Sunday, February 13, 2011

Preds show resiliency, upend Avalanche in Fisher's first game

When Peter Forsberg signed with the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, it appeared the headline for tonight's game would solely revolve around his return to Music City.

Then Thursday rolled around.

In a whirlwind of activity, Mike Fisher suddenly found himself traded to Nashville, and Peter Forsberg's return suddenly become a secondary headline. Fisher had a very impressive debut, while Forsberg almost seemed non-existent, as the Nashville Predators defeated the Avalanche in front of a sold-out Bridgestone Arena by a final of 5-3.

1st Period
  • I was privileged to be at the game tonight, and the buzz around the Bridge tonight leading up to the opening faceoff was incredible. Fans came out early to see what Mike Fisher could bring to the team, and once he hit the ice during warmups... wow.
  • The crowd was really into the game once the puck dropped, and were momentarily taken out of it at 11:05. Colin Wilson turned the puck over just past the Nashville blue line, resulting in a Colorado 2-on-1. Kevin Porter and Paul Stastny played give-and-go, with Porter ending up all alone against Pekka Rinne, and in turn slid the puck under a sprawling Rinne.
  • 11 seconds later, the Preds answered as Shea Weber sent a wrister past Budaj, with Mike Fisher planted right in front of Avs goaltender Peter Budaj. It's nice to have another player outside of Patric Hornqvist who does that. 
  • It was a period statistically dominated by Nashville, as they led the shot count 10-4 after one period. The fact that Colorado had played the night before left some concern as to why Nashville was tied up to this point.
2nd Period
  • Nashville's questionable powerplay struck for the second game in a row at 4:36, as Martin Erat received a Patric Hornqvist centering pass and, after having his initial shot stop, kept banging away at the puck until it ended up behind Budaj. That two consecutive games in which Erat has scored a goal. Hopefully that will continue as we hit the home stretch.
  • Another defensive gaffe led to Colorado's second goal at 9:13, as the Preds defense broke down and allowed an uncovered David Jones to cut in front of Rinne while in possession of the puck, and Jones made them pay, sliding the puck past Pekka's left pad, tying the game.
3rd Period
  • Colorado re-took the lead at 2:54, as Matt Duchene skated in down the left side of the Preds zone and sent a missile past a seemingly surprised Rinne. That play looked way too similar to a play Paul Kariya would make; way too similar. I was really looking forward to seeing Duchene play tonight, and he didn't disappoint; he's a superstar in the making.
  • Colorado took a page out of Nashville's playbook of hanging onto a lead, as Patric Hornqvist responded with his own goal merely 1:17 later. David Legwand centered a pass from behind the net to Horndog, who fired a wrister from between the faceoff circles past Budaj.
  • The closer the end of regulation got, the more nervous I became; Nashville's overtime record speaks for itself. At 17:30, Cody Franson answered the bell, gloving a Colorado clearing attempt at the point, and quickly firing a wrister that beat a clearly surprised Budaj. For the time being, overtime was not going to happen.
  • And it wouldn't. David Legwand potted an empty net goal at 19:14, and Mike Fisher was credited with the secondary assist on the goal, his first as a Predator.
Other Thoughts
  • What a return for Forsberg, eh? Almost non-existent offensively, and took two penalties in the second penalty. I'm guessing Avs fans are pretty thrilled with his performance during his first two games. Not.
  • Mike Fisher had one assist, two shots, was a plus-2, and won 12 out of 16 faceoffs in 18:10 of ice time. An impressive debut.
Another solid win for the Preds, gaining two more points while jumping back into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. Next week will be huge for the Preds, as they have home games against the Sharks, Canucks, and Coyotes, three teams also vying for playoff spots. 

No comments:

Post a Comment