on a plane headed to Minnesota to face the oh-so-wonderful Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Though not completely run over by the Blues like the Red Wings were on Saturday, the Predators still have more work to do if they want to compete in this short, fast-paced season. Offense is definitely a must, but that goes with a grain of salt. If the Predators do not collect themselves fast, they’ll be sitting on the shelf before they can even catch their breath.

The Predators will be in Minnesota tomorrow to face you-know-who and the Wild at 7PM. You won’t see the Preds back in Nashville until February 7th, so prepare yourselves for TV screaming time, thanks to the circus coming to town (yay!).

So what attitude will the Predators take on this seven-game road trip? We are hoping offensive, physical and mental toughness, along with plenty of shots-on-goal. We’d appreciate plenty of road Frosties.

Until tomorrow,
GO PREDS