Sunday, January 2, 2011

Predators overcome sloppy start, dominate Blue Jackets 4-1

When one looked at the Predators performance after the first period, it just didn't seem like they came to play against division rival Columbus. The team did a 180-degree turn, however, and pummeled the Jackets during the final forty minutes.

1st Period

  • Terrible start to the game. Way too many turnovers and failed clearance attempts, and ultimately led to RJ Umberger tipping a Marc Methot shot past Pekka Rinne 37 seconds in.
  • The Predators were terrible in the faceoff department in the first. I don't remember the exact statistic, but all I remember was faceoff loss, after faceoff loss, after faceoff loss...
  • The Preds got seven shots in the period, but not one was a quality scoring chance. You seeing a trend as to how the first period went?

2nd Period

  • It was obvious the Preds were a different team once they stepped back on the ice (Due to this, per Josh Cooper). A little over a minute into the period, Marek Svatos had the first quality scoring chance, weaving through Columbus' defense and getting off a shot. Svatos got 11:12 TOI tonight, with two SOG. I cannot wait to see what he can do as his ice time increases and he gets more comfortable.
  • Shortly thereafter, Colin Wilson fed Shea Weber, who let loose with a cannon that beat Steve Mason at 2:59 with, you guessed it, Patric Hornqvist fearlessly parked in front.
  • The next ten minutes went by with both teams exchanging chances, and the Preds finally broke through at 13:51 as Weber fired a shot on net that Mason blocked off to the side, right to Nick Spaling who, as he was falling away from the puck, managed to get his stick on it to slide it into the open net. Definitely the type of goal one could see a player like Spaling score.
  • The Preds first two power play opportunities were abysmal. Luckily, the third time was a charm tonight. At 16:50, Ryan Suter fed Weber, who again let loose with a shot. The rebound came out to Hornqvist, who, AGAIN falling away from the puck, whiffed on the first attempt to put the puck on goal, but got enough on his second attempt to get the puck under Mason's pads.
  • Just a dominating period by Nashville, outshooting Columbus 11-5.

3rd Period

  • At 5:53, the Preds got the Frosty goal, as Sergei Kostitsyn showed great awareness by making sure Colin Wilson's shot that rang off the crossbar and off the goal line did in fact go in.  Seconds before that, Kostitsyn did a great job of muscling the Columbus defender off the puck, gaining possession, and feeding Wilson. Would one have seen that during his tenure in Montreal? Something tells me no. That's eight goals for SK74, and we're not even halfway through the season. So far, so good.
  • I was surprised that things did not get really chippy as the end of the game neared. Wade Belak found himself on the ice a lot more than he's accustomed to, getting 2 shots in 8:44 TOI; and they were actually decent chances at that (?!). There was a bit of a scuffle as the final horn sounded, but it was just a little odd that there wasn't tempers flaring during the third like we're used to seeing between these two teams.
Other Thoughts

  • Another assist for David Legwand, giving him three in the two games he's played in his return. Yeah, the Preds missed him dearly.
  • Big night from the captain, stepping up after the sloppy first period and contributing with a goal and two assists. He has he cannon firing again. Look out, world.
  • Just when you thought the Preds were starting to get players back from injury, Cal O'Reilly goes down in the third period, suffering a broken leg (I didn't see the play leading up to Cal's injury, so I have no idea how he sustained it). What else can go wrong injury-wise for this team?
Next up for the Preds, a west coast trip to California as they play the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks, before returning home for one game against Minnesota next Tuesday night.

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