Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Predators Sneak Past the Coyotes In A Shootout 4-3

The Nashville Predators faced off against the Phoenix Arizona Coyotes at Bridgestone Arena in a contest that would prove to be quite a battle.

The Predators defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout.

And frankly, they were fortunate to secure the win and the two points.

The Yotes opened the scoring off a 2 on1 break. David Moss carried the puck in the offensive zone on the right side and slipped the puck to Rob Klinkhammer. The Colonel tapped the puck past Pekka Rinne at 3:21 of the first period.

The Predators answered off an odd man rush of their own. Mike Ribeiro carried the puck into the offensive zone with the Predators on a 4 on 1 rush. Ribeiro sent the puck to Ryan Ellis in the high slot and got a return pass that he put through the wickets of Devan Dubnyk to tie the game at 12:05 of the first period.

Ellis gave the Predators a 2-1 lead at 5:12of the second period, just 3 seconds after a Predators power play had expired. Ellis beat Dubnyk short side from the top of the face off circle, sneaking the shot just inside the post.

The Coyotes tied the game just 3 seconds into a power play. With Calle Jarnkrok in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, Antoine Vermette won a face off back to Keith Yandle and he beat Rinne glove side at 11:18 of the second period.

Former Predator Marty Erat gathered in a rebound at the side of the net and scored at 7:42 of the third period to give the Coyotes a 3-2 lead.

That goal was answered by James Neal, who blasted a slap shot past Dubnyk from the circle at 8:03 of the third period.

After the remainder of the third and the overtime period ended with neither team able to score, the game went to a shootout.

Derek Roy scored in the first round for the Predators, while Antoine Vermette scored in the third round to tie the shootout.

Ryan Ellis scored off a sweet move in the fourth round, and Rinne was able to stop Erat to secure the win.

Some observations:

  • In three of their past four games, the Predators have shown alarming inconsistency in handling an aggressive forecheck. Tonight, the Predators had difficulty throughout the game in dealing with the aggressive, attacking style of the Coyotes. The pressure the Coyotes put on the Predators disrupted their breakouts and their cycle once they got in the offensive zone. On several occasions, the Coyotes forecheck forced turnovers in the Predators defensive zone, resulting in Rinne having to make some quality saves.

  • The Coyotes turned up the intensity in the third period, and the Predators could not match their effort. The Yotes out shot the Predators 17-5 in the third, and 36-26 for the game.

  • Ryan Ellis had a monster game, recording a goal, two assists, and the shootout winner. this was Ellis' first three point game of his career.

  • How sweet must this game have been for Mike Ribeiro. He had a goal and an assist against the team that dumped him last season. Ribeiro now has points in his last 4 games.

  • Former Predator Marty Erat had a goal and played with energy all night. Where was that game from Marty in his last year as a Predator?

  • The goal from James Neal was a blast that he just blew past Dubnyk, Neal now has two goals in his last three games. Good to see him starting to heat up.

  • The Predators are now 18-10-3 all time against the Coyotes at Bridgestone Arena.

  • The Predators struggled in the face off dot all night, winning just 45% of the draws. Paul Gaustad led the team, winning 11 of 18 draws for 61%. This is going to have to improve especially in the offensive zone.

  • The Predators power play did not look good at all. They were 0-5 tonight, and the PP unit just looks too static without much movement. Especially troubling was the lack of net front presence. No one was taking away the eyes of Dubnyk, and he had some rather routine saves when the Preds had the man advantage.

  • Shea Weber led the team with 33:18 TOI. Roman Josi was the leader in blocked shots with 6.

  • The Predators are now 4-0-2, good for 10 points and first place in the Central Division.

While winning the game feels good and getting points is important, the reality is that the Predators, while working hard, have caught a few breaks. There are facets of their game that have to improve if they want to continue to win games and pile up points.

But for now, enjoy the win and get ready for another test against Chicago on Thursday night.

My three stars:

1. Ryan Ellis

2. Mike Ribeiro

3. Keith Yandle

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