The Predators came out cold in Winnipeg and got a poor start from Carter Hutton as they went behind the barrel early in the game. Nashville dropped three quick goals in the first and a fourth goal later in the period which lead to the team fighting a steep uphill battle for the remaining forty minutes. Mazanec played 51 minutes in his first ever NHL appearance and looked absolutely average doing it.
Pavelec and the top line of the Jets were the difference makers in this game. Pavelec faced 41 shots and earned his first shutout of the season while the Ladd-Little-Wheeler line caused problems whenever they were on the ice and scored two for the Jets.
The Predators got quite frustrated during the second and third periods, but even then were getting out matched physically. Clune threw down to start the second period but other than that there were few good hits from Nashville to write home about. Just a stale game all around for the away team.
With the loss, the Preds fall to 8-6-2, and have earned 5/8 points in the first three games of the franchise's longest ever road trip. The Jury is still out on which goalie will get the start against New Jersey on Sunday.
Hutton again suspect in nets: Hutton has found success against the Jets and was hoping to bounce back from shaky performances down the stretch. But his 2-0 record did nothing for him as he was lit up early allowing 3 goals on 8 shots in 8 minutes. Hutton was pulled and with Hellberg currently playing against Texas tonight in the AHL, it was Mazanec who entered the game in relief to get his first taste of NHL action. Mazanec faired well, especially in the second when he turned away all 10 shots.
Ekholm earns time on top pairing: Perhaps somewhat disappointed in the Jones and Weber pairing, who were -2 in the first period, Trotz promoted Mattias Ekholm to the first line in a straight swap for Jones. Ekholm was coming off a four game point streak – all assists – and has looked very good all season, especially for a player that seemed to be on the cuff of making the lineup. Jones was demoted to the third pairing with Ellis. I doubt that this swap will carry over to the next matchup.
Good penalty kill for Preds: Nashville has killed off their last six penalties and all without the expertise of Matt Hendricks. In tonight's five goal game the Preds were still 4/4 on the penalty kill which at least shows a good effort in that category. The star studded defensive cast alongside the likes of Spaling, Gaustad, Nystrom and uuhhh … whoever they are putting out there in place of Hendricks, are doing well. It's just great positional play and no nonsense when clearing the puck. The other special team, the powerplay, still a bit hot and cold.
Nashville throws it all at the net, can't beat Pavelec: It was another night where shot quality came into question for the Preds. They missed a few sitters that could have changed the swing of things, but in the end all shots just seemed to be easily handled in the mid section of Pavelec. The opposing net minder was positionally sound but in the end he only had to make one or two really big saves. It was another night of quantity over quality for Nashville offensive unit. Nonetheless, give credit to Pavelec on his first shutout of the season.
1 – 0 WPG Bryan Little (9) from Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler at 3:04 in the first
2-0 WPG Olli Jokinen (3) from Evander Kane and Keaton Ellerby at 6:47 in the first
3-0 WPG Dustin Byfuglien (1) from Grant Clitson and Chris Thorburn at 8:23 in the first
goalie change – Mazanec in for Hutton
4-0 WPG Devin Setoguchi (4) from Olli Jokinen at 16:45 in the first
5-0 WPG Bryan Little (10) from Andrew Ladd and Blanke Wheeler at 9:53 in the third.
NSH: Carter Hutton(L) – 5 saves on 8 shots (.625); played 8:23
NSH: Marek Mazanec (L) – 22 saves on 24 shots (.917) played 51:37
WPG: Ondrej Pavelec (W) – 41 saves on 41 shots (1.000) played 60:00
My Three Stars
1. Bryan Little – 2G
2. Ondrej Pavelec – 41 saves
3. Andrew Ladd – 2A (both Primary)
Line Up Report
Predators scratches: Bartley (Healthy), Hendricks (Upper body), Fisher (Lower Body)
Predators starters: Spaling, Gaustad, Clune, Weber, Jones, Hutton
Winnipeg scratches: Peluso, Redmond
Winnipeg starters: Halischuk, Scheifele, Frolik, Pardy, Ellerby, Pavelec
Time on Ice – WPG