Saturday, November 12, 2011

Predators Party Spoiled by the Habs

The Nashville Predators celebrated their 1,000th game by hosting the Montreal Canadiens at the Bridgestone Arena. Quite an achievement by a franchise that many thought would be relocated just four years ago. There were many festivities leading up to the game, as employees, coaches, and management were honored in pre-game ceremonies. The events leading up to the game created a party like atmosphere.

About that game.

Montreal captured a 2-1 overtime victory.

Party foul.

Pekka Rinne got the start for the Predators while the Habs went with Peter Budaj.

In the first period, both teams generated some chances, but for the Predators, their offensive effort was spotty at best. Often they would enter the zone and fail to cycle the puck and get a shot on net. The Canadiens defense did a good job of shutting down the Predators offensive thrusts, and there was a stretch of nearly 10 minutes where the Predators did not muster a shot on net.

David Desharnais got the Habs on the board at 13:49 as he got behind the defense and took a pass from Eric Cole that he backhanded past Rinne for a 1-0 lead.

In the first period, the Habs out shot the Predators 8-4, and while the Predators generally did a good job of limiting the offensive effort of the Habs, too much time was spent in their zone and the offensive effort was lacking.

That changed in the second period as the Predators got their legs moving and started generating some offensive chances. The Predators would use a short handed goal, however, to tie the game.

With Matt Halischuk in the box for tripping, the Predators got control of the puck and entered the offensive zone. Shea Weber took a pass from Ryan Suter and unleashed a blast form the top of the face off circle that absolutely blew past Budaj to knot the game at one.

Neither team would score again in the period as both goalies made some solid saves. Rinne in particular made some very good saves to keep the Habs off the board.

The Predators out shot the Canadiens 13-7 in the second.

After a scoreless third period that saw both goalies continue their stellar play, we were heading to overtime.

Max Paccioretty would end the contest at 2:31 of the OT period as P.K. Subban dug a puck off the boards and slipped it to Paccioretty. His wrist shot from the face off circle would beat Rinne over his shoulder on the stick side for the win.

In this game, the Predators top line of Colin Wilson, Patric Hornqvist, and Craig Smith were shut down. I'm not faulting their effort, and there will be games where a line is shut down. That's hockey. What is troubling about this loss is that the Predators other lines were ineffective. If the Predators are going to win these types of games, it is imperative that the team get production from Mike Fisher, Martin Erat, Sergei Kostisyn- the Predators second line tonight. Fisher has been held without a goal since missing a game after a hit in a game against the Ducks, a total of five games. Kostitsyn's game has yet to get on track. These are players that have to produce for the Predators.

Perhaps the party like atmosphere was a distraction for this team. Whatever the reason, there has to be more consistent offensive effort throughout the lineup for this team to be successful. Hopefully, this team will see some of the aforementioned players get their game going.

Do that, and it will be party.

My three stars:

1. Peter Budaj

2. Pekka Rinne

3. Max Paccioretty

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