Saturday, November 29, 2014

Predators Finish Perfect Home Stand With 2-1 Win Over the Blue Jackets

The Nashville Predators wrapped up a 4 game home stand against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Bridgestone Arena. The Predators entered the game as one of the hottest teams in the NHL while the Blue jackets have been decimated by injuries and victimized by poor play and currently sit last in the League with 14 points. The Jackets played last night and were smoked by the Canucks 5-0.

Should be an easy win, right?

Well, it wasn't easy, but the Predators captured a 2-1 victory.

It was a win, but the Predators had to fight and scrap for the victory as Jackets netminder Curtis McElhinney stopped 40 of the 42 shots he faced from the Predators and made them work for their victory.

The Predators fired 20 shots on net in the first period to 7 for the Jackets but the period ended scoreless as McElhinney and Pekka Rinne stopped every shot they faced.

The Predators finally broke through in the second period as Mike Ribeiro gathered in the rebound of a Roman Josi shot and swooped around the back of the net and buried the wrap around at 12:47.

The Jackets used some sloppy play by the Predators at the start of the third period to tie the game. The Predators took two consecutive penalties, and on the second power play, Ryan Johansen was able to put in the tying goal at 3:48 of the period.

The game looked to be heading to overtime until Colin Wilson was able to backhand a pass from Craig Smith at 17:48 of the third past an out of position McElhinney for the game winner.

Some observations:

  • Mike Fisher got some time on the power play unit, and I really like his presence on that unit. Fisher wins faceoffs, battles in the corners, and is a physical presence on the ice. I hope that he continues to see time on the man advantage unit.

  • The Predators finished the 4 game home stand a perfect 4-0 and have won 6 of their last 7.

  • Pekka Rinne won his League leading 16th game. While he didn't have a lot of work, he still made some quality saves when the Jackets pressed the Predators.

  • Kudos to McElhinney. He stood on his head and made some good saves and gave the jackets a chance to win the game. The Predators poured 20 shots on net in the first period and spent most of the second period in the Jackets end, recording another 13 shots. The Predators did a good job of getting shots to the net and McElhinney was equal to the task for most of the night.

  • Filip Forsberg had a couple of filthy dangles to create some scoring chances. His ability to see the ice and maneuver past defenders to get to open spaces is amazing.

  • I really like the play of the line of Calle Jarnkrok, Colin Wilson, and Craig Smith. They are playing with good jump and creating scoring chances.

  • Speaking of Colin Wilson, he has really elevated his game. He is using his speed and puck handling to create scoring chances and has been rewarded for his efforts. He has 6 points (3G-3A) in his last 7 games.

  • The power play had more energy and movement but still couldn't produce. The Predators are now a League worst 1 for 41 on home ice with the man advantage.

  • Seth Jones played his 100th NHL game.

  • Playing well and winning on home ice is critical for any team. The Predators have done a good job of winning at the Bridge at the start of this season, going 10-1-1.
With the win, the Predators are 16-5-2, good for 34 points and first in the Central Division.

The Predators have shown the ability to win in different ways and have gotten contributions from throughout their line up.

They will have to keep it up throughout this season.

My three stars:

1. Colin Wilson

2. Curtis McElhinney

3. Mike Ribeiro

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Predators Scrap Out a 1-0 OT Win Over the Oilers

The Nashville Predators have played some games that were turkeys on Thanksgiving night.

Tonight's game against the Edmonton Oilers at Bridgestone Arena was almost another one of those before the Predators were rescued by the overtime heroics of Filip Forsberg and the stellar play of goaltender Pekka Rinne.

The Oilers outworked, out shot, and out hustled the Predators all night. Pekka Rinne was marvelous, stopping 37 shots in regulation and overtime, including a penalty shot in overtime by Jordan Eberle after Shea Weber was called for closing his hand on the puck in the crease.

Forsberg was able to battle through a check after being spun around and whipped a shot that got under Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth's arm and into the net for the game winner.

This was a game the Oilers probably deserved to win based on their effort. Yet the Predators found a way to secure the two points through the play of Rinne and Forsberg.

Some observations:

  • The Predators welcomed Mike Fisher back into the line up tonight for his first game of the season. Fisher has been out all year after rupturing his Achilles tendon in off season training. Fisher skated well and I really like the energy and physical play that he brings to the game.

  • Fisher's return meant that someone had to sit, and that someone was Matt Cullen. Fisher was inserted on the Geriatric Line with Olli Jokinen and Derek Roy and had 12:44 of ice time and one shot on net.

  • Abysmal, awful, atrocious. Take your pick of adjectives to describe the Predators power play. The man advantage unit looked disjointed all night and unable to handle the forecheck of the Oilers penalty kill. On the Predators second power play, they did not register a shot and gave up 3 short handed shots to the Oilers. The Predators short circuited another power play by almost immediately taking a penalty. I just don't understand how this unit has failed to gel and become more efficient this deep into the season, but unless they improve quickly, this will be a serious problem for the Predators as the season goes on. On home ice, the Predators power play is an anemic 1 for 37. Unbelievable.

  • On the other hand, the Predators penalty kill has definitely been playing better. They killed all four of the Oilers power plays. this unit is playing smart and with energy and it is good to see them stepping up their play in this critical area.

  • Filip Forsberg continues to play at a high level, and with his goal tonight is the first Predator to reach double digits in goals (10). Forsberg has 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points. Johnny Gudreau of Calgary is second in the rookie scoring race with 15 points. Forsberg plays smart and with poise and has a nose for the net, which was shown with his game winning goal tonight. That was a goal scorer's goal, fighting off a check and finding the opening on Fasth for the game winner.

  • It goes without saying that the Predators were in this game and eventually won because of the play of Pekka Rinne. Rinne made some outstanding saves, notably on the penalty shot by Eberle in overtime. Rinne was on his game and held the Predators in the contest until they were able to get the game winner. He stopped 37 shots on the way to recording his 34th career shutout.

  • The Oilers outshot the Predators 37-25. The Predators did not record their first shot on net until 11:38 of the first period. Must have been a serious turkey coma for this team.

  • The Oilers have lost 8 straight games.

  • A goal by Seth Jones in the second period was disallowed after goaltender interference was called against Paul Gaustad. Goose was checked into Fasth by an Oiler defender, which should not have negated the goal. 
This was a game that the Predators were, candidly, lucky to win. But they did win. And that is the mark of a team that worked through a dismal start and an erratic performance to capture the two points.

Hopefully this team clicks on all cylinders Saturday night.

My three stars:

1. Pekka Rinne

2. Pekka Rinne (OK- Filip Forsberg)

3. Viktor Fasth

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My View- The Spirit of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to pause from our hectic daily lives and reflect on all for which we are thankful. Despite the distractions of getting the hottest merchandise at the best price, the demands of job and family, and other cares, the call of this season is to slow down and reflect on all our blessings.
I like these words that call us back to the true spirit of the Thanksgiving season:
For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread. The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet. ... Shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us so long? ~Rebecca Harding Davis
Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life ... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year—and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God. ~Ray Stannard Baker
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie
This Thanksgiving, may you have time to enjoy the true spirit of this season with a heart of peace and gratitude.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Predators Continue Kings Road Woes With 4-3 SO Win

The Nashville Predators faced off against the L.A. Kings at Bridgestone Arena, and while the Kings have struggled on the road this season, that didn't mean this would be an easy game for the Predators.

It wasn't.

A game that saw both teams swap leads went to a shootout before the Predators finally won in the 7th round 4-3.

James Neal potted the only goal in the 7th round to win the game for the Predators.

The Predators opened the scoring as Colin Wilson found a streaking Craig Smith behind the Kings defense and Smith burned Martin Jones five hole to give the Predators a 1-0 lead at 6:24 of the first period.

The Kings would answer as a Justin Williams shot deflected off the skate of Jamie McBain and past Pekka Rinne at 11:32 of the first period.

Just 61 seconds into the second period, Jeff Carter launched an aerial pass from his own zone that Marian Gaborik ran down and then roofed a shot over the shoulder of Rinne to make it 2-1.

The Predators answered with two late goals to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Ryan Ellis tied the game with a blast from the top of the face off circle that beat Jones cleanly.

The Predators took the lead off of hard work by Taylor Beck. Beck got control of the puck and with a Kings defender on his back, spun and fired a backhand shot that Erick Nystrom tipped past Jones.

Momentum to the Predators and the crowd at the Bridge was rocking.

That changed just 38 seconds into the third period as Drew Doughty took the puck from his own end, skated through the Predators team, and using a defender as a screen, fired a shot that fooled Rinne and squirted through his pads to tie the game.

The overtime period saw the Predators hit the post on a sweet drive by Filip Forsberg and from a shot by Shea Weber. The Predators also had a shot hit Jones, go over his shoulder, and trickle just outside the post.

The scoreless overtime set up the heroics by Neal, but Rinne was also spectacular, stopping all 7 Kings shooters to seal the win.

Some observations:

  • Although James Neal scored the game winner in the shootout, the Predators top line was held without a point. The production of this top line has drawn the attention of the oppositions top defenders, and it is going to become tougher for these guys to score. Their effort was outstanding, including a sequence in the first period that saw then possess the puck in the Kings zone for over a minute and fire four shots on net. As long as the effort is there, I am not worried- this unit will get their points.

  • That said, it is good to see scoring coming from the other lines of the Predators. I especially am liking the play of the Wilson, Smith, Jarnkrok line. their speed accounted for the first Predators goal and they were active and energetic all night. Their play is going to have to continue at this high level, and if it does, it will give the Predators another legitimate scoring line and will take some pressure off the top unit.

  • James Neal has a wickedly quick release. That was evident on the shootout winner, but when he loads up his shot, the puck is not on his stick long. that makes him a consistent scoring threat.

  • Sigh... the Predators power play. Tonight, they were 0-4, including the last 1:32 of the overtime period when it was 4 on 3. This unit is just going to have to improve.

  • The Predators were 45% in the face off circle, including numerous lost draws in the offensive zone.

  • Shea Weber picked up an assist tonight to give him 223 for his career. Weber has moved to first all time among Predators defensemen, passing Kimmo Timonen. Weber is third all time among all Predator players.

  • Last season, the Predators struggled in the shootout. This season, they are 3-1.

  • Matt Cullen became the oldest player to play for the Predators at 38 years, 23 days. He surpasses Hal Gill (38 years, 21 days) for that...honor.

  • The ability to win close games is going to be critical for any team to have success. The Predators are 9-3-2 in one goal games this season.

  • The Kings are 10-2 at home this season. With this loss, they are 1-4-4 on the road.

  • Defenseman Drew Doughty played 33:40 tonight. Shnikey!

  • Shea Weber led the Predators with 27:49 of ice time.

  • The Kings like to play a big hit, physical game. The Predators answered that style with physical play of their own. Eric Nystrom had a booming hit on Brayden McNabb. Shea Weber had a monstrous hit along the wall, and although it was a shoulder to shoulder hit, referee Tim Pell (one of the absolutely worst officials in the league) called it a head shot.

  • The Predators are 5-1-1 against Pacific Division teams.

This was a solid win against a good team, road struggles of the Kings notwithstanding. The ability of the other lines besides the top line to come up with timely scoring is a strong positive for the Predators.

One quarter of the way through the season and this is the second best start in team history.

Stay grounded and build on this success and more good things will happen for this team.

My three stars:

1. Craig Smith

2. Colin Wilson

3. Marian Gaborik

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Predators Blow 2 Goal Lead But Defeat the Panthers In A Shootout 3-2

The Nashville Predators returned home to face the Florida Panthers, and for 59 minutes, they dominated the Panthers.

Unfortunately for the Predators, it is a 60 minute game. with the Predators sitting on a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead, the Panthers scored 2 goals 12 seconds apart in the final minute of the game to force overtime.

The Predators eventually won the game in a shootout thanks to a goal by Filip Forsberg and solid goaltending by Pekka Rinne.

The Predators threw 50 shots at Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo. This game had the makings of one in which the Predators would throw a monstrous number of shots at the net but couldn't solve the goaltender.

That changed when Colin Wilson somehow snuck a shot through Luongo at 18:28 of the second period. Wilson put a shot on net from almost at the goal line and it trickled through Luongo to make it 1-0.

The Predators looked to salt the game away when Matt Cullen chipped a puck over Luongo at 13:01 of the third period to make it 2-0.

To this point of the game, the Predators had limited the scoring chances of the Panthers, and when they had a good look, Pekka Rinne had cleaned up any scoring chances.

That changed in the last minute of the game as first Rocco Grimaldi was able to redirect a puck past Rinne at 19:17 to make it 2-1.

Nick Bjusgstad tied the game just 12 seconds later with a shot from the face off circle that beat Rinne.

Improbably, the Panthers had tied the game and forced overtime.

The Predators had 5 shots on goal in the extra period while the Panthers did not register a shot on net.

In the shootout, fillip Forsberg was the only scorer, beating Luongo five hole, while Rinne made some good saves and looked sharp in stopping all the Panthers shooters for a 3-2 win.

Some observations:

  • This game never should have gotten to a shootout. With one minute to go, this team needs to lock down the opposition. They had done a good job of limiting a talented Panthers team to that point, but fell apart in the last minute. Frankly, they were lucky to get the second point.

  • I really like the play of the line of Calle Jarnkrok, Colin Wilson, and Craig Smith. this line is creative and plays with speed and energy. they created some good scoring chances and are emerging as a threat when they are on the ice. Wilson in particular is playing with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

  • Roberto Luongo was spectacular for the Panthers. He was under pressure all night as the Predators peppered him with 50 shots on goal and he made some good saves. Kudos to the Predators for keeping up the intensity and pressure and finally cracking him for two goals.

  • The geriatric line- Matt Cullen, Derk Roy, and Olli Jolinen are playing well and have recorded goals in the last two games. They are developing some good chemistry and starting to contribute offensively, which this team needs them to do.

  • The Predators are 7-1 when leading after two periods.

  • The Predators power play continues to struggle. Tonight, they were 0-4. this unit needs to get their success rate up quickly.

  • The 50 shots on goal was a season high for the Predators.

  • Aaron Ekblad is going to be a very good NHL defenseman. He is strong, positionally sound, and was a +2 with an assist tonight.

  • Nick Bjugstad continues his strong play with a goal tonight to tie the game. He has been a very good player for the Panthers, especially over the past 10 games with a real nose for the net and a scorers touch.
Well, this was a game of mixed emotions. Solid, consistent offensive pressure all night and a two goal lead looked to have this game locked up. A collapse in the last minute forced the Predators to win in a shootout.

It is a win and that is a good thing.

Next time, let's play for the full 60 minutes.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsberg

2. Roberto Luongo

3. Pekka Rinne

Predators Foundation Starts Mobile and e-Bidding for Auction Items

If you have been to a Predators game, you have most likely stopped by the Foundations silent auction table. Every game, fans have the opportunity to bid on autographed jerseys and action pictures of their favorite players. Signed sticks and pucks, unique fan experiences, and some very creative items are up for bid.

The in-game silent auctions are one of the key fund raising events for the Foundation, which has used the generosity and support of fans to raise funds to distribute to over 400 charitable organizations in Middle Tennessee.

If you found a particular item that you really wanted and made a bid, the process was that you usually had to visit the auction area several times during the course of the game to check your bid and the progress of the auction.

Now that has changed as the Predators Foundation has introduced mobile bidding for all auction items. From your smart phone, you can type to download the app or you can text "Preds" to 52182 and follow the link.

Each item at the silent auction area now has a 3 digit number. If you decide to bid on an item, you enter the 3 digit number and the amount of your bid (for example: 110 100, which is item 110 and a bid of $100) from your smart phone.

Now, fans can bid on auction items from their seat and not have to miss any of the action on the ice. The system will also alert you when your bid has been surpassed.

The silent auction always has some exceptional items. Now bidding has gotten even easier for the fans.

Sign up for free and begin using the app at the next Predators home game.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Predators Lousy Second Period Costs Them in 3-2 Loss to the Senators

The Predators visited Canadian tire Center to face the Ottawa Senators in their second and final meeting of the season.

The Predators played like the Predators in the first and third period with Shea Weber tallying a power play in the first and Olli Jokinen getting a goal in the third.

Unfortunately, the Predators didn't play anything like the Predators have been playing recently in the second period as they sat back on their heels and let the Sens take the game to them.

The Predators horrid second period resulted in the Senators scoring three goals on Carter Hutton en route to a 3-2 win.

Bobby Ryan scored on a power play and Alex Chiasson and Jared Cowen scored even strength goals. Cowen's was the game winner.

Robin Lehner picked up the win for the Senators.

The Predators tried to Pressure and got some good scoring chances in the third period, but they could not get the equalizer and dropped a game they never should have.

Some observations:

  • Since returning from missing a few games because of injury, Colin Wilson has played with purpose and energy. When he plays that way and uses his speed and puck handling skills, he can be a dynamic contributor to the team. I really hope Colin can play this style of play consistently and not revert back to a severe case of Legwanditis.

  • The Predators seemed to lose their intensity and focus in the second period and got back on their heels and were scrambling in their own zone. This team cannot play like that and expect to win games. Yes, the talent is better on this team and they have been playing well, but they are not good enough to play without energy and focus. The result: Nashville gives up three goals.

  •  Good to see Olli Jokinen get his first goal and first point as a Predator. The Predators need him to start heating up.

  • Shea Weber is just a complete defenseman. Yes, he is known for his booming shot and hard hits, but he is rarely caught out of position defensively. He did a great job breaking up a 2 on 1 in the third period with an exceptional play. It seems to me that he is skating better this season than I have seen him skate in years past.

  • Good pressure in the third period with lots of chances, but frankly, the Predators never should have been in that position. The brutal play in the second period cost this team the game.

  • Carter Hutton is winless in his three starts. I don't put this loss solely on Hutton, but wow, he is going to have to give the Predators some wins when he is called on to start.

  • The Predators out shot the Senators 35-19
The Predators are certainly not going to win a game when they take a period off, which is what happened tonight.

Hopefully they learn from this and return to the Bridge with a renewed focus.

My three stars:

1. Robin Lehner

2. Jared Cowen

3. Shea Weber

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Predators Destroy the Leafs 9-2

The Nashville Predators visited the Air Canada Centre to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first of a three game stretch against Eastern Conference teams.

The Predators went with Pekka Rinne in net while the Leafs net was manned by Jonathan Bernier.

Taylor Beck opened the scoring at 1:52 of the first period as he drove wide around the defense and  rifled a shot over the shoulder of Bernier to the far post for his second goal of the year.

Derek Roy scored an absolutely beautiful goal at 10:14 of the first period to make it 2-0 for the Predators. Roy drove the net and took a pass from Matt Cullen. With former Predator Cody Franson hanging all over him Roy got his stick on the puck and was able to slide the puck five hole on  Bernier.

Taylor Beck struck again, this time on the power play. A shot from the point by Seth Jones hit Beck in the chest and dropped straight down on the ice. Beck felt Bernier behind and swatted the puck between his legs and into the back of the net before Bernier could drop to the ice. Beck's goal came at 16:49 of the first period.

James Reimer came in to net for the Leafs to begin the second period.

The second period saw both teams get some scoring chances but neither could score. The period looked as if it would end scoreless unless Taylor Beck fed Eric Nystrom, who carried the puck to the high slot and beat Reimer with a wrister over the glove at 18:45.

Just 53 seconds into the third period, the Predators swarmed the Leafs net and Mike Ribeiro was the beneficiary of a nice slap pass from Ryan Ellis as he re-directed the pass past Reimer to make it 5-0.

Filip Forsberg deflected a puck off his skate past Reimer at 1:26 of the period. After a video review, it was ruled a good goal, and Forsberg had his 9th goal and the Predators had a 6-0 lead.

Calle Jarnkrok took a sweet pass from Colin Wilson and Jarnkrok buried it for his first goal of the year and a 7-0 Predators lead at 3:06 of the third.

Roman Josi made it 8-0 at 5:14 as he wrapped around the net and his shot hit Mike Santorelli's stick and bounced over the shoulder of Reimer and trickled into the net.

The Leafs spoiled Rinne's shutout as the Predators turned the puck over behind their net and Mike Santorelli was able to slap the puck past a scrambling defense and Rinne to make it 8-1 at 8:18 of the third.

The Leafs made it 8-2 as Nazem Kadri redirected a shot from the point past Rinne at 10:33.

Colin Wilson gathered in a Craig Smith shot  a snuck the puck between Reimer and the post to make it 9-2 at 17:28. Another goal that was the result of good pressure around the Leafs net.

For the Leafs, the game mercifully ended with no more pucks in their net, and the Predators put on a show of dominant hockey in a city that believes it is the center of the hockey universe.

Some observations:

  • The Predators tried changing up the power play with James Neal on the point. Uh... let's not do that again. A couple of turnovers and a shorthanded chance by the Leafs on the first power play should quash that experiment quickly.

  • Speaking of the power play... Beck got some time on the PP unit and scored a goal. And tonight, the power play unit got shots on net, which they failed to do in four attempts in their previous game. Puck movement was better and they did a good job of getting pucks through.

  • I have to say it again, that goal by Roy was a beauty, and it was good to see him get his first goal as a Predator. That goal was Roy's 500th NHL point.

  • The speed difference between the Predators and the Leafs was noticeable. The Predators speed created matchup problems for the Leafs and scoring opportunities for the Predators.

  • Taylor Beck's second goal was a smart play as he knew Bernier was not down on the ice and slapped the puck between his legs to the net. Beck is playing with lots of confidence to go with the energy he brings to the ice, and it is good to see him getting rewarded for his efforts.

  • Good to see the Predators get secondary scoring, which they are going to need to continue their success.

  • The Predators scored on their first four shots of the third period.

  • Early in the contest, Rinne made some very good saves to thwart the Leafs attack.

  • A disgruntled Leafs fan tossed their sweater on the ice in the third period.

  • The Predators tied the franchise record for most goals in a game.

  • 14 Predator skaters recorded a point tonight.

That was fun, eh?

This was a complete game by the Predators. All phases played well, secondary scoring was there, and the effort was for 60 minutes. One aspect that was especially encouraging was that the Predators didn't sit back with the lead but kept coming at the Leafs all night. That is the formula for success for this team.

Now, they have to bring that effort every game.

My three stars:

1. Taylor Beck

2. Shea Weber

3. Pekka Rinne

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Predators Win a Tough Game Over the Jets 2-1

The Nashville Predators are arguably the surprise team- in a good way- of the Central Division, challenging for first place.

Perhaps just as big of a surprise are the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets came into their divisional contest against the Predators at Bridgestone Arena in third place in the division and 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.

Two teams that are playing good hockey and fairly evenly matched played the kind of game that one would have expected: a tight checking contest that limited scoring opportunities. The Predators made the most of their chances in capturing a 2-1 win over the Jets in front of a sellout crowd.

Both teams have rode hot goaltending so far this season, with Pekka Rinne and Ondrej Pavalec having outstanding seasons. Rinne entered the contest with 10 wins, a .929 save percentage, and a 1.92 GAA. Pavalec had almost identical numbers, with 7 wins, a .928 save percentage, and a 1.99 GAA.

Both goaltenders were solid and made good saves throughout the course of the game.

The Jets got on the board first with a short handed goal. With the Predators on the power play, Matt Cullen turned the puck over and Blake wheeler took advantage, beating Rinne over the glove to give the Jets a 1-0 lead at 6:57 of the second period.

The Predators looked to have tied the game on a Mike Ribeiro goal off a scramble in front of Pavalec, but the goal was waved off as the officials said the Predators had played the puck with a high stick before the goal.

Just 8 seconds after that goal was disallowed, James Neal lasered a shot past Pavalec to tie the game at 1 at 15:45.

Justice served.

In the third period, Craig Smith took a pass from Calle Jarnkrok and buried the game winner past Pavalec at 17:58.

The Predators were able to hold off the Jets in the remaining time to secure the win.

Some observations:

  • Colin Wilson was back in the line up after missing two games with a lower body injury. He was on a re-shuffled line with Jarnkrok and Smith and I really liked the way that group played tonight. They played with purpose, especially Jarnkrok, have great speed, and are a threat offensively. I hope the coaching staff keeps that line together and lets them gel. I think they could develop into a very good line.

  • I am coming around to the defense paring of Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis. Both show some good offensive instincts and rarely caught out of position defensively.

  • Shea Weber and Roman Josi are just outstanding at shutting down the oppositions top scorers. They draw tough minutes and do an excellent job of taking the other teams forwards off their game.

  • The Predators played very disciplined hockey tonight. They did not take a penalty in the game. In the last meeting with the Jets, the Predators were victimized by two power play goals.

  • The Predators power play was absolutely putrid. A turnover on the power play led to the Jets only goal. In 8 minutes of power play time, the Predators did not register a shot on goal. This has to change and change quickly.

  • That said, the Jets came into the game with the 5th best PK in the NHL. It showed tonight as they outworked the Predators and gave them no room.

  • Pekka Rinne has never lost to the Jets, going 6-0-0 in his career.

  • With this win, Peter Laviolette picked up his 400th career win. Congratulations, Coach!
Good bounce back win by the team after a tough loss in St. Louis and against a quality opponent.

The Predators are 11-4-2, good for 24 points and second in the Central behind the Blues, who have 25 points.

My three stars:

1. Craig Smith

2. James Neal

3. Pekka Rinne

Predators Host the Jets In Hockey Fights Cancer Night

One of the great initiatives of the NHL and its teams is the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign. This disease has impacted all of us in some way, and the NHL and the teams around the League do a fantastic job of raising awareness and funds for research.

At the Bridgestone Arena, several things will be happening tonight. Here is the press release from the Predators:

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Nashville Predators hit the ice at Bridgestone Arena in a special 6 p.m. start to take on the Winnipeg Jets in support of the National Hockey League’s Hockey Fights Cancer, a month-long awareness initiative that began in mid-October and is supported by all 30 NHL teams. Saturday’s game marks the first of two Hockey Fights Cancer games the Predators will host this season, with money raised during Nashville’s Hockey Fights Cancer games benefiting the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Dollar General. The 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Dollar General works to fund childhood cancer research at Vanderbilt University’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.

There will be several opportunities throughout the game for fans to contribute funds for pediatric cancer research, including:
·         Members of the Nashville Predators will wear special lavender Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys during warm-ups that will be auctioned off online (, by texting “PREDS” to 521-82 and at the Predators Foundation area (section 106/107). The Preds new online/texting auction system allows fans from across the world to get into the bidding action on one-of-a-kind items like the Preds lavender jerseys, previously only available to those in attendance at the game.
·         Fans can purchase a Kids Club pack for the 365 Fund at the Foundation Area (section 106/107). Packs will be given to patients at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
·         Special Hockey Fights Cancer items will be up for auction online and at the Predators Foundation area.
·         Purchase team autographed mystery pucks at the Predators Foundation Area (section 106/107) and at the Community Corner (section 120)
·         Donate $1 from any purchase at all DNC-Sportservice concession stands
·         Drop change into donation buckets and coin machines located around the arena
·         Visiting
Serving as Child Ambassador and Mayor of Smashville for the game will be 10-year-old Elizabeth Cronin. Cronin was diagnosed with a germ cell tumor attached to both of her ovaries in March. During her fight against the disease, Cronin has had many tests, four rounds of chemotherapy and two surgeries. The second of her two surgeries came in July when doctors removed the tumor and she has been in remission since. Despite everything she’s been through, Cronin continues to enjoy playing soccer, softball and the violin and always keeps a smile on her face and a positive attitude. Cronin will be given the honor of dropping the puck in a pregame ceremonial faceoff, welcoming the team back onto the ice after the first intermission with an air-raid siren, riding the Zamboni and participating in a postgame meet and greet with the players.
Other initiatives from the game include:
  • Lavender Hockey Fights Cancer ties donned by Nashville Predators coaches and broadcasters.
  • A Flashes of Hope photo shoot from 4-6 p.m. in Bridgestone Arena meeting rooms for patients and their families from Children’s Hospital (
  • Beanies for Baldies will be handing out beanies, created by Preds staff members, to families visiting the Flashes of Hope area.
  • A suite sponsored by Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber will be used by patients and families from Children’s Hospital.
  • Several young patients from Children’s Hospital will sit in the penalty box to watch pregame warm-ups and ride the Zamboni during pregame and intermissions. Children’s Hospital mascot Champ will also ride a Zamboni.
  • A patient will stand with the anthem singer during Saturday’s game.
  • A patient will participate in a pregame visit with Zebras Care, a charitable organization started by the NHL Officials Association that provides underprivileged and sick children the opportunity to meet NHL referees and linesmen and to attend an NHL game.
  • Patients will high-five players as they come on the ice through the Lexus Lounge tunnel.
The Nashville Predators and the Nashville Predators Foundation raise money annually for the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Dollar General (formerly the Nashville Predators Pediatric Cancer Research Fund), established in 2010, through Hockey Fights Cancer games, silent and blind auctions, mystery pucks, fan donations and more. In June 2013, more than $130,000 was given to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Through the fund, the Nashville Predators have made donations totaling more than $800,000 for the hospital and its programs over the past five years. For more information about the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Dollar General, visit
Hockey Fights Cancer is a charitable initiative founded in December 1998 by the National Hockey League® and National Hockey League Players’ Association.  It is supported by players, NHL member clubs, NHL alumni, the NHL Officials’ Association, professional hockey athletic trainers and equipment managers, corporate marketing partners, broadcast partners and fans throughout North America.  The goal of Hockey Fights Cancer is to raise money and awareness for national and local organizations involved in cancer care and research.  To date, through the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative, the NHL's U.S. and Canadian charitable foundations and NHL supporters and fans have donated more than $14 million to support national and local cancer research institutions, children's hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.  Hockey Fights Cancer is also a component of The Biggest Assist Happens Off The Ice®, the National Hockey League’s and National Hockey League Players’ Association’s social responsibility program that builds on hockey’s long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues in North America and around the world.  For more information about Hockey Fights Cancer, please go to

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Predators Battle But Fall to the Blues 4-3

The Nashville Predators faced the St. Louis Blues for the second time in a week and for the second time this game would decide which team would occupy the top slot in the Central Division.

Pekka Rinne was in net for the Predators, while the Blues had Jake Allen between the pipes.

The Blues struck first on the power play as T.J. Oshie, back after missing several games with a concussion, fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat a screened Rinne high over the glove at 3:25 of the first period.

Carl Gunnarsson made it 2-0 with a blast from the blue line that caught the post and ricocheted under the crossbar. The play continued and a video review was conducted after a call from Toronto where it was determined that the puck had actually entered the net at 12:35 of the first period.

Filip Forsberg continued his hot scoring streak as he ripped a shot past Allen from the face off circle off a nice pass from James Neal at 13:21. This was a critical response by the Predators as to this point in the game they had been outplayed by the Blues.

Shea Weber tied the game at 3:41 of the second period as he blasted a shot over the shoulder of Allen stick side. Forsberg had drawn a delayed penalty but carried the puck into the zone and dished it to Weber, who absolutely stepped in to the shot to beat an unscreened Allen.

Vladamir Tarasenko gave the Blues a 3-2 lead at 15:18 as he cut across the slot and fired a shot through traffic that eluded Rinne glove side.

The Predators tied the game on the power play with .9 seconds left on the clock in the second period as Roman Josi let a shot go from the face off circle that beat Allen glove side.

A back and forth third period saw both teams trade scoring chances until a shot by Kevin Shattenkirk was tipped through the five hole by Paul Stastny at 14:06.

The Predators had a furious late flurry, but could not get a puck past Allen and fell 4-3.

Some observations:

  • While we have all enjoyed the performance and productivity of the top line, the Predators are going to need consistent production from the rest of the lines, especially the second and third lines. If these guys can begin to chip in some goals, this team will be much tougher to play against.

  • Filip Forsberg is the real deal. Years from now, people will still be talking about how the Predators fleeced the Capitals when they got him in a trade for Marty Erat.

  • Colin Wilson missed his second game with a lower body injury.

  • Vladamir Tarasenko took a shot from Eric Nystrom in the second period, and Nystrom was called for a roughing penalty. Tarasenko went ballistic and charged into a scrum after the whistle and fought with the first Predator he could get his hands on, which happened to be the smallest Predator on the ice, Ryan Ellis. Ellis handled himself well in the scrap, which wasn't much, but he did stand his ground and get a few shots in.

  • Even though Tarasenko lost his mind for a brief moment, this kid is good. Really good. Great skater and a nose for the net with a very good shot. The Blues have a real talent in this player.

  • I really like the attitude and compete level of this team. The game got chippy at times and the Predators stood their ground. They got down on the scoreboard and were unrelenting in their push back. This team just has a different personality, and it is one I like.

  • Shots were even at 25. Forsberg led the Predators with 5 shots on goal.
This contest was one that had a playoff feel even though it is early in the season. Two teams that have developed a rivalry and dislike for each other and play skate to skate.

Keep playing like this and it may happen for the Predators.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsberg

2. Jake Allen

3. Vladamir Tarasenko

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Predators Start Fast, Hold On to Beat the Oilers 3-2

The Nashville Predators returned to Bridgestone Arena after a 12 day, 6 game road trip to take on the Edmonton Oilers. The Predators faced the Oilers in the first game of the road trip and came away with a 4-1 win in that meeting.

Pekka Rinne was between the pipes and looking to continue his solid effort this season. The Oilers had Viktor Fasth in net.

Fasth was under siege in the first period, as the Predators would fire a season high 17 shots on goal and would score three times for a 3-0 advantage at the end of the period.

The end of the period would be the end of the night for Fasth as well, as Ben Scrivens would finish out the game.

All of the Predators goals came of hard work, driving to the net and following shots.

Mike Ribeiro tallied first at 2:51 of the first as a James neal shot slid between the pads of Fasth and was laying behind in the blue paint. Ribeiro got to the puck ahead of an Oilers defender and tapped it home to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.

The Predators second goal by Matt Cullen was a thing of beauty. A blast by Seth Jones ricocheted off the end board and came to Cullen in the slot. Cullen was checked and as he was falling to the ice was able to backhand the puck past Fasth and just inside the post for the 2-0 lead at 9:21.

Filip Forsberg continued his torrid play, taking a pass from behind the net from Ribeiro and somehow sliding the puck between the arm of Fasth and the post at 19:06.

A hot start, a 3-0 lead, and this game was in the bag, right?

Well the Oilers came out battling in the second period. Benoit Pouliot scored on the first shot of the second period to make it 3-1 just 31 seconds into the period. The shot looked like it may have been tipped and sailed over the shoulder of Rinne and under the crossbar.

Nail Yakupov was the beneficiary of hard work by David Perron, as Perron skated the puck out of the corner and toward the net. Perron drew Rinne to the right side of the net and got a pass to a wide open Yakupov on the left side. Yakupov had an easy tap in for the Oilers second goal at 14:42.

That was it for the scoring, as both teams had scoring chances and the netminders did a good job of shutting them down.

Some observations:

  • The Predators out shot the Oilers 35-23. The first period shot total, 17-6 for the Predators, was the most shots in a period by the team. That first period was as dominant a period of hockey that the Predators have played. Edmonton went 13 minutes without a shot on goal in the first.

  • The Predators power play was 0-2. The penalty kill was able to kill off both of the Oilers man advantage opportunities.

  • The Predators are 10-1-1 when they score at least two goals. They are 6-1-2 in one goal games. that last statistic is especially encouraging because it shows the strength of Rinne in net and the fact that this team keeps attacking offensively instead of sitting back and trying to protect a lead.

  • James Neal had a team high and season high 10 shots on goal and picked up an assist tonight.

  • Filip Forsberg now has 17 points (7G-10A) in 15 games. I was really impressed with Forsberg's play along the wall. He is strong on the puck and makes good decisions to keep a play alive. This is an unheralded part of his game, but is a real strength.

  • Mike Ribeiro is sneaky good at creating turnovers. He had three steals that turned plays around in the offensive zone. He is adept at taking the puck off the stick of a defender and turning a play around for a quick attack.

  • Roman Josi led the Predators in TOI with 26:23. 

  • Ben Scrivens made 24 saves in the final two periods that he played.

  • The Oilers do not have a win this season against a Western Conference team.
Great jump and a fast start by the Predators was enough to keep the game in the win column. It got interesting over the final 20 minutes, but this team shoed maturity and did what it had to do to win the game.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsberg

2. Mike Ribeiro

3. Ben Scrivens

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Predators Take Over Top Spot In the Central with a 2-1 Win Over the Blues

The Nashville Predators played their last game of a six game road trip in St. Louis in a match up that featured the top two teams in the Central Division.

Almost everyone expected the Blues to be there.

No one expected the Predators to be challenging for the top spot.

Part of the reason for the Predators success has been the play of goaltender Pekka Rinne. Rinne entered the game with a 1.89 GAA and a .932 save percentage.

He would face Brian Elliott, who has a 2.06 GAA and a .920 save percentage.

The Blues came into this contest with a 7 game winning streak.

The Blues struck first as a rebound of a Vladamir Tarasenko shot kicked out to Jori Lehtera, who slid the puck under the pad of Rinne, who was scrambling to get back in position. The goal occurred at 14:30 of the first period.

Filip Forsberg continued his strong play as he took a cross ice pass from Roman Josi and beat Elliott glove side at 7:20 of the second period to tie the game at 1. Great vision and patience by Josi to find Forsberg and excellent shot placement by Forsberg.

Did I mention Forsberg's strong play. He carried the puck into the blues zone and dropped a pass to James Neal, who blasted a shot over Elliot's stick to make it 2-1 Predators at 13:32 of the third period.

The Predators made that goal stand up, holding off the Blues and the extra attacker over final 1:10 to secure a 2-1 win and take over first place in the Central Division.

Some observations:

  • Vladamir Tarasenko is a scary player. Scary good. The kid can skate, handles the puck well, and has a wicked good shot. The Blues have a player in Tarasenko that is fast becoming an elite hockey player.

  • Filip Forsberg has made a strong case to be an early favorite for the Calder. He now has 5 goals in his last 4 games and leads all rookies in scoring and in +/-. Forsberg is quietly good and doesn't get the highlight reel goals like Tarasenko, but is putting together a very solid effort early in the season.

  • I really like the Predators compete level in this game, especially in the second period. They created some good scoring chances and kept pressure on the Blues. One characteristic of this team that is really encouraging is that they do not sit back in a defensive posture throughout the game, but are looking for opportunities to attack.

  • James Neal has a great shot- we all know that. But I like his total game. He goes to the hard areas and battles for the puck and is responsible in the defensive zone. His power game is a nice compliment to Forsberg and Ribeiro on his line.

  • Neal's goal was his 8th, which leads the team.

  • The Predators lost Colin Wilson in the third period to a lower body injury.

  • The Predators out shot the Blues 35-27.

  • The Predators finished the 6 game road trip with a 4-2 record.
The old saying is "if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best". Tonight was the Predators night to beat the best. Yes, it is only the first of many contests with the Blues, but this has to be a huge confidence boost for the Predators. They know they can not only play with the best team in the division but can defeat them.

Now the Predators get to come back home for a few days before they attempt to build on this momentum.

My three stars:

1. James Neal

2. Pekka Rinne

3. Filip Forsberg

My View of Veterans Day

Since the founding of our country, over 48 million citizens have served in our military. On Veteran's Day, we honor those men and women, living and dead, that have served and sacrificed for our country.

When we think about the sacrifice that our veterans have made, we often think about their service in far away places under conditions that are less than ideal. Some of our veterans have faced the horrors of war and have seen the worst of human nature. Some have lived in conditions that most of us would find intolerable. They have missed the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, and innumerable family moments.

Some have made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their life in defense of our freedom and defending those that cannot defend themselves.

One often wonders why those that are serving today and those that have served make these sacrifices.

It would be easy to say that our veterans have served and sacrificed because of a sense of duty and patriotism, and I am sure that is a part of their reasoning.

But duty alone doesn't explain all that our veteran's have done for us as  a nation.

I believe they have pledged their lives in service because they value our country and what it stands for. More fundamentally, they value each of us as citizens and individuals. They treasure our freedoms. They esteem our aspirations and dreams. And they have pledged themselves to defend our freedom as a country and as individuals.

Veterans Day is an acknowledgement of the sacrifices of our veterans.

It is also a day to acknowledge the selflessness of our veterans and the fact that they have put your interests and mine in front of their individual desires.

It humbles us to realize that men and women of courage and selflessness have served and are serving you and me.

To all our veterans that have served and our serving, we honor you not only on this day but every day.

And we offer our unyielding gratitude for all you have done. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Predators Defeat the Stars 3-2 In Big D

The road trip continues for the Predators with a stop in Dallas to take on the division rival Stars. In their only other meeting this season the Predators captured a 4-1 win in Nashville.

Pekka Rinne was back in net for the Predators, while the Stars had Kari Lehtonen manning the crease.

After a scoreless first period, the Predators opened the second period scoring with two- count 'em, TWO- power play goals.

Craig Smith notched the first goal with a blast from the slot that beat Lehtonen glove side at 4!0 of the second period.

Filip Forsberg sniped a shot from the right face off circle high stick side to make it 2-0 at 13:57 of the second.

Immediately after the Predators misfired on a 2 on 1 rush, Stars defenseman carried the puck down the ice and through the Predators defense to beat Rinne low glove side to make it 2-1 at 16:26 of the second.

Rinne had to make some exceptional saves throughout the second period to keep the Stars from tying the game, including a point blank save late in the period off a turnover.

The Stars opened the third period putting pressure on the Predators and their effort paid off as Patrick Eaves tied the game off a goal mouth scramble where the Stars outmanned the Predators at the front of the net. Eaves shoveled the puck past Rinne at 7:23 of the third.

Matt Cullen responded for the Predators with a shot through traffic over the shoulder of Lehtonen at 13:47. This was Cullen's first goal of the year in his fifth game.

The Stars pulled Lehtonen for the extra attacker with 1:30 to go in the game, and although the Stars were swarming in the zone, Rinne and the skaters in front of him shut the door on the Stars to capture a 3-2 win.

Some observations:

  • When the Predators are skating and playing with energy, they are a very good team. Not elite, but very good. When they are flatfooted or don't have jump, they can be downright ugly. Some stretches of the latter tonight.

  • Calle Jarnkrok drew back into the line up tonight. he had been a healthy scratch the last 4 games.

  • Colin Wilson just looks more engaged and energized. I have been critical of Wilson for getting bouts of Legwanditis (floating and not doing much), but he is skating hard and creating in the offensive zone. I like this and hope he continues to play this way.

  • Craig Smith absolutely ripped a shot from the slot on the power play. Smith has a great shot, and it's good to see him potting some goals.

  • Wow- Forsberg just picked the stick side corner for a power play goal. That was a goal scorer's goal. Excited to see how his game is developing, and he looks like he can turn into the legitimate scoring threat the Predators have so desperately needed.

  • The chemistry that Cullen and Craig Smith have is very good. those two really work well on that line.

  • Cullen had a seeing eye shot through traffic for the game winner. It seems to me that the Predators are doing a much better job of picking corners and not just shooting the puck into the belly of the opposing goaltender.

  • A significant win as it came against a division rival. These divisional games are in reality 4 point games since we can put more distance against a competitor that is trying to gain ground on us.

  • Strong game by Mattias Ekholm, who picked up two assists and had 4 shots on goal. Matty Ek is playing with more confidence and is developing into a solid blueliner.

  • The Predators are 3-2 on through 5 games of this six game road trip.

  • Rinne picked up his 8th win of the year, stopping 33 of 35 shots.
A big bounce back win by this team after their last outing, More importantly, they took the Stars best push and fought back to find a way to win.

These are the kinds of games this team will face in their division all season.

So far, they have shown they can compete and win these games.

My three stars:

1. Pekka Rinne

2. Mattias Ekholm

3. Matt Cullen

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Predators Special Teams Not So Special In 3-1 Loss to the Jets

The Nashville Predators traveled to Winnipeg for their second meeting of the season against the Jets, hoping to have the success they did in their first trip to the MTS Center, a 2-0 shutout.

The Jets did not have the service of Evander Kane in the first contest, but he was on the ice tonight.

Carter Hutton got the start for the Predators, while the Jets went with their starter, Ondrej Pavelec.

Once again, the Predators PK was called upon to kill a penalty. Once again, they didn't. With Matt Cullen in the box for interference, the Jets scored off a deflected point shot by Dustin Byfuglien. Andrew Ladd got the tip of the shot and re-directed it past Hutton to give the Jets the early lead at 2:53 of the first period.

With the Jets on another power play, Mark Scheifele fired a shot from inside the blue line that beat Hutton to make it 2-0 at 5:29 of the first period.

Not exactly the start the Predators wanted or needed.

The Predators generated a couple of good scoring chances but could not convert, and a forgettable first period for the Predators ended with the team on the short end of a 2-0 score.

Much of the second period was lackluster until Filip Forsberg snapped a wrister through the five hole and past Pavelec at 16:17 to make the score 2-1. That goal seemed to energize the Predators and they began to step up their attack in the latter half of the second.

The third period saw the Predators try to generate some scoring chances, and they had a few opportunities, but as was the case for most of this game, the Predators couldn't finish. When they got pucks on goal, Pavalec was solid in net, shutting down the Predators.

With Hutton pulled, Blake wheeler scored in the empty net, and this game was done for the Predators., as they fall to a division rival by a 3-1 score.

Some observations:

  • With all the new faces, you would expect the power play to take some time to gel. But the poor play on the penalty kill is disappointing. The Jets are 28th in the NHL on the power play and one would think the Predators could have some success against the Jets man advantage unit. One would think. Unfortunately, the Preds are 28th on the penalty kill, and that is going to have to improve. Quickly.

  • Forsberg continues to play a complete game and I really like his nose for the net. he has a knack for finding the shooting angles and making good shots. Forsberg leads all rookies in scoring with 12 points (4G-8A) and leads the NHL in +/- with a plus 13.

  • Dadgum- the Predators gave up a 2 on 1 and a 3 on 1 on THEIR power play in the second period.

  • The Predators had two power plays in the first two periods and managed one- count 'em, ONE- shot on net. that is some mighty weak sauce there.

  • Two power plays in the third period and the Predators managed just one shot on net with the man advantage. This is beyond weak sauce. It is awful.
Not much you can say about this game. Well...yes there is.

The Predators special teams will prove to be an Achilles heel for this team if they don't get turned around quickly. Right now, the man advantage unit rarely threatens to score. Tonight, the power play unit had trouble even getting into the zone, much less get shots on net. The PK unit has proven to be average at it's very best.

Both have to improve rapidly for this team to continue to have success.

Two more games on the road trip.

Let's hope we don't have to kill too many penalties.

My three stars:

1. Ondrej Pavalec

2. Mark Scheifele

3. Filip Forsberg

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Forsberg's Two Goals Lead the Predators Past the Canucks 3-1

The Nashville Predators continued their six game road trip with a stop at Rogers Arena to take on the Vancouver Canucks.

So far, the Predators are 1-1 on the trip and were looking to re-establish their momentum after dropping their last game at Calgary.

Pekka Rinne was in net for the Predators, while the Canucks had Eddie Lack between the pipes.

Once again, the Predators special teams proved they are not so special. With Shea Weber in the box, Alex Edler fired a shot off the cross bar that hit Rinne in the back and bounced into the net at 11:10 of the first period.

Hey, maybe the Predators special teams are kinda special after all. With the Canucks serving a too many men on the ice penalty, Fillip Forsberg flipped a puck that was going wide of the net but it hit the skate of Dan Hamhuis and ricocheted past Lack to tie the game at 1 at 1:38 of the second period.

Although the remainder of the second period was scoreless, the Predators brought the attack to the Canucks. They out shot the Canucks 11-3 and kept the play in the Canucks zone for most of the period.

The roles of the teams reversed as the third period opened, with the Canucks attacking the Predators and forcing them back on their heels. They opened the period out shooting the Predators 7-2 through the first 6:30.

The Predators swung momentum back their way when James Neal made a strong drive to the net and put a shot on Lack. Lack couldn't control the rebound and Forsberg, who was in the slot, flipped the puck over the shoulder of Lack to make it 2-1 at 6:57 of the third. The goal was made possible by Neal using his strength and speed to get around Edler and make a strong move to the net.

Colin Wilson gave the Predators some breathing room as he sniped a shot short side over the shoulder of Lack to make it 3-1 at 18:17 of the third. The play was set up by a strong cycle in the corner from Forsberg.

That was it for the scoring as the Predators got back to playing a solid road game and skated away with the victory.

Some observations:

  • Both teams were missing players due to suspensions handed out by the NHL. The Predators would be without Anton Volchenkov for four games, while the Canucks would not have the services of Alex Burrows for three games. This game was the first of the suspension period for each player.

  • Victor Bartley saw his first action of the season on the blue line for the Predators, filling in for Volchenkov. Bartley was paired with Seth Jones on the second D pairing.

  • Lord have mercy, Rinne had to make some great saves in the first period to keep the Canucks from blowing this game wide open.

  • Today was Matt Cullen's 38th birthday.

  • Filip Forsberg has incredible hockey sense. He can go to the tough areas and avoid most of the serious contact and is masterful at handling the puck. His first goal was lucky, but his second was a strong play. he drove the slot, picked up the rebound in close, and was able to elevate the puck over the shoulder of Lack. A veteran play that he- more importantly- finished.

  • Gabriel Bourque has been held off the score sheet for most of the season. But after being a healthy scratch for several games, he has been inserted back into the lineup and is playing with a lot of jump. He brings speed and energy to his line, and hopefully he finds his scoring touch that he had his rookie season.

  • Colin Wilson has quietly been playing some solid hockey. Head Coach Peter Laviolette moved him up and down the lineup tonight and it paid dividends. Wilson's goal was a thing of beauty, finding a very narrow space for the score.

  • The Predators out shot the Canucks 33-27, recording 11 shots in each period. It is refreshing to see this team continuing to consistently push the play irrespective of the score of the game. Hopefully gone are the days where the Predators would go into the third period with a one goal lead and do nothing but sit back and play defense and hope Rinne could shut the door. I would imagine Rinne likes this style of play much better.
The encouraging characteristic of this team is the consistency of play. In most games so far this season, the Predators have consistently put the puck on net and have been aggressive in the offensive zone. This is a winning formula.

A nice rebound by the team after the loss to Calgary.

Now to keep the momentum going.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsburg

2. James Neal

3. Pekka Rinne