Sunday, November 3, 2013

Predators Don't Fold, Top Kings 4-3

The Nashville Predators faced the Los Angeles Lings in the second game of their 7 game road trip, and for the Predators, they needed another fast start like the one they had in Phoenix.

They also needed a better finish than what they had in Phoenix.

That fast start was just what the Predators got, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on two power play goals. David Legwand opened the scoring at 11:15 of the first period on the Predators first power play. He cruised into the high slot and fired a wrist shot past a screen from Patric Hornqvist in front of Kings netminder Jonathan Quick to give the Predators a 1-0 lead. Legwand scored on the first shot of the power play.

The Predators made it 2-0 on the first shot of their second power play. The puck went down low to Hornqvist at the side of the net. He drew the defense to him and found Shea Weber pinching into the low slot. Weber took the pass and potted the puck past an out of position Quick at 19:06 of the first period.

The Kings cut the deficit to 2-1 at 19:23 as Anze Kopitar banged home a rebound of a Jake Muzzin shot that fluttered over the pads of a sprawling Carter Hutton.

Hutton had to be strong in the first period, as five on five, the Kings out played the Predators. They had 14 shots on net compared to the Predators 6.

The second period saw the Kings pressure the Predators and thy had a decided territorial advantage with the puck in the Predators offensive zone. Hutton made some good saves and he was getting a lot of help from his defense to keep the Kings off the board.

By contrast, the Predators were not generating much offense 5 on 5. One of their few quality chances was converted by Eric Nystrom when he took a great pass in the slot from Hornqvist and beat Quick with a one timer at 8:41 to make it 3-1.

The Predators got bad news as Mike Fisher was injured when he collided with Dustin Brown in an accidental collision. Fisher appeared to hurt his foot and went immediately to the locker room. He was called out for the rest of the game.

The Kings out shot the Predators 10-5 in the second period.

The Kings were going to push even harder in the third period. The Predators were going to have to show more resilience and toughness than they did in their previous game to secure the win.

The push did come from the Kings as they controlled the puck in the offensive zone and peppered Hutton with pucks. They broke through with a goal at 9:41 of the third as a shot from Dustin Brown deflected off the stick of Kevin Klein in front of the net and eluded Hutton to make it a 3-2 game.

With Ryan Ellis in the box for interference, Mike Richards battled for the puck at the top of the crease and slid a rebound home to tie the game at 3 at 11:18.

The Predators had been out shot 8-1 at this point in the game and were on the verge of another troubling and epic collapse in the third period.

The Predators fought back to make it 4-3 as Mattias  Ekholm took a shot from the point. Quick kicked out a rebound onto the stick of David Legwand and he rammed the rebound  home to give the Predators the lead at 16:04.

This time, there was no collapse.

The Predators held off the Kings to capture the 4-3 win.

Some observations:

  • The predators made the most of their scoring opportunities, which were few and far between. The Kings out shot the Predators 38-17 and controlled play for most of the game. If the Predators had not been efficient with their shots, this game would have been a rout.

  • Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand had outstanding games. this is the kind of hockey these guys need to play and tonight, they showed exceptional leadership and effort.

  • The Predators power play was 2 for 3. This unit has to produce for the Predators to be successful and they were very efficient tonight.

  • Eric Nystrom may be the Predators best off season add. He brings energy, grit, and is able to contribute some timely scoring.

  • Mattias Ekholm is settling in on the blue line. He has been playing some sound hockey on the third pairing and I look for his game to continue to develop and improve.
Tonight, the Predators showed some heart and some character. For a while in the third period, it appeared as if they were playing not to lose. Yet when the game was on the line, they capitalized on a prime scoring chance to secure the win.

This is the way this team has to play- for a full 60 minutes and going for the win.

Do that, and this will be a successful road trip.

My three stars:

1. David Legwand

2. Patric Hornqvist

3. Anze Kopitar

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