Saturday, March 9, 2013

Predators Lose Wilson and Game to the Wild

The Nashville Predators and the Minnesota Wild met at the Bridgestone Arena, and the game was another typical Predators/Wild contest.

It was like watching paint dry.

Once again, the Wild claimed a 2-1 shootout victory over the Predators.

Pekka Rinne and Niklas Backstrom dueled in net, with each giving up a goal in regulation. Rinne gave up goals in the shootout to Mikko Koivu and Matt Cullen, while Craig Smith had the only tally for the Predators.

Zach Parise scored on the power play in regulation for the Wild, tipping a puck over the glove of Rinne. The Predators returned the favor on the man advantage as David Legwand scored over the glove of Backstrom.

Some observations:

The Injury Bug Bites. Hard

The Predators were already without the services of Patric Hornqvist, who had been injured in the game against Edmonton the previous night. The Predators lost Colin Wilson in the second period as he was hit and fell awkwardly into the end boards. He went in hard and hit his head and shoulder. He was taken to the locker room and did not return. The extent of his injury is not known at this time.

Karma is a Bitch

Public enemy number 1, Lyin' Ryan Suter, assisted on the Wild's only goal in regulation. His shot from the blue line on the power play was tipped by his partner in bromance, Zach Parise, to give the Wild the first score of the game. Later, Suter was called for roughing and David Legwand scored with Suter in the box.

Poetic justice.

Bobby Butler also had his own encounter with karma. In his first game with the Predators, Butler forced the Oilers into taking three penalties and the Predators scored on two of their power play opportunities. Tonight, it was Butler in the box  for hooking that led to the score for the Wild.

Ouch.

No Video Tribute for You

Players that have been on the Predators roster that return for the first time typically get a tribute video. The Predators game ops had one cued up for Suter. Kudos to them for their good judgment in not playing it. The sellout crowd booed Suter lustily every time he was on the ice, and a tribute video would not have been well received.

At Least They are Shooting

Every forward except Bobby Butler, Nick Spaling, and Colin Wilson (in limited time) recorded at least one shot on net. This is a marked improvement from previous games. Now all we have to do is...

Gotta Finish

The Wild do a good job of playing their system and limiting chances. Tonight was no different. Yet the Predators out shot the Wild 24-23 in regulation and had some good chances. Backstrom was strong and many of the shots were from the perimeter. Backstrom did give up rebounds, but the Wild did a good job of cleaning up those opportunities. The Predators have to get more traffic to the net and get a scorers touch from some of their forwards. Fighting for rebounds and getting secondary scoring chances would have gone a long way to changing the outcome.

Someone Give Him a Hug

Lyin' Ryan Suter said after the game his feelings were hurt by the reception he received from the Predator faithful. Probably should have thought about that one, Ryan, before you lied about your intentions and screwed over the franchise last year. Sorry, but we don't take too kindly to people that don't keep their word.

Oh yeah, get used to it.

Final Thoughts

The Predators are now 10-9-6 with 26 points and although they are tied with 8th place Los Angeles, they have played two more games and currently sit in 11th place in the West.

The Predators are going to have to improve their effort and start getting wins. The remaining 23 games of the regular season are going to amount to an extended Stanley Cup playoff, and it is imperative that the Predators start getting as many points as possible.

That means they are going to have to continue to shoot the puck and get traffic to the net. Key injuries are starting to affect the team, and all that means is that others on the roster are going to have to step up.

No passengers, boys.

My three stars:

1. Niklas Backstrom

2. Matt Cullen

3. Pekka Rinne

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