I was very fortunate to travel with Cellblock 303 to the game last night, and, despite the outcome, I had a blast. I was planning on taking pictures, but my camera decided to go AWOL on me at the last second, so that was a no-go. If you get a chance to go on a roadtrip of this sort in the future, DO IT!
So here are my thoughts on the game last night, bullet-point style, and not nearly as organized as my last game recap:
- For those of you who know me personally, if only for a short time, it's not hard to figure out I'm a pretty quiet guy. However, being surrounded by 60+ other Preds fans, I found it hard not to participate in all of the chants, yelling, and cheering. I think it's safe to say that our group was by far louder than Atlanta's sparse home crowd. Mad props again to the guys at the Cellblock for putting this trip together.
- Now, the actual game. The effort in the faceoff department tonight was abysmal. Winning 40% of our draws on Saturday night was ok, but winning 29% tonight was asking for all kinds of trouble, and that's exactly what the Preds found themselves in. Both Thrasher goals in regulation came off a Jerred Smithson defensive zone faceoff loss, which, considering Smithson is far and away our best faceoff guy, really speaks volumes. When Vern Fiddler and Scott Nichol were Preds, I never fully understood what their role was; in fact, I never really liked either of them. Now, I'd give anything to have either one, if not both, back.
- Full marks to Ondrej Pavelec on an outstanding game tonight. Sure, he gave up two goals in a 2:30 span, but he shut the door on several glorious scoring opportunities the Preds had. That save he made on Cal O'Reilly late in the third on a tic-tac-toe play just blew my mind.
- Colin Wilson seems to enjoy playing in Philips Arena. He scored the game-winning goal last year, and had a goal and an assist tonight. Hopefully he can keep up his offensive production.
- Has Sergei Kostitsyn finally come alive? He's played very well as of late, picking up an assist for the second game in a row off a drop pass. Hopefully Barry Trotz recognizes that and will continue increasing his ice time as time goes on. Fingers crossed.
- It was nice to witness a little bit of history tonight, as the Preds set a franchise record for consecutive successful penalty kills (37?). It was only fitting that they would give up a power play goal on the very next penalty kill.
- The refs let a lot of calls go tonight. While I appreciate letting the players play, there were some calls that were not made that were blatantly obvious, with a ref a few feet away from the incident. Shea Weber taking a stick to the face late in the first comes to mind, as well as Jerred Smithson having his stick held in front of the Atlanta net during the third. The Preds only had one power play opportunity, and it had numerous opportunities to score, but no goal. Once again, no consistency from the refs.
- Every time a game has gone to overtime this season, we've managed to either lose the game in overtime or end up in a shootout. Very frustrating stuff, as the Preds are letting precious points slip out of their grasp. Winning in regulation would be nice, but having that killer instinct in overtime just hasn't been their this year.
- Kevin Klein made the bus ride back to Nashville an unhappy one for this guy. Sure, the team lost the game, but I still don't understand why Klein waited forever to do something with the puck, and when he finally did something, he kicked it back towards the defensive zone. With two years remaining on his current contract, coupled with Ryan Ellis and Jonathan Blum waiting in the wings, I wonder if Klein's days with Nashville are numbered? Pure speculation on my part, but Klein has time and time again made stupid decisions that end up with the puck in our net. Sometimes enough is enough.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave any comments/corrections on here, or shoot me a tweet (@jfarrar90). Hopefully I'll start posting with regularity in the very near future.