MVP Sports Channel

The Deb Zone: Preds & Flying Pigs

 

Hi, Friends…..Deb here again with your weekly update on our Nashville Predators. 

Quite  bit of hockey has been played over the last few days, and I will be sharing some details along with a few of my thoughts.  Lots of highs and lows go along with following any team, and this week certainly proved that…..Whew!

First up was game 4 last Friday night in Detroit against the storied Red Wings at Joe Lewis Arena. This is a team and building that is steeped in hockey history and tradition, so we never know what may happen when playing them.  Our starter in the net, Pekka Rinne, was under siege and was up to the task stopping 38 of 43 shots. With no score in the opening period, the Red Wings struck first in the second.  But the Preds capitalized on two Detroit penalties with power play goals by P. K. Subban and Mike Ribero within 18 seconds of each other, exciting the visiting fans with a sudden 2-1 Nashville lead.  The Red Wings tied things up as the second period closed and then scored twice more in the third.  Shortly after, Mike Fisher added the Preds’ third power play goal of the night making the score 4-3.  With a final push to attempt a last-minute tie, the Preds pulled Rinne out, only to have the Wings score an empty-netter to seal the 5-3 win.  It was a tough loss for our guys, made tougher still by an illness which sidelined two Predators, Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith, limiting them to only a few minutes of playing time each.  That illness spread to other team members after the game and on through to the following day.

Throughout Saturday, reports poured in that the mysterious illness was a bout of food poisoning which presumably came about from the team’s pre-game meal in Detroit.  The Preds were to be back in Nashville that night, hosting the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburg Penguins.  As the day wore on, it was announced that several players were now ill and would be unable to be on the ice that evening.  The Preds were forced to call up players from the Milwaukee Admirals (the AHL “farm team” affiliated with the Predators) to fill the empty spots.  The prospect of playing such a strong opponent with a fractured roster was a scary thought.  Fans feared the game might be ugly, and we may get our “clocks cleaned.” Predators’ coach Peter Laviolette had told the media that “his team would come up with a plan, one way or another, before game time.” Boy, oh boy…….did they ever! Kevin Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson each lit the lamp twice, and Juuse Saros, who was called up for the emergency, played an amazing game in goal, allowing only one score and turning away 34 shots, earning his first NHL win and helping Nashville power through to a 5-1 victory over the defending champion Penguins.  It was a spectacular win under the most extenuating of circumstances, and I for one, could not stop shaking my head and smiling.  Predators’ broadcaster Pete Weber spoke of the surprising outcome after the game by remarking that with the Preds soundly defeating the Penguins while missing many of their top players, AND the Chicago Cubs advancing to the World Series on that same night, we had all better watch out for flying pigs!  I could not agree more!

On Wednesday night, the Preds began a lengthy road trip at the Honda Center taking on the Anaheim Ducks.  The regular line-up was back on the ice for Nashville, including Pekka Rinne between the pipes.  The Ducks struck first with a power play goal early, and the Preds could not convert on their own power play opportunity, so the period ended 1-0. It was in the 2nd period that the “wheels fell off” completely.  The Ducks began a series of even strength goals, power play goals, and short-handed goals which led Coach Laviolette to pull Rinne out of the net and replace him with Marek Mazanec.  There was no improvement however, and the scoring barrage continued. A disastrous 2nd period for the Preds ended with a 6-0 lead for Anaheim—Yikes! The Predators did play somewhat better in the 3rd period, with their lone goal of the night coming from Colin Wilson on the power play, his second of the year.  The game ended with a 6-1 victory for the Ducks.  It was a real “stinker” for the Preds, but this happens sometimes to every team.  Hopefully the guys would be able to chalk it up, learn from the mistakes that were made, and move on.

In Thursday night’s game, Nashville traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Kings at the Staples Center in an attempt to redeem themselves.  Rinne was back in goal for the Preds facing what is typically a high-powered offense from the Kings.  Although very physical, the 1st period ended with no score.  About midway through the 2nd, Craig Smith opened the scoring with his second goal of the year, giving Nashville a 1-0 lead.  But L.A. responded with a power play goal, tying the game at one each, heading into the 2nd intermission.  The 3rd period began fast and furious with a short-handed goal by Viktor Arvidsson, his fourth goal of the year, giving the Preds a 2-1 lead, But that was quickly negated when L.A. lit the lamp only a few seconds later. The score remained tied through the rest of regulation, sending the game to overtime, our first bonus hockey of the young season.  3 on 3 overtime play (a definite weakness for our team last season) began with the Predators making a clutch penalty kill, but the Kings got the OT victory with a shot that ricocheted into the net shortly before time expired.  Rinne stopped 42 of 45 shots, and overall, the team played a much improved game in L.A.

The Predators’ second full week of play gave fans the full gambit of emotions….from agony to ecstasy.  A huge win over the defending Stanley Cup champs followed by a 6-1 trouncing, certainly proved that.  All fans know that anything can happen in sports…….that’s why we love it!  See ya next week for more…..

Go, Preds!

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