Going in to the third period with a 2-1 lead over the Vancouver Canucks, the Predators needed to keep playing the way they had played through two periods: keep pressuring the Canucks in the zone and play solid defense. Unfortunately, the Predators did neither in the third period and dropped a 4-2 decision.
Alexander Edler gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead as he was alone in the low slot and fired a puck over the shoulder of goalie Pekka Rinne.The Predators defense, minus Shea Weber for this game, lost track of Edler, and Ryan Kessler found him alone in the slot for a shot on which Rinne had no chance to stop.
The Predators answered with a Jason Arnott goal as his shot bounced off Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo, who then knocked the puck into his goal with the knob of his stick. The score would remain tied at the end of one period of play.
Jordin Tootoo gave the Predators their first lead of the game as he roared in on Luongo and sent a heavy shot at the Canuck netminder. Luongo made the initial stop, but the puck bounced back to Tootoo, who was continuing to the net. He was able to get his stick on the puck and arced a shot over the shoulder of Luongo for his 6th goal of the season. There was no further scoring in the period, as the Predators did a good job of controlling the neutral zone and kept pressure on the Canucks, thwarting their potent offense.
With 10 minutes gone the third, Pekka Rinne gave up a soft goal to Mikael Samuelson. Samuelson sent an unscreened slapshot from the half board toward the goal. Rinne got a piece of it with his arm, but not enough to stop the puck from finding the top shelf. This goal would prove to be the momentum changer as the Predators looked disjointed after the tying tally.
Jannik Hansen would score the go ahead goal on a breakaway as J.P. Dumont and Dennis Grebeshkov collided and fell down at the Canucks blue line. Hansen was streaking out of the zone and Kyle Wellwood found him with a beautiful stretch pass. He broke in alone on Rinne, who made a great stop on the initial shot. The puck was lying in the crease and Rinne could not find it before Hansen swatted the puck into an open net.
Henrik Sedin would add an empty netter with four seconds remaining for the final margin.
The Predators have now dropped two straight games and have seen their five point margin over eighth place Detroit dwindle to one point. The Predators head out on the road for a four game trip that begins in Atlanta, and it is time for the team to regroup..
This is a painful loss for the Predators as they gave away a game they should have won. As painful as this game is, the team has to get back to playing Predator hockey and securing wins.
Alex Burrows is a certified piece of fecal matter. Early in the game, he left his feet to take a shot at the head of Dan Hamhuis. Both players dropped the gloves and each was assessed a fighting major. Burrows has a history of leaving his feet to take shots at other players heads, and the league should review his actions. Burrows says he likes to play with an edge. There is, however, a not so fine line between playing with an edge and taking cheap shots. Burrows consistently crosses that line and is a consummate cheap shot artist.
The Predators are now in a serious dogfight for playoff position. Their backs are against the wall with 18 games to play.
You have a choice to make now, boys.
You can play the remaining 18 games with fire, grit, and passion and secure your playoff spot.
Or you can fold your tent, pee on the fire, and call the dogs home. The choice is yours.
I would hope that you will respond to the fact that you gave a way two points. I hope that you respond to the challenge that is in front of you. I hope that you have the heart to seize the opportunity that awaits.
No more giving away games. You are better than that. No more wilting under pressure.
Time to man up and take the opportunity that is before you.