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Game Recaps

Friday, February 08, 2008

2/7 - Preds v. Frightening

by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

a game that you simply have to say a few things about... and then try to forget;

...the game after an OT loss is what determines how you ultimately mentally feel about that OT loss. win the next game, and the point gained in this one looks so much better (you think, we've gained points in 2 consecutive games). lose saturday, and this OT loss looks so much worse (you think we've now lost two in a row).

...a point we certainly didn't deserve.
...hope the lethargic play was the flu.
...hordichuk was terrible. taking those two unforced icings helped give them the momentum.
...our forwards lost all battles for the puck in our defensive end along the boards.
...our forwards pretty much stunk in every facet of the game. only 10 total shots by our forwards in this whole game.
...we focused far too much on worrying about lecavalier's line. we reacted to them, not them to us.
...we should have led 3-0 after the first period. but we we lucky we also weren't behind 3-1 after two periods.
...don't care what stats say, they had zero real scoring chances in the entire first period.
...to play so well in the first, made this tougher to watch.
...the turning point was of course, the 3 minute stretch in the 2nd when our 4th line couldn't get the puck for 3 minutes, and took 3 icings.
...ellis with a good game. two rebound goals, the first being unavoidable, the second not.
...2 goals in 2 games yet 3 points. a minor miracle.
...the normal 13k people there. the same 10 thousand you can truly depend on to support this team, with the normal rotation of about 2-5 casual gawkers. a shame there's not more interest.

oh well. have to simply block this one from the memory banks. we have to start getting some offense somewhere else other than rads and dumont. has to come from the pp or from legwand/bonk/erat or the blueline. anywhere. if not, it's going to kill us the second rads cools off.

Posted by Section 303 at 8:11 AM

Sunday, February 03, 2008

2/3 - Preds v. Wild Dingos

by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

wow.. that was close..

what an exciting, extremely hardfought game that one was. a game where when you walked out of it, you felt dog-tired, or at least i did. a game where you could never relax, where you felt as if we were hanging on by our fingernails from the minute where they scored their first goal early there midway thru the second and of course that is exactly what we were doing. kept glancing up at the time clock the rest of the night, thinking ok 20... 12... 8... 5 minutes to go, can we hold them off? felt like forever whenever you looked up.

a few morning after random thoughts:

...ellis, this kid has simply been consistently good. you just have confidence now that whenever he started he'll give you a chance to win. another solid game. in fact a very good game.

...what a play hamhuis made swatting that puck out of the air after it bounced off ellis' glove. huge play.

...shame to see dumont's strak end. he could have had 3 or 4 assists, and a goal himself very easily.

...great to see erat-legwand step up with arnott out. that's what we had to have.

...erat with a fine game. in fact that line with a fine game. some nights you want to scream at him to pass the puck when he's skating around and not giving it up. then he makes a couple of plays like last night and you say, "uhh, ok nevermind". some nights that works, other it doesn't. it did last night.

...what a great screen peverley had on erat's goal. bryz was caught peeking back to his right around him, which in turn left that little crack shortside just as the puck got there.

...what an amazing between the legs, perfectly placed inside the upper corner defelction on the legwand goal.

...both those goals were basically perfect plays by us... they had to be, because you had the feeling it was going to take perfect plays and luck to beat bryzgalov - and it did, all three goals.

...thank goodness we won in OT and didn't have to go to a shootout. i just knew we would lose if that had happened.

...always a special atmosphere when you have a sellout in the place. can feel the enregy and hear the buzz constantly.

...rads was a special player out there last night. generated some mighty good chances out of nothing several times. mighty dangeros when he takes the puck off the right halfboard into the slot, because he seems to be able to generate a shot out of nowhere when he's going back to his left. he's so herky-jerky that he surprises defenders when he shoots the puck, you just cann't read when he's ready to shoot.

...funny, 6 good shots before the game winner. and he scores by one bouncing off his shoulder without him getting a stick on it.

this is a bunch of guys you simply ought to love as a team. if the truth be known and recognized, we're a slightly undermanned group out there, with obvious shortcomings. and yet, we're a good team. we're a good team because we play hard, people each have recognized and bought into their roles, and these guys obviously believe they're better than they probably really are.

i almost feel sorry for those unhappy with this team, because if you spend all your time worrying about "yeah but what will we do in the playoffs?" and worrying how badly we need another top line winger and a million other things, well you're missing some mighty good hockey moments.

funny how when you recognize what a dogfight you're in to even make the playoffs how much more enjoyable it makes every single win. every game feels so critical. probably because it is. fcm said it the other day, we basically have playoffs for the remaining 29 games. a person needs to recognize that and savor every little twist and turn. this is a team that a guy can be proud of being a fan of, a hardworking, gritty little band of brothers type team.

going to be quite the ride these next two months, not for the feint of heart...

Posted by Section 303 at 9:53 AM

Sunday, January 06, 2008

1/5 - Preds v. Mild

by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

a fine win, exactly what we needed... hard to start naming people tonight, lots of strong games from several players.. hamhuis, erat, gelinas, radulov, ellis, devries.. pretty much name anyone and he somehow contributed..

a game where hustle and hard work made breaks go our way early.... some might say we simply got a lucky bounce and a seeing eye shot on the first two goals.. but both happened because we were skating hard and putting pressure in the right spots..

ellis is hot, red hot in fact.. admittedly, lots of those big explosive rebounds tonight that we've been talking about, that credit has to go to the defense for getting to and clearing.. but ellis did what good goaltenders do, made the first save all night and let the team work to clear rebounds.. a couple of fine in close stops on a couple of sequences as well..

a great crowd of course, great atmosphere in the place.. nothing like the arena with a capacity crowd.. a fine touch for the players to come out and salute the fans afterwards.. very nicely done.. outstanding that the team decided to do that, brought quite the roar from the crowd..

just maybe things are coming together for this hard-skating group of underdogs... a nice little stretch already behind us since christmas, with hopefully things turning in our favor here schedule wise.. funny how much better things look when you start getting good goaltending, start taking better care of the puck, start getting a couple of players hot at the same time, start playing pretty solidly on special teams, start playing solid defensively, and start to get a little scoring balance from three different lines.. do those things and this isn't a bad little hockey team..

now we need a good little road trip, need to find a way to win two of these three (ANA, STL, CLB) and keep this momentum going our way..

a pleased hockey fan tonight, we'll talk the technical good and bad things tomorrow, but for tonight it's time to simply sit back and enjoy a good win.

Posted by Section 303 at 11:37 AM

Friday, January 04, 2008

1/3 - Preds v. $100/barrell Oilers

by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

hockey is a mighty simple game, when you get good goaltending, and get great special team play. of course, the skeptic might argue that edmonton is simply that bad of a hockey team, and it'd be hard to argue against that, rarely have i seen an edmonton team look that weak. but that doesn't change the fact one iota that we went out and played a mighty solid all around game, in a game we really needed to win. a few brief notes, from a guy that is mighty sick with the flu;

...radulov. the kid is heating up. you know he's an awfully streaky type player, and can carry the team when he's hot. he's hot right now, we need him to stay that way for about two months.

...arnott. great steal from grebeshkov on the 2nd rads goal. if that had been our defenseman that got caught with his head down we'd be crucifying him this morning instead of saying arnott made a grreat play.

...who were those guys in our sweaters on our powerplays? whoever they were, let's don't tell anyone. we got as many shots as edmonton did on our pp as when they were on their pp (7 each). and we did it in only 3:33 of pp time, while they had 13:16. our pp basically dominated the game, despite us only having 3 attempts.

...defensively, we played a pretty solid game. the two goals allowed were sort of flukish to be honest. the 2nd one a result of our pk getting a little cute (suter) trying to poke the puck out to legwand instead of hammering it out.

...ellis with another solid game. the stortini goal he got caught trying to reach and pokecheck the puck away, where he was in good position before. that's what happens when a goalie tries a pokecheck and misses, he's always caught down low in the net after a miss and is an easy target.

...on the penalty shot, ellis with a very different type of stop than you normally see. as brodziak skates in and dekes forehand to backhand and go around ellis, ellis puts the paddle down square at his feet and basically trips brodziak away from the puck which rolls ahead off his stick cause he cann't keep skating forward. a heady, if very unusual stop.

...trotz seemed in a sour mood in postgame. basically i think he was attempting to keep players from getting big headed, after what was generally a very solid effort on our part. legwand with tootoo and gelinas isn't going to produce many great offensive chances honestly. suter had the little giveaway on the pp goal allowed, thought this was primarily what trotz was reffering to.

...erat with "back spasms". what that was from i don't know. we cann't afford to not have erat for any length of time. he simply has become so proficient at controlling the puck down deep in that behind the net set. we have to have someone in the slot with him out there that can finish.

..funny hearing hordy say he planned on having 20 fights. did ok against stortini. the old jump in and get in a few punches before he can react strategy paid off. also funny to hear him say he had to get trotz to give him the head nod to go.

...koistinen again with a good game on the pp point. don't have any idea who you sit when weber comes back, but i don't see how it can be koistinen right now. for what it's worth zanon with 4 giveaways last night.

...hamhuis with one great shift, a diving breakup of a 2 on 1, followed immediately by a big hipcheck along the boards.

....zidlicky with that one great play where he walks around a defender and walks straight in on garon, and you're yelling "shoot, shooot!!! you have to take that shot!!" and then he proceeds to make an impossible pass over to arnott for the tap in -- and you say, well, heh heh, great play zids and sit back down shaking your head..

great fun at the old arena last night. lots of good people to watch the game with, really enjoyed it all despite being sick as a dog.

Posted by Section 303 at 8:33 AM

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

12/31 - Preds v. (B-List) Stars

by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

a few more thoughts this morning over a cup of coffee:

...dallas announcers, called radulov a "quirky" player, talking about his flailing about and wild skating style. actually thats a pretty accurate description.

...in the first period, on what may have well have actually been the best stars scoring chance, bonk with a great play to reach and clear a puck right in front of ellis. thought at the time this play most likely saved a goal.

...also in the first, when koistinen made that little curl and drag move and walked into the low slot and shot the puck into a falling into the net turco, that that puck went in the net. at first when the water bottle flew i almost jumped up and yelled. but then i thought turco might actually have carried the puck into the net. zubov made nichol look like the fastest skater on the planet... twice.

...one thing that set up our goal, was the long cycle shift right before it by tootoo, bonk, gelinas. tootoo fanned on a great scoring chance himself in the mid slot near the end of that shift. but that pressure helped cause the goal next shift you felt.

...we did a good job of driving the net and creating chaos in front of turco several times. smithson, dumont, gelinas all had good chances with people laying all over the crease and turco.

...koistinen with that nice little drag shot, then the post from the point, then that changeup from the point that turco had gone back to his right on and barely got a toe back left to stop. three really good chances, in fact all three our best chances other than nichols two.

..we got killed in the faceoff dot. arnott only 2 for 17.

nothing more exciting and nailbiting than the last 2 or 3 minutes of a one goal hockey game... had a horror of them finding a way to kick a goal in those last 4-5 minutes and spoil this one. ellis played his best hockey right here. the morrow one timer from the mid slot was close. as was the daley shot in the last few seconds from the low slot. the two toughest stops ellis had to make i thought, both in the final couple of minutes.

on another note, wrap yourselves in some optimism this new years day:

over the past month or so, i've talked several times about how difficult a stretch of games we've had here this first half of the season and how we are now heading into a two month stretch, where the schedule gets "easier" and we have a chance to put together a run. in general, we play more home games these next two months (16 of 27). we also tend to play more of the bottom 15 teams on the road during this stretch, and many of the top 15 type teams we play during these two months will be at home... so just in very general terms an "easier" two months.

sagarin, the computer guy for USA Today, confirms some of this in this ranking of his where overall strength of schedule is measured for each NHL team so far this year:


lots of figures and complicated formulas, but what sagarin says is that of all the teams in the league, so far we have had the 3rd toughest schedule these first 38 games. toughest being a measure of how many 'top 10' teams we have played (21 of our 38 games), and top 16 teams we have played (28 of our 38 games) cross-indexed with whether those games were played at home or on the road.

schedules largely equal out as the season goes on. now our strength of schedule gets markedly easier for these next two months. just a little confirmation of what i've been saying... we're getting ready to have our shot, starting right now.

Posted by Section 303 at 9:29 AM

Sunday, December 30, 2007

12/29 - Preds v. Guppies

by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

well... can't say any of that game was really enjoyable... a game that just never 'felt' right from the opening moments. possible it's the fact we only had 13k in the building on a saturday night against a team that is supposed to be a "hated" rival. a few thoughts, that some will obviously not like;

first... our goaltending...

...mason is the nicest, best, most likable guy on a team of good guys.. you simply ache to want the guy to succeed... but this is a business, a heartless business. now i know you could take any single shot from last night and say "well this or that happened, so it really wasn't mase's fault here". and you'd be correct. it's the cumulative effect of all five goals that get you, each where we have some excuse, but also each where mase didn't get it done. two horrible rebound goals, two soft shots where he is screened, and the one where he's beaten cleanly from a simple unscreened wrister after the toots turnover. 5 mistakes, 5 goals allowed. simple as that.

...9 seasons. this is the first one where we haven't gotten good goaltending. a new thing for us.

...the team cann't become more consistent until the goaltending becomes more consistent. right now, mason is simply not playing well enough for us to win many nights.

...right now, every time we make a mistake it seems it winds up in the back of our net. a team cann't play hockey like that. a team has to have confidence that they're allowed to make a mistake every now when trying to make something happen in the offensive end. if they don't have that confidence, it in effect slows down your offense to a crawl, and hurts you on the other end of the ice. right now, this is happening to us.

...since any mistake seems to cost us a goal, we cann't take offensive risks. it slows our breakouts, because we have to make sure all 5 skaters come back and get the puck out of the zone every single time. when's the last time you remember this team having an odd man rush? that's because we have 5 guys have to come back and get the puck every possession. because if we don't, we know it'll probably end up in our net.

...since we know any mistake we make winds up making the redlight go around, it means in our offensive end, we have try to always keep 3 men out high to eliminate odd man rushes back against us. so we basically have to think defense first when we're trying to play offense. we're forced to always play offense like we're protecting a two goal lead, even when we're tied or a goal behind. this of course penalizes our offense badly.

...since we're afraid any turnover is a goal against us, instead of carrying the puck out of our zone and maintaining puck possession, our constant goal in our end is to chip the puck out of the zone. we're constantly giving the puck back to other teams, because we don't trust our own goaltending.

it is frustrating for sure. he simply has to erase some of the mistakes we make. it's a visious cycle. we have to play defensive first hockey because we cann't score goals, but we cann't score goals because we have to play defensive hockey. mason is better than this -- how much better i simply don't know.

as was noted from his record last year, when he dominated the bottom 8 teams, but had a poor record against playoff teams. maybe he truly is good enough to beat the weak teams, but not good enough most nights to beat the better offensive teams night in and night out.

i don't know anymore. i do know this, when your goalie has a .892 save percentage and over a 3.00 gaa, you're not going to win many games. something has to happen here, he either has to turn it around -- and soon -- or you have to go get someone else.. or you have to write off the season.

Posted by Section 303 at 8:25 AM

Friday, December 28, 2007

12/27 - Preds v. Flap Jacks

by pred303guy
(courtesy of the Nashville Predators message boards)

an exciting game for sure... we might not always play well (and we certainly don't), but this team has no quit in them and they always play hard. hard not to like that about this little bunch. a lesser bunch might have folded the tent after falling behind with 5 minutes to go. i know i felt like doing it. a few random bullet observations;

...re-sign tootoo this week. love him or hate him, the guy is walking excitement on what otherwise is a fairly nondescript roster. what a huge goal that one was.

...the tootoo hit on foote early basically set the stage for us to lead this game for most of the night. he got lucky in the third on what might have been a late hit, but another fine game by tootoo.

...koistinen. easy to say a guy played well even if he didn't, when he scores the winning goal. but koistinen had a really good game all around. the 3 point, +3 shows that pretty well.

...would have been easy for him to have been the goat in this one though. it was his defensive gaff that allowed boll to break in all alone on mason in the third right after the tieing toots goal. shows how easy it is to be either the goat or hero every game.

...legwand deflected the radulov goal in. thought so in person, and then watched it on replay and still think so. second time this year i remember legwand should have been credited with a deflection and wasn't.

...legwand with a tremendous play to set up the game winner. great patience. great pass.

...mase with a strange game. lots of fine saves. two bad rebound goals allowed and the painful slow motion rolling puck one. but give him credit, he was good enough to win on a night where it would have been easy to not be.

...zidlicky with a great pass to arnott on the 5 on 3 and another fine feed to tootoo for the tieing goal. love him or hate him, he does have good ice vision out there on the point.

...notice erat limped off at about the 5 minute mark again. that was why bonk was out there with legwand and radulov on the game winner.

...we of course didn't really play that well. a decimated jacket team, that stinks offensively even with everybody playing. and they get 39 shots against us. of course 12 of those shots came on all those pp's we kept giving them in the second. but, we won, and that's what's important.

...really funny to see us own these guys so completely. man i hate this team.

...rimmer and gare. watched their replay when i got home. easily the two worse announcers in sports right now. have never heard such blatant whining and crying about everything as last night, even from them. the rimmer statement "they must be slow to get new technology down here" when talking about the refs being on the phone and not a headset, almost made me go back down to the arena to find him and beat the snot out of him.

...for all you transplanted northern people down here now, it's this type of subtle (or not so subtle) predjudice that drives southerners mad. the idea that somehow the south is less intelligent and backward compared to the north that is so prevelant that you see perpetuated in the media and among many in the north. can't do it to anyone else, but it's ok to "make fun" of southerners still in our otherwise politically correct society. southerners have had to put up with this crap for 150 years, and living here and having it insinuated about you, you can begin to see why we resent it so much i'm sure.

screw columbus. screw rimmer and gare. i hope we beat their frigging heads in for 10 more years.

Posted by Section 303 at 8:07 AM

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