Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Predators Outlast the Jets 4-3

The Nashville Predators wrapped up a 4 game road trip with a stop in Winnipeg to face the suddenly resurgent Jets, who have gone 6-1 since Paul Maurice stepped in behind the bench. The Predators had gone 1-1-1 on the trip, and needed the two points in this game to try to stay remotely close to the last wild card position in the Western Conference.

Nashville opened the scoring on a wrap around goal by Seth Jones. Jones carried the puck in deep and showed great speed and puck control as he sped behind the net and banged the puck off the skate of Ondrej Pavelec and inside the post.

The Predators have shown a troubling tendency to give up a goal shortly after scoring, and this game was no different. Just 22 seconds after the Predators score, the Jets got on the board as Chris Thorburn deflected a point shot past Nashville netminder Carter Hutton to tie the game at 1.

The Predators got the lead back just 42 seconds into the second period as Roman Josi notched his 7th goal of the season.

The Predators made it 3-1 off a nice give and go between Colton Sissons, Paul Gaustad, and ultimately Nick Spaling, who deposited the puck past an out of position Pavelec.

3-1 and late in the second period and the Predators looked to have control of the game. But this is the Predators and they gave up two goals in 27 seconds to let the Jets tie the game. Mark Scheifele and Balke Wheeler tallied to knot the game at 3 going into the third period.

The Predators looked to take the lead early in the third period, but the goal was disallowed as David Legwand was deemed to make incidental contact with Pavelec.

With the Predators on the power play to open the third period, they scored but the goal was disallowed due to what the officials deemed was incidental contact with Pavelec by David Legwand. Undeterred, they did score 42 seconds into the period as Mike Fisher banged home a shot for his 14th goal of the season.

That goal would be the game winner as the Predators were able to hold the Jets off the board for the remainder of the period.

The 4-3 win gave the Predators a 2-1-1 record on this road trip and they captured 5 of a possible 8 points.

Some observations:

  • This was a nice bounce back effort by the Predators after the debacle in Edmonton in their last game. They were aggressive and got the puck on net and had good traffic in front. Tonight, the Predators played their game and they got the win for their efforts. This is the way this team has to play consistently to have a chance to win games.

  • That said, this team has got to do a better job of locking down a lead. Letting the Jets tie the game just 22 seconds after taking the lead in the first period and giving up 2 goals in 27 seconds in the second period are exasperating. This team has shown an inability to step up intensity and hold a lead, and this has to change if this team is going to have success. 

  • Shea Weber left the game midway of the third period with an upper body injury. Weber appeared to injure himself after taking a slap shot. The Predators played the rest of the game with five defensemen.

  • Colton Sissons was called up from Milwaukee due to the injuries to Viktor Stalberg and Matt Cullen. Sissons picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Nick Spaling's goal.

  • Paging Colin Wilson. Another game with no shots on goal. Tonight Wilson had 13:41 of ice time and was once again invisible.

  • Craig Smith continues his strong play. He had two assists tonight and delivered several hits and used his speed to create space and opportunities.
The Predators have a few days off before playing at home on Friday night. Hopefully they can continue to bring this level of play and intensity and continue to get some wins.

My three stars:

1. Mike Fisher

2. Craig Smith

3. Mark Scheifele

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