What a difference a day makes. 24 hours after handing the Detroit Red Wings 2 points, the Nashville Predators came home on the tail of a 5 game losing streak. Having arrived in Nashville after midnight due to the snow storm and flight delays, the Predators came out gunning on all cylindars Saturday night against Atlanta.
The scoring started off with back to back goals by Joal Ward and Jarred Smithson in the first 10 minutes of the game. It seems like forever since Nashville has scored 1st and you could tell the team had a little extra step in their game as a result. Atlanta was able to cut the score in half with a power play goal by Bryan Little at the 13:57 mark in the 1st.
The 2nd Period was one of those back and forth efforts by Nashville where they 'acted' like they were in control, but the results didn't follow. A goal by Martin Erat 11 minutes into the 2nd was quickly followed by back to back goals over the next 3 minutes by Chris Thorburn and Bryan Little to tie up the game at 3-3. The painful part was Thorburn's goal was a short hander that resulted from a poor passing and defensive lazziness.
Fortunetely for Nashville, they only had to wait 7 seconds into the 3rd period to reclaim the lead. A beautiful bang bang play off of the faceoff sent Jason Arnott crashing towards the net for his 13th goal of the season. The rest of the game was an exciting back and forth effort from both teams trying to capture 2 points.
Overall it was an exciting game and a much needed 2 points for Nashville. The defensive pairing of Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Klien continues to look horrible and was eventually (thank goodness) broken up late in the 3rd period. It will be interesting to see if there are any 'upper body injuries' that comes out of this game as Erat, Arnott, and Klien took a beating with their bodies.
As with every game, there are is the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tonight was no different.
1) Shots on Goal
2) Scoring from multiple lines
3) Continued maturity from the young talent – Franson and Spalding
1) Special Teams – 1 Short Handed Goal Allowed / 0-5 n the power play including a 0 shot effort on a 5 on 3 power play that lasted almost a minute and a half.
2) David Legwand - Coach Trotz continues to defend Legwand by suggesting he is more of a defensive forward tasked with shutting down the #1 line of the opponant. One would think that if you are on the ice as a defensive forward that they would not score 3 goals..But the biggest issue is that he has 1 point in his last 8 games. That won't cut it with the size of his contract.
3) Penalties – It isn't that Nashville is committing a high number of penalties as much as it is the timing of those penalties. The Predators need to get back to skating and not using their sticks as a defensive tool. ie hooking, tripping, slashing.
1) The Hamhuis / Klien line – At some point, Barry Trotz has to address why why continues to use this line combination. Both a are good players, but they have no chemistry between them. At least Trotz broke up the line in the last few minutes of the game or there was a pretty good chance that Atlanta would have scored.
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Written by Mark Jasper