Predators Shoot Ducks, And Shoot, And Shoot…

Tonight, the Nashville Predators set out on the journey to put the bitter memories of last season behind them and their fans.  It all started with a great opening video that really got the crowd pumped.  It ended with a dominating performance by the Nashville Predators as they beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 and poured 49 shots on Jonas Hiller.

The first period was fast and energetic on the part of the Predators.  O’Reilly’s stick work really stood out.  The Lombardi-Wilson combination also really worked well as did the Goc-Dumont combination.  For Anaheim, only Hiller appeared to be on top of his game.  While the Predators did not tally in the first, they did throw 16 shots on net several of which were golden opportunities that were turned aside by Hiller.

The second period saw the overall pace by the Predators slow down.  It also saw the only stretch of the game where the Ducks showed any sign of life.  They put 19 of their 37 shots on net in the second by taking advantage of several power play opportunities, including a 5-3.  While they were unable to score on the power play, Saku Koivu was left uncovered as he drove the slot and made the Predators pay.  After that score, the Predators seemed to get their mojo back when Steve Sullivan scored the first power play goal for the young season.  Patric Hornqvist would score one of his patented dirty goals as he banged home the rebound from a Shea Weber blast.

The third period saw the Predators ratchet up the shots on goal by taking advantage of several power play opportunities themselves including their own 5-3.  While unable to capitalize on those power play opportunities, David Legwand was able to bang home his own rebound to extend the lead to 4-1.

Full play-by-play can be found on my Twitter feed.

The Highs

  • The Predators played with great energy and put a ton of shots on goal.  Trotz was able to roll all four lines.
  • Shea Weber and Ryan Suter showed why they are elite defensemen in the League.  Both made a great save to prevent a sure goal when the goalie was out of position.  Both cracked the scoreboard.  Weber put 8 shots on net and Suter put 5 himself.
  • Patric Hornqvist picked right up where he left off.  His great screen of Hiller allowed Sullivan’s shot to find the twine for first power play goal of the season.  He followed that up by crashing the net and putting a Shea Weber blast past Hiller for his first goal.  Hornqvist put 5 shots on net.
  • Steve Sullivan showed that he still has speed.  When he finally puts one of those breakaways past the goaltender, maybe they’ll come in bunches.
  • Cal O’Reilly  had a solid game.  He distributed the puck well and really fit between Sullivan and Hornqvist.  What impressed me the most, however, was his ability to play a two-way game.  His stick work was really good.

Room For Improvement

  • Martin Erat played a fairly solid game, but never got any shots on net.
  • The power play started very slow, but looks like it’s on the right path.  After that first attempt, they moved without the puck much, much better- and of course put one past Hiller.

Final Thoughts

It was a great night for the team.  They really were able to have their way with the Ducks’ defense.  Matthew Lombardi may not have gotten on the scoresheet, but he looked really solid out there and had two fantastic chances that Hiller stopped.  The penalty kill looked pretty good and the power play definitely showed signs of moving in the right direction.  As for the injury to Pekka Rinne, Trotz told the assembled media in the post game presser that it is not serious and that Rinne is day-to-day.  They may recall a goaltender Monday as a precaution.

The next game will see the Predators visit the Chicago Blackhawks.  It will be interesting to see how they handle their first trip back to the United Center since the Game 5 debacle.

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About the Author: Nashville Predators Blogger, Software Engineer (C#.NET), Novice Woodworker, Southern Cook, Husband, Father of Two. You may contact me at David.R.Singleton AT gmail.com.

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