Saturday, October 19, 2013

Predators Pick Up First Road Win, Defeat the Canadiens 2-1

The Nashville Predators began a three game road trip in Montreal looking for their first road win of the season while facing a Canadiens team that is fast and talented.

Mission accomplished.

The first period was a fast paced, penalty filled period that saw the Predators capitalize on one of their four power play opportunities. P. K Subban was in the box for tripping when Ryan White cleared the puck over the glass to give the Predators 39 seconds of 5 on 3. Subban had just exited the box when Shea Weber attempted a cross crease pass that hit Montreal defenseman Josh Georges and caromed into the net past Canadiens netminder Carey Price. Weber's second goal of the season came at 12:31 of the first period.

The Predators out shot the Canadiens 14-6 in the first period thanks to the power play opportunities.

The Predators opened the second period with good jump and had some quality opportunities on the power play  and at even strength but could not bury their shots.

The Canadiens tied the game at 1 at 7:02 of the second as they sent traffic to the net. Pekka Rinne made two stops close in but Brendan Gallagher gathered in a loose puck in the crease and banged it past Rinne.

The Predators kept up the pressure in the second period, out shooting the Canadiens 16-11, but failed to finish on their chances.

Montreal opened the third period swarming the Predators net and was awarded a goal after a furious goal mouth scramble. The play went to review and it showed that Rinne had covered the puck and it did not cross the goal line. For once, the Predators had caught a break after a review from the war room in Toronto.

The Predators would be shorthanded, however, as David Legwand was called for cross checking on the play. Fortunately, the Predators were able to kill the penalty.

The Predators flirted with disaster in the third period, taking three penalties and putting the potent Canadiens power play on the ice. The Predators PK unit came up big, killing all penalties.

The Predators took a 2-1 lead at 18:33 as David Legwand worked a nice give and go with Seth Jones. Jones passed to Legwand on the half board and fed a pass to Jones who was driving the net. Jones beat Price from just inside the face off circle with a nice wrist shot over the blocker.

The Predators defense made that goal stand up for the win.

Some observations:

  • Remember when the Predators wouldn't shoot the puck? The Predators out shot the Canadiens 37-29 and were pouring shots on net. Lacking elite goal scorers, this team has to shoot the puck and go hard after rebounds. They have been doing that this season, and this is how they are going to have to play to win games.

  • Seth Jones has been solid on the blue line, but he has some very good offensive skills. His goal was a thing of beauty, as he drew the puck back away from the defender and scored off a well placed wrist shot. Jones showed good instincts in jumping into the play and more importantly was able to finish the chance.

  • Rinne was very solid. he made some good, scrambling saves when the Canadiens were putting pressure on the net. As goes Rinne, so goes this team.

  • The Predators were without Mike Fisher, who was out of the line up with a lower body injury.

  • Still waiting for Viktor Stalberg to show up. Once again, he had 10:29 of ice time, the lowest of any Predator that dressed, and has yet to get on the score sheet.

  • The Predators PK was outstanding. They killed all five man advantage opportunities by the Canadiens and their play helped to keep Montreal from seizing momentum in a very tight game.

  • While the PP did score on one opportunity, this unit has to improve. They are showing some positives, but too often, there is no motion and they are too easy to defend.
This was a solid road win against a very good team. This is the type of win that the team can use to build momentum, and they will get their chance to do just that tomorrow night in Winnipeg.

My three stars:

1. Seth Jones

2. Pekka Rinne

3. David Legwand

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