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Happy Pred’s Year! | Nashville

Hi there, Predators Fans!

It is post-Christmas week, and a BIG one for our guys in gold as they face three Central Division rivals in a row, all of whom are ahead of the Preds in the standings. This makes getting wins and points pretty darned crucial this upcoming week.

The lineup of big games kicked off on Tuesday night in Smashville as the Minnesota Wild brought their 11-game point streak to town. Nashville played catch-up from early in the game as the Wild’s Zack Parise put up the only score of the 1st period about six minutes in. Then early in the 2nd, Filip Forsberg lit the lamp to get the crowd going, but only a minute or so later, the Wild answered back with another goal putting them ahead 2-1. With about eleven minutes remaining in the 2nd, Reid Boucher (no relation to the Water Boy, Bobby) notched his first goal as a Predator, tying the score again. No other pucks made it through for either team in regulation, so the game was forced to overtime—NOT good news for the Preds according to recent history. The OT struggles continued for Nashville as halfway through the 5-minutes, 3 on 3 extra period, Minnesota got one past Pekka Rinne to steal the 3-2 OT win and hand Nashville their sixth OT/SO loss of the season—-Geezaloo, we HAVE to be better at play after regulation!

On Thursday night, the dreaded Chicago Blackhawks came to Bridgestone to take on the Preds in a huge Western Conference match-up. The Hawks struck first in the opening period about midway through with a power play goal, but the Predators came right back with a shot from Filip Forsberg to knot the score at one apiece. Special teams play was showcased in the 2nd with power plays and penalty kills from both, but no score from either. With about fourteen minutes remaining in regulation, the Predators took their first lead of the night with a power play goal by Captain Mike Fisher.  Then five minutes later, Chicago scored on a blast during a power play from a controversial call, tying the game back at 2. The Blackhawks then got the lead back on a goal by Patrick Kane with five minutes remaining…GRRRR! Despite solid play all around from the Predators, they were not able to put up the needed goal and fell short in this one 3-2. It was a frustrating loss for our guys in that they out-shot, out-played, and did everything but out-score their rival team from Chicago.

One night later, our guys traveled to St. Louis to face another top-ranked Western Conference foe. Giving Rinne a night of rest, Nashville started backup goalie Juuse Saros. Saros has a 95% rate of stops in games he has played in goal this season, so the team has great confidence in him. Nashville successfully killed off a couple of penalties, and the 1st period was scoreless. But about five minutes into the 2nd, Yannick Weber slipped one past the Blues’ goalie (his first goal as a Predator) to give Nashville a 1-0 lead. Then Filip Forsberg (who hopefully is finding his hot hand in scoring) fired one in to push Nashville ahead 2-0. With a bit over two minutes left in the 2nd, Viktor Arvidsson once again showed his speed and prowess by lighting the lamp, extending the Nashville lead to 3-0. It was a stellar period for the Predators, and they weren’t finished yet! Midway in the 3rd period, Nashville stacked up another score when Colin Wilson put in his 6th goal of the year on a power play. The Preds held on to soundly defeat the Blues and give Saros his first NHL career shut-out after stopping all 25 of the Blues’ shots on goal….awesome!

This week’s games once again showed fans the highs and lows that come with supporting any team. Although the week ended well, clearly our team has work to do to play with more consistency for the full sixty minutes each game. We will put that high on our list of hopes for the new year when the Preds return to the ice next Tuesday.  To you all, may I offer my wishes for a happy and blessed new year, and as always…..

 Go, Preds!

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