MVP Sports Channel

Points, Wins; Just What the Preds Needed

Hello, Predators Fans!

Deb here welcoming you back into the zone for the latest info on what’s happening on the ice in Smashville. Our team is home at Bridgestone Arena for three huge games this week as we try to gain some ground in the standings for playoff contention.

Monday night’s game was against the Arizona Coyotes, who brought their record of 26-36-9 to town. Pekka Rinne defended Nashville’s goal in this very important matchup. It was all about defensive play in the 1st as the shot counter showed only 9 shots combined in the entire period, and none rattled the net strings. In the 2nd, our ole buddy Viktor Arvidsson got the Predators on the scoreboard when he was in position to pick up a rebound and place it over goalie Mike Smith’s shoulder and into the Coyotes’ net; it was Arvy’s 27th goal of the year……YEAH! With more shots and several huge saves for both net-minders throughout the period, Ryan Ellis was finally able to be in his favorite spot at the top of the circle and blast one in to give Nashville a 2-0 lead. It was a solid performance by our guys in the 2nd. Then in the 3rd, Ellis took a beautiful pass from Craig Smith and buried a slap shot home to pick up his second goal of the night and his 14th of the season…3-0, Preds! The Coyotes did make it onto the board on a power play goal with about 3 ½ minutes remaining to make it 3-1. They emptied their net, but the Preds’ defense held, Rinne was solid, and they were not successful with the extra attacker. Nashville took the victory 3-1 and socked away the needed 2 points.

On Thursday, the Calgary Flames, a red-hot team of late, came to Smashville for an important game with our Predators. It was the deciding game of the season’s series between these two teams who are currently in the two Wild Card spots in the standings of the Western Conference. The Preds are clawing and scratching to overtake rivals St. Louis who hold the 3rd place spot. Nashville started our main man, Pekka Rinne between the pipes and was without Captain Mike Fisher who is listed out day-to-day with a lower body injury. Nashville’s penalty kill unit was tested and Rinne made some fantastic saves in the 1st, and the opening period was scoreless. In the 2nd, Callie Jarnkrok took a spot-on pass from Craig Smith and lit the lamp to put the Preds out in front about midway though the period. Then Colton Sissons, who happened to be playing his 100th career NHL game, tallied his 6th goal of the season, giving our guys a 2-0 lead. But the Flames responded with a goal off of a Preds’ turnover in their defensive zone…..2-1, Nashville. It was surely not the Predators’ typical 2nd period, as they notched only 3 shots on goal during the entire period. Fortunately, they were able to hold on to their single-goal lead. With about 8 minutes remaining, Ryan Ellis banged home his third goal in the last two games, extending our team’s lead to 3-1. Nashville’s defense held as Calgary emptied their net, and the Predators got the win and 2 more crucial points.

The 3-game home stand wound down on Saturday night with the San Jose Sharks coming to town to take on our Predators in Smashville. Our guys certainly have no warm and fuzzy feelings toward the Sharks, as they were their 2nd round opponents in the playoffs last year and after 7 grueling games, sent our guys home, ending their hopes for hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup. Pekka Rinne was again in goal for Nashville. Scoring got underway early in the game on a goal by Colton Sissons, grabbing his second goal in as many games and handing the Preds a 1-0 lead. With about 5 minutes remaining in the 1st, Roman Josi fired a beauty that landed inches outside the goal line, and tough guy, Cody McLeod was there to finish it off, 2-0 Predators. But the Sharks were not going anywhere. About 5 minutes into the 2nd, San Jose cashed in on a Preds’ mistake and buried the puck, notching a power play goal and cutting Nashville’s lead to 2-1. The Sharks then went to the penalty box giving our guys the man advantage, and 24 seconds later, James Neal sank a quick snap shot right off a face-off and BAM, 3-1 Predators! Emotions (and mouths) were running as pushing and shoving abounded in this very physical game….(my personal favorite kind.) About midway through the period, the Predators found themselves in a heap o’ trouble in a 4-on-3 situation and needing a huge showing from their penalty kill unit. It held until SJ committed an infraction of their own, bringing the players back to even strength—-whew! Then P. K. Subban fired one in for the Preds, a goal that was challenged by the Sharks’ coaching staff. Thankfully, it was upheld ….4-1, Preds! The Sharks got another one back near the end of this action-packed period, and we went to intermission with Nashville ahead 4-2. In the 3rd, Nashville set up in their offensive zone with Colton Sissons in position to redirect a Craig Smith blast into the net and give our guys an insurance goal. After a roughing call that escalated and turned into a 5 minute major for SJ, the Preds found themselves on a huge power play and tallied another goal, putting them ahead 6-2. And finally, with San Jose on a power play, and only 37 seconds left, Viktor Arvidsson picked up a loose puck an buried a short-handed goal to end this one 7-2…WOW! It was an impressive performance in every aspect of the game by our guys against a very tough and gritty San Jose team, picking up 2 points at a very critical time…….atta boys!

It was a great slate of games this week with the Predators picking up wins and points that were badly-needed. They head north for a couple of road games this next week; then are back home for a couple. It is gut-check time for our team; they are scheduled to play the remaining 8 games on the regular schedule in an 11-day span. Chasing that elusive 3rd place spot in the conference, they must maintain their focus and keep their foot on the gas. We know they can do it! Stay tuned!

Go, Preds!

 

NashvilleDebra Murray is a weekly contributing writer for MVP Sports Channel (and die-hard fan of the Nashville Predators).

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