It probably wasn’t as pretty as they would have liked, but the Nashville Predators grinded out a win against the Edmonton Oilers in front of 15,682 hockey hungry fans. That is a very good turnout for a Tuesday night in Music City USA. I heard the fans were absolutely sensational tonight, so I tip my hat to ya’ll. It has been widely speculated that the team USA’s gold medal game has had a huge affect on ticket sales. Hopefully this trend continues in the near and far future.
Back to the game of hockey.
First Period notes:
6:37- Nashville is off to a great start. Not. They give up a goal to Mike Comrie. I can’t really fault Pekka Rinne for letting this one in because it was a rebound goal. I really don’t think he had a chance unless he fell on it before Comrie could put it in on the rebound. This goal came on a 3-1 because Shea Weber got caught pinching in the offensive zone. Certainly not the way the Preds wanted to start their first game back after the Olympic break.
12:14- Colin Wilson rips a wrister right by a screened Jeff Deslauries. Now, under normal circumstances, the score is the most important part of the play, but the biggest story line here has to be the assist by newly acquired Denis Grebeshkov. It’s going to take a while to type that without spelling errors… no offense to Mr. Grebeshkov. Grebeshkov did a great job keeping the play alive. Very well done indeed. The irony here is the Oilers traded Grebeshkov (Did he have a nickname in Edmonton? If, not can we come up with one …soon!) for Nashville’s 2nd round pick yesterday. Must be nice getting on the score sheet in your first game against the team that traded you. Sweet!
14:55- But no! Mr. Grebeshkov was not done. In order to add insult to injury, he decided to shoot a laser past Jeff Deslauries. Confession is good for the soul, so let’s have a heart to heart here. I have to admit, I was a little surprised when Poile traded for Grebeshkov, but if he keeps this up, he will be a very welcome addition to the Preds on the blue line. Overall, I thought Grebeshkov played very well tonight, though he was out there for two goals against. I am willing to give him a by on his first game though. The pairing of Bouillon and Grebeshkov was very good tonight.
15:00- I am starting to wonder if David Poile will choose to not move Dan Hamhuis. Think about it this way, the Predator’s blue line is now Weber/Suter, Hamhuis/Klein, Bouillon/Grebeshkov. That is a very solid blue line going into the playoffs. This probably means that Sulzer, Laakso, Franson, or a different defenseman will be moved at the deadline in order to make room for a player that can put the puck in the net. If this happens, do the Predators keep Hamhuis or Grebeshkov? So many questions, so little time!
11:53- Edmonton strikes right after their power play expires thanks to Gilbert Brule tipping a puck out of mid air right past Pekka Rinne. Rinne had no chance on this one so I won’t bother chewing him or the defense out. Game is now tied at two a piece.
12:00- Rumors are starting to pop up everywhere that St. Louis wants Dan Hamhuis + for Brad Boyes. While I love the idea of adding Boyes, Dan Hamhuis is quietly having his best game of the season, which of course makes me ask the obvious question: Where has this Dan Hamhuis been all season? I dunno, but he certainly has not been playing like he played tonight.
15:12- Shea “Golden” Weber blasts a shot past the obviously shell shocked goaltender, giving the Predators a rare (almost extinct) power play goal. You could see the relief on Patric Hornqvist face when the puck missed his legs, and instead, found the back of the net. If there is one thing you can praise Patric Hornqvist for, it is his willingness to go to the front of the net, even when Shea “Golden” Weber is shooting. If you haven’t seen Weber shoot the puck through the net yet, check out this nugget.
You can’t understand what they are saying, but I think it is probably something like “Oh, my God, that cannon should have been banned at the Geneva Convention.”
3:50ish- Cogliano scores. Oh, wait no he doesn’t. The puck did it’s best vanishing trick and went through the bottom of the net. This was an easy call and was waived off, but Pekka Rinne was steaming. You could literally tell he was going to bite the officials’ fingers off if they called it a goal. Kind of a bizarre, “What the hell is that?” moment for an obviously frustrated Finnish goalie.
2:07- Both teams are starting to trade chances, seems to me like the rust is coming off. Crisper passes and more checking should make this a tight game from here on out.
2:54- Edmonton scores on an awfully weak goal. Marc Pouliot comes screaming down the wing and rifles a slap shot from the blue line. Pekka Rinne looks dazed as it flutters into the net. Certainly not cool for a guy we just signed for 6.8M over the next two years… I don’t see the Preds winning this one in regulation. This one was a deflating goal.
5:01- But fate shines her beautiful face on the Nashville faithful as Jason Arnott throws the puck in front from behind the net, only to have it glance off of Strudwick, and skid into the net. The look of relief on Arnott’s face mirrored the immense relief Hornqvist displayed after the Weber shot skimmed by him. Sometimes it is better to be lucky, than to be good. This is the case for Jason Arnott. Dan Hamhuis also found himself on the boxscore in what might be his last game as a Nashville Predator.
19:00- Just for grins and giggles, the Predators refuse to get the puck out their zone, resulting in panic attacks for all Preds fans, but they did manage to end up winning this game 4-3.
Overall, I would say the Predators had very little rust to shake off after the two week break. Weber and Suter were down right spectacular as always. Weber (21:21 TOI) with 1 goal and 4 shots, Suter (22:24 TOI) and 1 assist. Dan Hamhuis and Denis Grebeshkov were both on fire tonight. Dan tallied one assist, one monster hip check, and was 3rd on the team with 20:23 TOI. Grebeshkov lead the way with one goal and one assist. He will be a valuable asset on the blue line in the near (maybe far) future.
I will have a full break down of the trade deadline when I’m fully recovered. Right now I would probably write a lot of four letter words that might offend some people. Until then, cheers.
About the Author
Written by Chris Rydburg
Chris currently attends my Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He hopes to one day be a high school teacher.