MVP Sports Channel

Laviolette: Win 100

Hi, Friends, Deb here with your weekly Nashville Predators update.

After a productive previous month, our team begins December with high hopes and several upcoming games on home ice in Smashville. As is often the case, there are many ups and downs to fill you in on this week, so hold on to your hats!

Saturday afternoon, the Predators were at Bridgestone Arena for a matinee game, hosting the New Jersey Devils and hoping to bring solid play into this 3-game home stand. Pekka Rinne was in goal for the Preds, but regrettably, they were still missing key players Neal, Ellis, Sissons, Salomaki, and Bitetto who remained out of the lineup with injuries. Scoring got underway in the 1st when Kevin Fiala rattled the strings of the NJ net, and the Devils responded with a goal of their own a minute or so later, getting both teams on the scoreboard. Then Nashville got the scoring advantage shortly before intermission time on a goal by P. K. Subban….2-1 Preds! About 6 minutes into the 2nd, Fiala got his second goal of the afternoon on a dandy pass by Craig Smith to extend Nashville’s lead to 3-1. Roman Josi tacked on another score with a blast from way out “yonder” to carry the Predators to intermission after a very productive 2nd period. As the 3rd period opened, the wheels fell off as the Devils struck twice within the first minute of play to pull back to within one….YOWSA! Coach Peter Laviolette immediately called a momentum-interrupting timeout in which I am almost certain he let our team know his thoughts about them allowing the two quick NJ goals.Things settled down and all seemed well until the Devils scored again with seven minutes remaining to tie the game at 4 each……ugh! Time in regulation expired, sending the game to overtime. In the 3-on-3 five minute OT period, the Preds controlled the puck and got several good looks, but with 20 seconds remaining, NJ scored on a breakaway, to hand Nashville the 5-4 OT loss. Although they had dominated for the first two periods. it was a less than a stellar performance by the Preds who failed to close out a game that should have been theirs.

Only a little over 24 hours later, the Predators were back on home ice with a chance to redeem themselves facing the Philadelphia Flyers. Coach Lavy gave the starting nod to Juuse Saros, who has looked pretty darned impressive during his previous two performances in goal. Neal and Ellis, along with Bitetto, Salamaki, and Sissons remained on injured reserve. The Flyers controlled the pace of the game in the opening minutes. Each team showcased their special teams units with several power plays swapped between them. Near the end of the 1st, Philly was able to convert one to end the period with a 1-0 lead. Nashville got on the board early in the 2nd with a goal by Callie Jarnkrok assisted by Mattias Ekholm and Austin Watson tying the game at one apiece. Then Philly’s Wayne Simmonds put a rebound back in for his second goal of the night, to put the Flyers back in front 2-1. But our guys in gold held tough, and Colin Wilson shot one up and over the glove of Flyers’ goalie Steve Mason to tie the game again. Philadelphia took the lead once again as the momentum swung back and forth ending a very exciting 2nd period with Philadelphia leading 3-2. The final period saw Philly with a scoring chance early on when Nashville was called with a double minor penalty for high sticking, but Saros kept the Preds in the game with some big saves, and the penalty kill unit for Nashville looked solid. Needing a goal to tie, Nashville threw everything they had at the Flyers’ net, but it was a no-go from all sides. The Predators emptied their net for an extra attacker, but could not steal a goal. With 20 seconds remaining, A Philly puck made it into Nashville’s empty net to secure their 4-2 victory. Saros made 24 saves and the team looked good on paper and everywhere else except where it counts…..on the scoreboard.

Things were thankfully looking much better in Smashville on Tuesday night as the Preds got back to their winning ways and took their ninth victory of the season on home ice against the Colorado Avalanche. The Predators started Pekka Rinne in the net and were happy to have James Neal back in the lineup after his time out with injury. Nashville came out of the gate firing as Viktor Arvidsson (I’m liking this guy more and more all the time,) lit the lamp for an early goal, but a turnover turned into a goal for the Avs tying the score 1-1. Then just before intermission, James Neal reminded fans how much he had been missed by shooting a rocket into the Colorado net, his eleventh of the season, to put Nashville back out in front. It was back and forth goals as the 2nd period began, when Colorado’s big gun, Matt Duchene got one by Rinne to tie the game. The Preds responded with a blast from P. K. Subban returning the lead to Nashville, and once again Duchene found the back of the Preds’ net to get the score back to a 3-3 tie to conclude an exciting 2nd period. Near the opening of the 3rd, Roman Josi gave the Preds their final lead with a blast into the Avs’ net. Colorado played with their hair on fire for the remainder of the game, but our guys held onto their lead to gain the 4-3 win and the much-needed 2 points that comes with it. It was the 100th win as Predators’ head coach for Peter Laviolette…..congrats, Coach!

The home stand this week did not yield the wins and points fans had hoped for. But it did end with a huge win. The team takes off for a couple of road games, and then are back here for another string of games in front of their legion of home fans in Smashville. Wherever they hit the ice, we know our Predators will give us plenty of excitement. Be sure to stay tuned!

Go, Preds!

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