Sunday, March 30, 2014

Predators Shoot Down the Capitals In a Shoot Out

Our elected leaders in Washington are a pretty dysfunctional bunch.

The hockey team in Washington is pretty dang good.

The Capitals brought their high octane offense to Smashville to face the Predators, who were struggling to get above .500, and the Predators managed to find enough offense to outlast the Capital in a shootout to win 4-3.

Patric Hornqvist scored two goals for the Predators, His effort was matched by Troy Brouwer of the Capitals, as he scored twice as well.

Hornqvist tallied his first goal by driving the net and chipping a rebound over the pad of Jaroslav Halak to tie the game at 1.

Hornqvist gave the Predators a 2-1 lead as he carried the puck into the offensive zone, drove the net, and roofed a backhand under the crossbar.

After Brouwer tied the game with a power play goal in the second period, Shea Weber beat Halak with a rocket from just outside the face off circle to make it 3-2 at 8:23 of the third period.

With Washington again on the power play, Nicklas Backstrom snapped a shot past Carter Hutton to tie the game at 3 at 12:20 of the third.

The remainder of the period was scoreless, as was the overtime.

In the shootout, Craig Smith was the lone goal scorer. Hutton stopped Evgeny Kuznetsov, Mikhail Grabovski, and Backstrom to secure the win for the Predators.

Some observations:

  • The Predators shootout win was only their second win of the season in the skills competition. They are now 2-8 in shootouts.

  • Hutton stopped 23 of 26 shots and all three shooters in the shootout. Hutton is now 10-5-2 in 2014.

  • Mark Van Guilder made his NHL debut for the Predators. The 30 year old rookie was called into action with injuries to Nick Spaling and Paul Gaustad.

  • Patric Hornqvist played an excellent game tonight. His energy helped propel the Predators to the win, and his first goal of the night was a typical Hornqvist play, driving the net and capitalizing (pardon the pun) on a rebound. His second goal was a thing of beauty, carrying the puck on the breakaway and lifting the shot under the crossbar. His two goal tonight give him 101 goals for his career. He now has 10 points (5G-5A) in his last 9 games.

  • Rich Clune destroyed the Capitals Patrick Wey in a first period fight, and that seemed to energize the Predators. Wey did not return to the game after the scrap.

  • Weber's goal gives him 21 for the season, tops among NHL defensemen. He also lead the Predators in TOI, with 27:47.

  • The Capitals have the best power play in the NHL, and they showed it tonight, going 2-4. The Predators did not have a power play in the game.
This was a scrappy win by the Predators against a more talented team, a win that showed this team refused to quit under the pressure the Caps brought.

This is the kind of effort that this team needs to end the season on a positive note.

My three stars:

1. Patric Hornqvist

2. Shea Weber

3. Troy Brouwer

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