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The Predators have been back and forth lately, with a 4-0 shutout win against the Blue Jackets Wednesday, to a 3-0 shutout loss to the Oilers on Thursday. So, with the Flyers coming into town after their win against Winnipeg on Friday night, maybe the back and forth would continue with a win for the pesky Preds, right? Philadelphia’s record is pretty close to Nashville’s, 11-12-2 to the Predators’ 13-11-2 so honestly, it was either team’s game… except that Nashville was missing Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, Filip Forsberg and Pekka Rinne.
- Shea Weber took a puck to the face on Thursday night against Edmonton, ruling his injury day-to-day. Kevin Klein sustained a lower-body injury at some point, placing him on the scratched list also. And little Filip Forsberg, who’s injury at first was considered minor, was placed on the Injured Reserve and Joe Piskula was recalled from Milwaukee.
- Not all was bad news, as Patric Hornqvist made his return to the lineup after sitting out a few games with an injury.
- The Flyers stepped to the plate first, with a clean slapshot from Captain Claude Giroux at 16:49.
- Mike Fisher would give Flyers fans just one minute to celebrate before tying the game at 1 with a snap shot setup from Patric Hornqvist at 17:49. Fisher’s goal was his 6th overall and Hornqvist’s 8th assist overall.
- The Predators were given two powerplay opportunities in the first period, but failed to collect on either one. Philly was unable to capitalize on their one powerplay opportunity.
- No goals were collected in the second period, but Nashville once again outshot the Flyers, this time 11 to 8.
- The Predators again had prime powerplay opportunities, but failed on all three once again.
- Colin Wilson would put the Predators up by one in at 5:05 in the 3rd period for his 4th goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (7th assist) and Ryan Ellis (7th assist) assisted on #33′s goal.
- Sean Couturier would breakthrough for Philadelphia at 13:06 with a slick snap shot, tying the game at two a piece.
- Nashville would outshoot Philadelphia 9 to 4.
No goals would amount in OT, so Marek Mazanec would get his first NHL career shot at a Shootout. Craig Smith, Matt Hendricks & Matt Cullen would all miss their shots at Steve Mason, but it would be Vincent Lecavalier’s sole goal to seal the game in favor of the Flyers.
So with Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, Filip Forsberg & Pekka Rinne out, who will rise up and shine for the Predators? Though Kevin Klein shouldn’t be out for too long, it looks like Forsberg and Weber may be (we already know about Rinne’s outlook). Somewhere the Predators will need for someone to rise up is on the powerplay. Although Nashville has always struggled in that area, last night’s performance was hard to watch.
Nashville has two more games at home before heading East to see Joel Ward, Mike Latta and, maybe, Martin Erat in Washington D.C. Until then, the Predators welcome the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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Back-to-back games are rough on any team and after coming off a 17-day road trip, Nashville was no exception. But after losing 4-1 to Pittsburgh and turning right around to take on the 13-2-4 Chicago Blackhawks? But let us not forget the Predators way: When they should win, they lose; When they should lose, they win. Totally makes for great blood pressure, truly. Let’s jump to the highlights:
- Similar to last night, Nashville struck first with a wrister from Matt Cullen at 7:28, his third goal of the season. Craig Smith (6th assist) and Seth Jones (6th assist) would collect the assists.
- Nick Spaling would put the Predators up 2-0 at 8:25 with wrister of his own for his second goal of the season. Craig Smith would notch his second assist of the game (7th overall) and Ryan Ellis would pick up an assist, too (4th overall).
- Nashville would outshoot Chicago 10 to 7, with NHL rookie Marek Mazanec stepping up his game from last night’s punishment.
- The Predators kept the momentum into the second with a Power Play tip-in goal from Patric Hornqvist (6th goal) at 9:02. Roman Josi, who was first awarded the goal, picked up his 2nd assist overall along with Shea Weber (5th overall).
- Craig Smith (4th goal) would give Nashville a substantial 4-0 lead at 18:18 with a backhander past Corey Crawford. Matt Cullen (3rd assist) would pick up the assist.
- Chicago would finally get on the board at 18:44 with a wrister from Patrick Kane, his 11th goal of the season.
- Nashville would keep the Blackhawks at bay with a 4-1 at the end of the 2nd period, though this time, Chicago outshoot the Predators 18 to 13.
- Kudos to Mazanec for blocking 17 of 18 shots during the second period, especially after being pulled after the same period the night before. Amazing what a game at home can do… even if there is way too many mustard jerseys filling said seats.
- Chicago would embrace the second intermission and come out swinging in the third, collecting their second goal at just 6:14 into the second period. Brandon Pirri collected his 5th goal of the season on Chicago’s goal.
- Viktor Stalberg would give his old team a big middle finger just fifteen seconds later with a backhander past Crawford for his second goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (3rd assist) and David Legwand (12th assists) would help collect Nashville’s fifth goal of the night.
- At 12:19, Mike Fisher would pick up his third goal of the season with an assist from Patric Hornqvist (7th assist), putting the home team up 6-2.
- And, at 14:07, Captain Shea Weber sealed the deal with his signature slapshot to put Nashville up 7-2. Roman Josi (3rd assist) and David Legwand (13th assist) setup Weber’s 5th goal of the season.
- Chicago would put the extra pressure on Mazanec in the third period, outshooting Nashville a cool 16 to 7. Again, another shout out to the NHL rookie for blocking 15 of 16 shots on goal. He took a pounding, nonetheless.
- Marek Mazanec, after being pulled after the second period the night before, collected his first NHL win tonight against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The final shot totals: Chicago 41, Nashville 30. So, doing the easy math, Mazanec blocked 39 of 41 shots on goal. Pretty spectacular for a rookie, eh?
Again, the Nashville Predators just have this uncanny way of defeating teams that just aren’t on the radar. Never, never count out the pesky Preds, my friends. Even after the whole ticket debacle, the Bridgestone Arena was still overrun with those awful red jerseys, which was not unexpected; we pissed them off. Maybe with this win, Chicago fans will have some respect when visiting Nashville and maybe, just maybe, take them down a peg or two. Did I personally hear the whole “two Cups in three years” line tonight? Yes, yes I did. As they say, “Scoreboard, son”.
Courtesy: Getty Images
The final stop of the 17-day road trip brought Nashville to 11-7-0 Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night. The tail end of this road trip has been brutal on the Predators, losing twice 5-0 and then scoring only one goal each in two games. Yea, the Predators have seen better days. So, would a trip to the Steel City bring the momentum Nashville so desperately desires? Well, not really.
- Gabriel Bourque got the ball rolling early for Nashville at 2:28 with a tip-in goal with an assist from Kevin Klein’s shot.
- Marek Mazanec was pulled after the second period, allowing two goals in the first period and two in the second. He’d come away blocking 21 of 25 shots, but Carter Hutton would block all eight taken in the third period.
- Eric Nystrom would give the Predators a scare after coming out on the back end of his tussle with Tanner Glass. A little shaken up and sent to the locker room, Nystrom sent out this Tweet after the game:
- Scratches of the Night: Rich Clune, Matt Hendricks & Victor Bartley
Pittsburgh would enviably overpower Nashville 4-1, putting them now at 12-7-0 overall & the Predators 8-9-2. Time to come home, boys! The Predators will welcome the ever-loved Chicago Blackhawks to town Saturday night, then return to the road Tuesday to face the old foe, the Detroit Red Wings.
Image Courtesy: Getty Images
Positive news! Nashville earned their first goal since defeating the Colorado Avalanche two games ago!
Negative news! The Predators lost to the New York Islanders for the first time (in regulation) since April of 2002!
So they lost, but they got a goal in there and didn’t receive their third goose egg in three consecutive games; I’ll take that. It’s not fun to watch your team struggle, especially when they are actually worth a damn… when they want to believe in themselves. I won’t go into the usual list-like rundown, but just the major highlights from Tuesday night’s game:
- Marek Mazanec was given the green light as the starting goalie, his first in the NHL. Though Nashville lost 3-1, Mazanec blocked 24 of 26 shots on goal from the Islanders. For his first shot as a starter, Mazanec shook the nerves and proved his potential.
- Both teams took the same number of shots on goal at the end with thirty-three. Unfortunately, New York was just a little luckier than Nashville.
- David Legwand enjoys elbowing people, as he was called for two penalties within three minutes of each other in the 2nd Period.
- Rich Clune did his usual enforcer act, picking up a major shared with duking partner Matt Martin.
- Patric Hornqvist notched his fifth goal of the season and the only one of the night at 14:30 in the 3rd Period. After his elbowing fix, David Legwand picked up his 11th assist & Shea Weber collected his fourth overall.
So, after 6 games on this 17-day road trip, Nashville now sits at 2-4-0 with Pittsburgh the last stop before welcoming the Blackhawks to town on Saturday. Back-to-back games tend to hurt even the strongest of teams, so here’s a tried & true test for the Predators.
Image Courtesy: Getty Images
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.
Courtesy: Getty Images
After a tough victory in Hollywood, it was off to the Mile High City to take on the 12-1-0 Colorado Avalanche last night. If you were to go by records alone (and were a betting man), you would’ve undoubtedly placed your money on the Avalanche, for Nashville stood at just 7-5-2 coming into last night’s game. But, hockey tends to fly a little differently than other sports and, even with the best record in the league, you could still meet them on a off-night. Is that what the Predators did or are they finally getting a feel for the ice? Was it the altitude? I’d say, it was mixture of the Predators easing together and the Avs having a bad night, simply because Nashville made some horrendous, rookie-esk moves that should have cost them the game. Likewise, they also made some outstanding plays that helped propel them to the 6-4 win over the Avalanche. Very Predator-like, I’d say. Here are the highlights from last night’s game:
- Viktor Stalberg collected his first goal in
gold white at 13:12 with a wrister past Semyon Varlamov. Colin Wilson notched his fifth assist and Mattias Ekholm collected his fourth of the season. Now that he’s finally had his first goal taste, we guesstimate Stalberg will have many more to come.
- P.A. Parenteau wouldn’t wait long to tie the game, sending a wrister of his own past Carter Hutton at 15:23.
- Nashville would end the first period on a high as Craig Smith jumped the lead to 2-1 at 19:04, his fourth goal of the season. Colin Wilson picked up his second assist of the night (6th overall) and Ryan Ellis picked up his 2nd assist overall. A few minutes after Parenteau’s goal, Jamie McGinn sent Seth Jones roughly into the boards, causing Gabriel Bourque to wail on him (understandably). Though not deemed a major, McGinn was given a double minor of Charging and Roughing. Craig Smith would capitalize on the powerplay opportunity.
- Nashville would out-shoot Colorado 10 to 2 in the first period.
- Ryan O’Reilly (y’all remember Cal, right?) would start the second period in favor of Colorado, tying the game at 2.
- Paul Gaustad would essentially “Dikembe Mutombo” with a tip-in (3rd goal) assisted by Filip Forsberg (4th assist). It was, essentially, Forsberg’s goal as he shot it directly at the net and probably would’ve gone in (we won’t say 100%) without the slight tough of Gaustad’s stick. No matter to us, a Predators goal is a good goal.
- Colin Wilson would collect his first goal of the night – third point of the night – at 6:47 for his second goal of the season. Ryan Ellis (3rd assist) and Roman Josi (first assist) would assist on the play.
- Colorado would again pull within one with a wrister from Paul Stastny at 13:37 for his fifth goal of the season.
- The second period would end with Nashville clinging to a 4-3 lead.
- After the clock had winded down to end the second period, Erik Johnson was thrown a 10-minute misconduct for tossing his broken stick into the stands. Although it was deemed unintentional, as he was actually just tossing it behind him to get rid of it, shards did fly into the crowd. And, as the rulebook states, it’s 10 minutes of bench time.
There’s more to the rule, but you can see the jist of it above. Either way, Johnson’s accident gave Nashville the much needed upper-hand going into the third period.
- Matt Duchene would tie the game early in third at 4:23 for his tenth goal of the season.
- Colin Wilson would tally his second goal of the night shortly after at 7:34 with a backhander (3rd goal of the season). Viktor Stalberg would pick up his first assist and David Legwand would notch his 9th overall.
- Gabriel Bourque would collect his first goal of the season with an empty-netter at 19:42 to seal the game in favor of the Predators. David Legwand collected his 10th assist on that one, too.
Defeating a team that has only lost once this season? Yea, I’d say that’s a huge momentum builder if I’ve ever seen one. At least, I hope so. Also, how about Nashville when it comes to powerplay goals? The Predators started out 0-7 but are now 11-45… that’s third in the entire NHL. Muy bueno, y’all. Also, Carter Hutton, though a little shaky here and there, improves to 4-1-1.
So, who’s next? Nashville flies North to Winnipeg – yes, they are playing Winnipeg again – to carry the momentum through that game on Friday.
Image: Getty Images
So, we are all aware of Pekka Rinne’s infection in his surgically-repaired hip, but no one was prepared to hear exactly what type of infection it was.
An Escherichia coli (or E.Coli as it is affectionately called) infection. Yikes.
Though rare, infections in repaired hips are nothing to toy with and can cause serious damage or worse (we won’t go into those details). Luckily, Pekka’s symptoms were caught early and we don’t suspect his team of doctors will let it go unmonitored, so his expected recovery time is 6-8 weeks… just in time for Christmas/New Year’s.
Now, that’s just a rough estimate; his condition could worsen or get better depending on how his body reacts to antibiotics and other methods of recovery, just like any other type of infection. When the infection was intially discovered, Rinne did undergo a hip scope to clean out the infection.
However, do not get your hopes up for a speedy recovery. Just like any other serious infection, no one is going to be pushing Rinne back into the net any time soon, even if he’s the one claiming better health. I suspect we will begin hearing leaks of his recovery around the 6-8 week time frame, but I do not think he’ll be ready until he has been deemed completely back to 100%. No jumping back into the ice ahead of time for this guy!
So, that leaves Carter Hutton to man the goal posts until late December at the minimum. His confidence has me thinking he’ll be fine; a good stand-in until Peks can get back to his former self. When games go South for Nashville, all the blame cannot be bestowed upon Hutton, though he’s an easy target. Hutton’s had some outstanding, heart-stopping saves, but he has also had some blunders that would make kids in the juniors blush. But hey, you live and you learn, right?
The Predators are in Denver tonight to take on the 12-1-0 (yay) Avalanche, a team that defeated Nashville last month in their first meeting of the 2013-14 season. The Avalanche are hot, but Nashville’s known for their pesky determination and have pulled some wins out of nowhere. Let’s do that.
Courtesy: Getty Images
Game 2 of the longest road-trip in Predators history and, after coming up short in Phoenix, Nashville would need to slip around the 9-5-0 L.A. Kings to keep the coal burning. The second meeting between the pair, the Kings visited the Music City back on October 17th and left with a win in a shootout, 2-1. So it was now Nashville’s turn to come into the Kings’ home and steal a victory, yes? Jump on down to the highlights:
- David Legwand, who apparently wants to show who’s boss here lately, collected his third goal of the season at 11:15 on the powerplay. Seth Jones picked up his 5th assist, along with Patric Hornqvist collecting his fourth.
- Shea Weber wouldn’t be quieted for long, scoring his own powerplay goal at 19:06 with Patric Hornqvist notching his fifth assist and Mike Fisher picking up his fifth as well.
- The Kings were going down without a fight first, with Anze Kopitar sinking a wrister past Carter Hutton just 20 seconds after Weber’s goal.
- The Kings would out-shoot Nashville 16 to 9, so give Carter Hutton some credit that only one was able to get passed him.
- Rich Clune, after being scratched numerous times, returned in time to receive a 10-minute misconduct due to fighting and instigating Daniel Carcillo. Don’t get upset if you see Clune scratched again in the near future; it happens when you’re an enforcer.
- Eric Nystrom would being the lone star in the second period with a snap shot past Jonathan Quick at 8:41 for his fourth goal of the season. You want to talk about someone who has shown his worth after being picked up during the off season. Patric Horqnvist would continue his helpfulness with an assist, his sixth of the season and third of the game.
- Mike Fisher left the game during the second period after sustaining a lower-body injury. He did not return for the remainder of the game.
- And here’s where L.A. would come roaring back like the lions they are. Dustin Brown would collect a sneaky tip-in at 9:41 for his third of the season, putting the Kings back by one.
- Mike Richards would then tie the game at 11:18 with a powerplay goal from a Ryan Ellis penalty. At this point, the game looked like a flashback from the Phoenix game.
- At 16:04, David Legwand would swoop in and seal the game in Nashville’s favor with a wrister, his second goal of the night & fourth overall. Mattias Ekholm would pick up the assist (3rd assist).
- In a game similar to the one before it, Nashville slipped out of Hollywood with the win, thanks to David Legwand. Now, we know it takes a team to collect a win, but give a hand to Mr. Legwand; he started the game and ended it.
- The Predators are now off to the Mile High City to take on the Colorado Avalanche for the second time this season. The first match up left the Predators with a loss of 3-1… let’s hope for better this Wednesday.
SCRATCHES FOR NASHVILLE:
Courtesy of Getty Images
The Predators headed out to sunny Arizona for their first of seven away games on this historic 17-day road trip around the league. The Preds and Coyotes have butted heads in recent years, thanks to a meeting between the two in the second round of the playoffs two years ago. This season, however, the Coyotes are sitting just a little higher than Nashville with a 8-3-2 record compared to Nashville’s 6-5-1 going into Halloween’s game. So, how did Nashville fair in the Arizona heat? Check the highlights:
- Matt Hendricks scored his first goal of the season & with the Predators organization nine minutes into the game with a wrister past goalie Thomas Greiss. David Legwand (7th assist) and Mattias Ekholm (2nd assist) would notch the assists.
- Eric Nystrom would put Nashville up 2-0 at 14:12 with a backhander for his third goal of the season. David Legwand would pick up his second assist of the night (8th assist) and Patric Hornqvist would tally his 3rd of the season.
- A late powerplay goal from David Legwand would send the Predators up 3-0 at the end of the first period, Legwand’s second goal of the season. Seth Jones (4th assist) and Shea Weber (3rd assist) would help with the assists.
- The second period would rest solely in the hands of Phoenix, with both goals awarded in their favor.
- Jordan Szwarz would notch his first goal of the season at 2:21 in the second.
- Derek Morris then collected his fourth goal of the season with a slapshot past Carter Hutton at 9:51.
- Phoenix would end the second period down just 2-3.
- Though Nashville had more shots on goal (8), Phoenix was able to connect more with two of their six.
- Paul Gaustad would gain momentum at 4:15 with a wrist shot for his second goal of the season. Nick Spaling would notch his second assist of the season on Gaustad’s goal.
- The Coyotes wouldn’t hang behind too long, with a powerplay goal by Shane Doan at 6:16, putting Phoenix again within one.
- Antoine Vermette would tie the game at 8:17, eventually sending the game into overtime.
- Again, Nashville came out with more shots on goal at 19 to Phoenix’s 10, but the connection was just not in the favor of Nashville during the second and third periods.
- No goals with Phoenix getting four SOG and Nashville just two.
PHOENIX – Mike Ribeiro – MISS
NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – MISS
PHOENIX – Radim Vrbata – MISSNASHVILLE – Matt Cullen – MISS
PHOENIX – Oliver Ekman-Larsson – MISS
NASHVILLE – Mike Fisher – MISS
PHOENIX – David Rundblad – MISS
NASHVILLE – Gabriel Bourque – MISS
PHOENIX – Mikkel Boedker – GOAL
NASHVILLE – David Legwand – MISS
It’s never a good feeling to have control during one period and then completely lose it the next, never regaining it the rest of the game. Nashville puttered out after the first, but at least pulled it into overtime to gain a point than a complete loss. Something to note, Viktor Stalberg made his presence known on the first line, stopping the puck from going into the net during the second period, which could have been costly for Nashville in the end.
SCRATCHES FOR NASHVILLE:
Rich CluneFilip Forsberg