We’ll keep this short: Lots of penalties by both sides, yet it was Nashville’s special teams that ultimately failed in the long run.
– The Jets wasted no time taking the lead at 2:53 with a PPG from Andrew Ladd (5).
– Not even three minutes later, Winnipeg would capitalize on yet another power play, taking the lead 2-0. – Number of penalties: two (both on Nashville – Matt Cullen (interference) and Colin Wilson (hooking)).
– Head Coach Peter Laviolette took a puck to the head late in the first period after Jacob Trouba slung one into the Preds bench. Laviolette stayed glued to the bench until the end of the period, but returned in the second with a fresh set of stitches. Second Period:
– Leave it to Prince Filip to put Nashville on the board at 16:17 for his fourth goal of the season. Shea Weber (2) and Mike Ribeiro (7) picked up the assists.
– Number of penalties: four (three Winnipeg, one Preds – Roman Josi (roughing)).
– Blake Wheeler would seal the deal for Winnipeg with an empty-netter at 18:20.
– Number of penalties: five (three Winnipeg, two Nashville – Mattias Ekholm (holding) and Taylor Beck (spearing)).
Again, needless to say, the special teams has some work to do – it always has, but after tonight’s performance, it cannot be ignored any longer. Teams are quickly figuring out that, if they can get Nashville on the penalty kill, they just about have goal in the bag. Pekka Rinne and Carter Hutton can only do so much on their own.
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:
After a dominating win of 4-1 over the Rangers in New York last Tuesday, the Predators have relocated their proverbial “groove” through the last three games, defeating the likes of new divisional rival, the Dallas Stars 3-1. Before regaining the taste of victory, the Predators had fallen five times in a row, spawning some much needed criticizism from the peanut gallery.
With the win over San Jose (20-6-6) last night, Nashville’s standings are now at 16-14-3, placing the Predators 11th out of 14th in the Western Conference and 6th in the Central Division, just two points ahead of Winnipeg (who is at rockbottom).
Okay, that’s a bit disheartening, isn’t it? Well, how about this: Where would Nashville stand in other divisions and the Eastern Conference? Let’s find out:
If Nashville was in the Metropolitan Division, which consists of Pittsburgh, Washington, Carolina, New Jersey, Columbus, Islanders, Rangers & Philadelphia), the Predators would hold 3rd place over the Carolina Hurricanes. Wishing the Predators were in the Eastern Conference now, huh?
If Nashville was in the Atlantic Division, they would be sitting in 6th out of 8th place, just surpassing the Ottawa Senators by three points. Not nearly as good as the Metropolitan Division, but with two teams sitting behind you instead of one, it subconsciously makes things better, right?
So, overall, where would Nashville stand as of Sunday, December 15th in the Eastern Conference? Carolina would be pushed aside once again and the Predators would snag 8th out of the 16 teams. Significantly better than sitting in 11th of the 14 teams in the West, right?
Well, wishing is wishing and, unfortunately, the Predators cannot hop into the Eastern Conference just because their standings would be better there. Also, a good question is, does that mean the Eastern Conference is weaker than the Western? Eh, not necessarily. Although it is clear by the numbers that Chicago (who leads the Western Conference with 51 points) would overpower the Pittsburgh Penguins (leader of the Eastern Conference with 47 points), hockey is not defined by numbers alone. That is one of the bittersweet joys of the sport of hockey; nothing is written in stone until the final sound of the buzzer. So, even though Nashville’s record would technically be better in the Eastern Conference, things could flip upside down in the matter of the 60 minutes it takes to complete an NHL game.
But, let’s stop looking at the what-ifs and take a look at the right-nows:
The Predators are now 9th in the league when it comes to power plays at 20.0%.
Carter Hutton is now 3-0-0 in the month of December, despite having a relatively awful November.
Carter Hutton has only allowed four goals thus far in the month of December.
Nashville is 13-1-2 when they score the first goal.
Stats from us, what?! Yea, we usually leave those details to the guys with credentials, but sometimes, we like to surprise the masses. But we needed to remind the masses at large that, although Nashville is sitting at the bottom of the Central Division and the Western Conference, not all the stats are bad. So keep that in mind the next time the Predators hit a snag and take a loss. It may not be all rainbows and sunshines, but it sure isn’t grey skies all the time.
Oh, and Kevin Klein got in a fight last night; so did Rich Clune, but we are more impressed by Klein.
There’s no question that Nashville misses Pekka Rinne, but is it really just an absent five-star goalie that is slowly digging the Predators into a deeper hole? Sorry, but it isn’t. As easy as it is to blame Pekka Rinne’s hip infection for the reason Nashville has been imploding, it’s not the whole truth.
There is no reason for me to go over the highlights of the Winnipeg & New Jersey games, due in part there weren’t any highlights (for Nashville, anyway). For a team the Predators skated past twice this season, a trip to Winnipeg was supposed to be a no brainer on this 17-day road trip. And that, my friends, is the kind of thinking that gets you killed; or, in this case, completely and utterly dominated 5-0. You could almost say that’s exactly what the Jets were hoping for when the Predators came strutting into Winnipeg. One possible highlight from that game? Marek Mazanec got his NHL debut after Carter Hutton was pulled after 8:23 of pure torture.
And, after the embarrassing outcome in Winnipeg, Nashville took a second beating in Newark, losing yet another 5-0 matchup. Carter Hutton was again given the go in goal, but just couldn’t keep the Devils from racking up the goals. And don’t think I’m targeting Hutton; oh no. This is not only goalie error, but defensive error, too. The reason Pekka Rinne is known affectionately as “The Eraser” is because he is constantly erasing Nashville’s defensive errors. Pekka just has a knack for picking up where the defense leaves off and poor Hutton just hasn’t mastered that strange ability yet. It’s not that Carter can’t stop goals, he just needs more help from his teammates, who have always slacked just a bit.
So what’s next? The Islanders, who haven’t beaten Nashville in regulation since 2002, are up next on the schedule then one last stop in Pittsburgh against the Penguins. Oh, and let me note that the last stop in Pittsburgh is back-to-back with a visit from the Chicago Blackhawks. No pressure, Preds.
One last thing: Check out this video of Rich Clune’s tussle with Winnipeg’s Adam Pardy. Blood.
The Predators have had some great outcomes thus far this season, but tonight it was finally time to let the Finnish phenom take a break and let the backup try his hand at a full NHL game. Insert: Carter Hutton, the confident backup for Pekka Rinne who has only had one shot at protecting an NHL basket. When was that? First game of the season when Peks was pulled in the first period against the St. Louis Blues. But hey, Pekka’s looking much better now (scared me there for a moment).
So, how did Hutton fair against Matt Halischuk and the Winnipeg Jets? Here are the highlights:
No goals were tallied during the first, but Matt Cullen did collect the only penalty between both teams in the first at 15:58 with a hooking call on Matt Halischuk. Nashville was able to keep Winnipeg at bay, despite the Jets outshooting the Predators 15 to 12.
Ten seconds in, Matt Hendricks would head to the box for a tripping call, giving the Jets an early advantage in the opening of the second period.
Eric Nystrom didn’t mind being down a man, sending a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec for a shorthanded goal just twenty seconds in.
Patric Hornqvist would collect this third goal of the season at 12:07 with an unassisted snapshot.
Matt Cullen would pick up his second goal of the season at 14:17 with assists from Colin Wilson 4th assist) and Craig Smith (5th assist).
Winnipeg would lead Nashville in shots on goal with eleven to seven at the end of the second.
Evander Kane would collect his fifth goal of the season with a tip-in past Hutton, though it was simply a case of “lost puck”.
Carter Hutton and the Preds would hold off the Jets 3-1, despite being outshot in total 26 to 39.
Hutton would inevitably block 38 of those 39 shots; pretty good for his first full NHL game, right?
The NHL take notice of Hutton’s success as proven with this tweet:
The Predators started their mini road trip with the first stop in Montreal against the 5-2-0 Canadiens. Nashville didn’t fair so well against fellow Original Six Canadian team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, so how would they fair against the Habs?
Shea Weber found the net first at 12:31 with a powerplay goal due to a deflection off of Josh Gorges. David Legwand (3rd assist) and Filip Forsberg (2nd assist) picked up the assists on Weber’s wrister.
Eight penalties (three on Nashville, five on Montreal) would be tallied during the first period, with Weber the only one capitalizing on said chances.
Controversy came at 14:15 when Victor Bartley was given a goaltender interference penalty after being blatantly tripped into Carey Price. Luckily, Nashville used its penalty kill well and avoided a goal from the Habs.
Brendan Gallagher would tie the game at 7:02 with a wrister past Pekka Rinne, his fourth goal of the season.
The game would remain tied at 1 at the end of the second period.
Nashville would notch three penalties in the third, giving Montreal almost every possible chance to take the lead as possible, but Nashville’s penalty kill has been on point as of late.
At 18:33, the rookie that was picked 4th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft collected his second goal of the season (and second NHL goal overall) with a clean wrist shot past Carey Price. David Legwand (4th assist) and Colin Wilson (3rd assist) helped setup the puck for Jones’ incredible goal. See video below:
Wowza. Yep. Wowza.
The Predators would keep Montreal at bay until the final buzzer, collecting their first away game win of the season.
The Predators have no time to celebrate, though; it’s off to Winnipeg to take on Matt Halischuk and the Jets, the first meeting of the two new conference rivals this season.
While we were writing the Jonathon Blum post, we completely missed the announcement of now former Nashville Predator, Matt Halischuk signing with the Winnipeg Jets.
Like we mentioned in the Blum post, Halischuk is a diamond in the rough; he has potential, but he had a difficult time finding his niche while with the Preds. The Right Winger signed a one-year, two-way deal with Winnipeg this afternoon, which will pay him $650,000 on the NHL level and $250,000 on the AHL level.
But don’t be sad, Hally-faithfuls. With the new realignment, Halischuk won’t be going very far and you’ll see him more often than not as Winnipeg is sitting pretty in Conference B.
Colin's a pretty popular player, but that isn't enough for Trotz to put him in the lineup.
The Predators post season is quickly rolling upon us, and for Colin Wilson, this post season is starting to look vaguely familiar to last year’s…
Colin Wilson has performed well for the Nashville Predators since being picked 1st (7th overall) in the 2008 NHL Draft, first hitting the ice under the franchise on October 29, 2009. There’s nothing wrong with Wilson’s stats, that’s not what’s keeping his future on the rocks. Although his stats were a little rough his rookie year, after spending a year with Nashville’s farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals, Colin turned his play around, scoring 16 goals last season and claiming 18 assists. Although not nearly as outstanding as say, David Legwand or Martin Erat, Colin’s still a youngster with plenty of room to grow. His stats this season have been very similar, scoring 15 goals as of late and 19 assists.
But as stated before, it’s not Colin’s lack of performance that is holding him back; It’s actually Barry Trotz. As awesome and thankful as we are to have Trotz as head coach, he does have a tendency to try and change players to fit his needs. Colin Wilson is an offensively strong player, but Trotz doesn’t see Wilson in the same light. Although he’s made some game-saving goals this season alone, Trotz and Wilson just have a hard time seeing eye-to-eye. It’s clear they’ve butted heads a few times, including last year’s post season, where Wilson didn’t even see one game during the playoffs. So far, although supposedly suffering from a groin injury, as the regular season draws to a close, it’s looking like last year’s nightmares are coming back to haunt the 22-year-old.
Colin and the Predators signed a three-year, entry-level contract back in 2009 and this summer means Wilson’s a Restricted Free Agent. The temptations of trading Wilson will be high, due to the fact that the Predators could come out on the better end of the deal. Unfortunately, under the right coach, Wilson is capable of scoring 20-25 goals in a season, which would be a wound in Nashville’s side if traded.
Fear not, Wilson fans, the regular season isn’t over yet and Trotzie may have a change of heart and get Colin back in the lineup. Also, the fact that other players are doing so well, such as Gabriel Bourque and Roman Josi, plays a factor in some players taking up the scratched list (i.e. Craig Smith and occasionally Matt Halischuk). With so many healthy, well-performing players, someone has to take a night off.
Only time (and once the post season is over and done) will we know for sure what Colin Wilson’s future with Nashville will amount to. Rumors of Nashville possibly working a trade out with the Winnipeg Jets (Colin’s hometown) have been floating around, but Nashville will take whatever gives them the best outcome, as well.
The Predators finish up the regular season with two games at home on Tuesday and Thursday, and the last game of the season against the Avalanche in Denver. It’s iffy if Colin will make the lineup in these last three games, but stranger things have happened. We hope to be proven wrong, but faith is in Trotzie.