Predators Dominate Avalanche in Season Finale

Nashville Predators 6 vs Colorado Avalanche 1

The Nashville Predators defeat the Colorado Avalanche, 6-1 in the 2011-2012 Regular Season Finale at Pepsi Center. The game was controlled by the Predators from beginning to end. Although, you could that the Avalanche wanted this game, for the fans. They were playing hard and checking hard. Colorado just couldn’t take advantage of their chances. And that is why the score is a blowout.

Anders Lindback left the game 2:14 in the third period. A report from the Nashville Predators locker room says that Lindback is day-to-day with an upper body injury. It seemed like Lindback had a head injury because Ryan Ellis fell on his head, but now we kind of know.. Lindback went down and as soon as he got up, he went right towards the locker room. Hopefully Anders isn’t hurt too bad, as the Predators will need him in case Pekka Rinne has an off night.

The Nashville Predators finish the Regular Season on a high note by winning 4 of the last 5 games and winning 3 straight. Their record at the end of the season is 48-26-8 with 104 points. Now, the Predators go to the post-season and will play the Detroit Red Wings in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Nashville Clinches 4th and Home-Ice, but plays ‘Wings

Even before going into Saturday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche, the Nashville Predators clinched Home-Ice Advantage through at least the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Not to mention, the Predators are going to be playing the Red Wings in the First Round.

The Chicago Blackhawks were able to hold off the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout, to get the win. If Chicago were to win in regulation, they would be playing the Predators in the First Round. But, the Red Wings were able to take the game into overtime, where they were guaranteed 5th place. The ‘Wings ended up losing and tied the Predators at 102, but because of the tie-breaker, Nashville is in front. The Predators ended up getting 104 points, so the tiebreaker doesn’t matter.

The Nashville Predators will play the Detroit Red Wings for the third time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Times and dates will be announced Sunday at Noon CT. What we do know as that Game 1 will be in Music City.

Trotz Decides to Rest Players

Many fans around the league have different views on how to play, or not to play, their team’s players. Some say sit your stars to avoid injury and let them rest. While others would say, resting players is a mistake and will make them slow in the first Playoff game. And the odd ones, like me, have mixed feelings and share similar opinions.

After the game, I was on the side of “Resting Players” because Patric Hornqvist was shaken up a couple of times with big hits. Ryan O’Byrne’s hit on Hornqvist made him limp to the bench. Luckily, he was out there his next shift. If he was to get injured before the playoffs, that would have been a huge blow to the team. Hornqvist is the toughest guy in that locker room.

Saturday night, Barry Trotz chose to sit regulars in the line-up. Hal Gill, Francis Bouillon, Mike Fisher and Sergei Kostitsyn were scratched, while Pekka Rinne sat behind the bench to watch the game as Anders Lindback got the start. 

I am actually surprised that Shea Weber and Ryan Suter aren’t scratched. If these two were scratched, the lines would just shift forward. Another surprise to me was that Andrei Kostitsyn, David Legwand and Alexander Radulov weren’t on the same line. I guess Trotz has changed the line to Gabriel Bourque in replacement of Andrei Kostitsyn.

I did like that Barry Trotz decided not to scratch Alex Radulov, Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad, as they are all trying to get more familiar to the system before the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I liked that Trotz decided to scratch the whole first line, Sergei Kostitsyn, Mike Fisher and Martin Erat, as this wouldn’t mess up the line combinations.

Beamer, Benz or Bentley?

Barry Trotz’s job has gotten a lot tougher after Saturday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. With his first line scratched to get some rest, Colin Wilson, Matt Halischuk and Craig Smith were put into the line-up. Okay, those group of guys aren’t exactly high end, but they are very effective when coming into the line-up.

Colin Wilson had himself a solid game. Wilson had an assist and went +2 in the +/- category. He had a shot on net and went on the ice for 14:00. 

Craig Smith had a great game Saturday night. Smith gave the Predators the go-ahead goal after Matt Duchene tied the game up. Craig added two assists as well. His first assist was when gave Roman Josi his one-timer goal that made the game 4-1. Smith’s second assist was in the Matt Halischuk goal. His other stats include three shots on goal, +3, a good penalty, shot and 13:35 of ice time.

Matt Halischuk had himself a great game as well. Halischuk added a goal and an assist, Saturday night. Halischuk’s goal was sick, as he picked his corner on Giguere and scored. The assist Matt had was the go-ahead goal by Craig Smith.

Now Barry Trotz has to ask himself, after tonight, who do I go with in Game 1? Brandon Yip, Matt Halischuk, Craig Smith or Jordin Tootoo. Honestly, I wouldn’t understand why Jordin Tootoo would be in the line-up in Game 1. Instead of Tootoo, put in Matt Halischuk, a goal scorer. 

Brandon Yip and Craig Smith are going to battle it out during practice for that spot in the line-up. I would rather have Brandon Yip, only because he has gelled with the team a lot more than Smith. But, I wouldn’t have a problem with who goes in either way.

Season Series

Date Away Home Result
1/10 NSH COL 4-1 NSH
1/12 COL NSH 2-3 NSH
3/8 COL NSH 2-4 NSH
4/7 NSH COL 6-1 NSH

Line Up Report

Starting Goalies:

Name SV SH Decision SV % TOI
#39 Anders Lindback 34 35 W .971 42:05
#35 Jean-Sebastien Giguere 23 29 L .793 60:00
#35 Pekka Rinne 10 10 1.000 17:46

Yellow: Replacement

Predators Scratches: #10 W Martin Erat, #12 C Mike Fisher, #51 D Francis Bouillon, #75 D Hal Gill, #74 W Sergei Kostitsyn, #72 W Jack Maclellan and #23 W Brian McGrattan

Avalanche Scratches: #5 D Shane O’Brien, #12 C Kevin Porter and #27 W Steve Downie

Period by Period Summary

First Period

  • 3:39 in, Gabriel Bourque passed to David Legwand from the right wall to Giguere. Legwand had a ton of time to shoot, and did so to score. That made it 1-0 Predators.
  • 4:01 in, Shea Weber went on a breakaway, but the puck never settled down. Weber went back-hand, but couldn’t get anything on the shot as he was tripped up.
  • 8:09 in, Matt Duchene picked up the second rebound, the third shot, and put the puck in the net. Duchene tied the game at 1.
  • 8:49 in, Anders Lindback made a huge save on Hunwick by going post to post.
  • 12:03 in, Matt Halischuk and Craig Smith went on a 2 on 1. Smith’s pass to Halischuk was deflected and disrupted by Giguere. Then, this next play happened.
  • 12:10 in, Matt Halischuk passed behind the back, in the corner, to Craig Smith in the slot. Smith’s shot trickled into the net after Giguere tipped the puck. Smith’s goal made it 2-1 Predators.
  • 15:13 in, Chuck Kobasew went to the box for interference. Kobasew nailed Andrei Kostitsyn away from the puck. Clear and textbook call.
  • 16:08 in, Matt Hunwick went to the dressing room because of an injury. He hobbled to the bench in pain. He came back at the beginning of the second.
  • 17:13 in, Kobasew’s penalty was killed off. Nashville didn’t have a shot on net.
  • 19:37 in, Patric Hornqvist whipped his shot across his body that rang off the post.
  • 19:59 in, Kevin Klein’s shot from the point, went off Hejduk and Hornqvist before it went into the net with 1.1 remaining. Hornqvist somehow got a tip on that, as he just turned around to see where the puck went.  
  • The First Period ended with Nashville on top, 3-1. Colorado led in shots through one, 14-12.

Second Period

  • 3:56 in, Milan Hejduk attempted a re-direction in front, but Lindback held his post to keep the puck out.
  • 10:25 in, Ryan Wilson’s slapper from the point was robbed by Lindback using his arm extension. 
  • 11:20 in, O’Byne put a huge hit on Hornqvist next to the Colorado penalty box. Hornqvist limped to the bench, but remained on.
  • 13:40 in, Hornqvist was hammered once again in his first shift back.
  • 14:03 in, Patric Hornqvist had enough and hit an Avalanche player. Erik Johnson went after Hornqvist and grabbed him to start hitting him. Johnson went to penalty box for roughing and Hornqvist went to the penalty box for cross-checking. The game went to 4 on 4.
  • 16:03 in, both players came out of the box.
  • 16:09 in, Craig Smith from the left circle of Giguere, passed to Roman Josi coming down from the left side. Josi shot immediately and made the score 4-1 Predators.
  • 19:25 in, Tyson Barrie tried to get around three Predators defensemen, as he quickly shot into Lindback’s glove.
  • 19:45 in, Craig Smith went to the box for hooking. Smith made a good penalty by holding Duchene back from the puck with an open net. The penalty carried over to the third period.
  • At the end of the second period, Nashville led 4-1. Colorado led in shots, 32-21.

Third Period

  • 1:45 in, Smith’s penalty was killed off.
  • 1:48 in, Brandon Yip went on a break-away, but was stopped pn his back-hand.
  • 1:57 in, Yip scored a wrap-around, five-hole on Giguere. That made it 5-1 Predators.
  • 2:14 in, Anders Lindback left the game with an injury, which looked like a head injury as Ryan Ellis made contact with Lindback’s head. Pekka Rinne came into the game to finish off Lindback’s win.
  • 6:20 in, Matt Halischuk and Colin Wilson went on a 2 on 1. Halischuk took the shot himself to score over the shoulder of Giguere. Halischuk made it 6-1 Predators.
  • 8:17 in, Ryan Wilson’s shot from the point was hard to control by Rinne, as he left a rebound in the crease. Luckily, it was cleared away by a Pred defenseman.
  • 8:51 in, Andrei Kostitsyn rang a shot off the post.
  • 12:14 in, Joe Sacco used his only Time Out.
  • 13:36 in, Halischuk forced a turnover and went 1 on 1 down the ice. Halischuk’s slap-shot was cradled in the chest of Giguere.
  • The game ended with Nashville winning, 6-1. Colorado won in shots, 45-29.

Colorado Avalanche Players to Watch:

Name G A +/- TOI
#92 Gabriel Landeskog 0 0 -2 16:55
#37 Ryan O’Reilly 0 0 -2 16:36
#26 Paul Stastny 0 0 0 15:28

Scoring Summary

David Legwand – Bourque and Radulov at 3:39 in the 1st
Matt Duchene – Kobasew and McLeod at 8:09 in the 1st
Craig Smith – Halischuk and Wilson at 12:10 in the 1st
Patric Hornqvist – Klein and A. Kostitsyn at 19:59 in the 1st
Roman Josi – Smith and Klein at 16:09 in the 2nd
Brandon Yip – Spaling at 1:57 in the 3rd
Matt Halischuk – Smith at 6:20 in the 3rd

My Three Stars of the Game

1. Anders Lindback: 34 Saves
2. Craig Smith: Goal & 2 Assists
3. Matt Halischuk: Goal & Assist

Game Highlights