It was all about the shaky goals last night at the JoBoing.com arena in Phoenix. A beauty, surprise snipe by Matt Hendricks opened the scoring early – but the quality goals were few and far between after that in a game that involved two backup tendy's. Preds went up 3-0 in the first with Legwand and Nystrom getting the other two goals, both of which took pretty sporadic bounces before trickling through Greiss. The Coyotes responded with a fluky goal of their own, a low shot from over the blue line that slid under Hutton's unsuspecting glove. Derek Morris then had the nicest goal of the game, although it came from an absolutely mental lapse by the Preds that saw all 5 plays in a quarter of their own zone. Morris took a slapper from the blue line that beat Hutton over the shoulder. Although it did go bar down, Hutton seemed slightly out of position. Hard to place blame there.
At 3-2 going into the third, Coyotes seemed to have all the momentum. Paul Gaustad tried to put the game away early in the third with his second of the year in the 4th minute mark of the third. But it was only an early momentum boots for Nashville, as Phoenix came back with two quick goals – one on the powerplay by Doan and another one by Vermette who caught Jones trying to take a line change and broke in on a breakaway. Legwand took a bad penalty in overtime that caused a lot of stress but was desperately killed off. We then went to a shootout where we got no goals on five chances (0/8 on the season in shooutouts). Hutton did well but finally let one in on Boedker.
David Legwand three point game. Legwand is now tied with Patrick Kane, Joffrey Lupul and many others with 9 points (1G 2A). Legwand had a sick 3 point game and now leads the team in points. Although only two of them are goals, Legwand is proving to be very effective this season, and has also been quite the powerplay contributor. Although that penalty in overtime was a bit brutal.
Barry "the Jester" Trotz: Some line juggling tonight by the head coach as Stalberg got an opportunity on the 1st line, with Fisher and Wilson, which he more or less blew. Stalberg looked … uninspired on the first line after being benched for two days. I would like to see him get another chance – but his production is just abysmal. He did save the Preds from ending the period at 3-3 as a weak, weak shot snuck through Hutton's wickets and would have tied it up if it wasn't for a last minute clearance off the line by Stalberg. The second line was unchanged – Bourque, Cullen, Smith – they went – 3. Legwand centered a third offensive unit to Nystrom and Hornqvist. A line that actually looked surprisingly decent. The fourth line was the leftover centerman line – Spaling, Gaustad, Hendricks.
Jones does enough to stay in the top pairing: Roman Josi's return brought on the much anticipated decision for the Preds coaching team: to break up Jones and Weber and return to the early season pairing or to leave the rookie with arguably the best mentor in the league. For tonight it was status quo in the top pairing. Josi dropped to the second line with Klein and Ellis stayed in the lineup to play alongside Ekholm. I like it much better this way – Klein/Jones seemed like a liability when they paired together. Weber/Jones and Josi/Klein is a solid top 4 D.
Hutton didn't look great – Need to be honest. He entered overtime allowing 4 goals on 21 shots for a .810 sv% . He seemed to over commit on just about everything. For a team that relies so heavily on it's goalie that isn't going to cut it. I wouldn't be surprised if Hellberg starts on Saturday in LA. There was a point tonight where it looked like he was going to make an appearance. He needs to be given a chance as Hutton has been questionable in consecutive games.
Shootout lineup: Smith, Cullen Fisher, Bourque and Legwand all missed. We went with Smith, Forsberg and Cullen against Minnesota and went goaless. That's 0/8 this season on the shooutout. We did get one goal on a Nystrom in game penalty shot this season. And for some reason I seem to remember another but am having a hard time looking it up. If nothing else, Hutton did really really well in the shootout.
1-0 NSH: Matt Hendricks (1) – David Legwand, Mattias Ekholm (9:00 1st)
2-0 NSH: Eric Nystrom (3) – Patric Hornqvist, David Legwand (14:12 1st)
3-0 NSH: David Legwand (2) PP – Seth Jones, Shea Weber (18:24 1st)
3-1 NSH: Jordan Szwarz (1) – Zbynek Michalek, Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2:21 2nd)
3-2 NSH: Derek Morris (2) – Keith Yandle, David Moss (9:51 2nd)
4-2 NSH: Paul Gaustad (2) – Nick Spaling (4:15 3rd)
4-3 NSH: Shane Doan (4) PP – Mike Ribeiro, Keith Yandle (6:16 3rd)
4-4 PHO: Antoine Vermette (4) – Shane Doan, Kyle Chipchura
Misses: Ribeiro, Smith, Vrbata, Cullen, Ekman-Larssen, Fisher, Rundblad, Bourque, Legwand
NSH: Carter Hutton(L) – 21 saves on 25 shots; played 65:00
PHO: Thomas Greiss (W) – 36 saves on 40 shots; played 65:00
My Three Stars
1. David Legwand – 1G 2 A
2. Shane Doan – 1G, 1A
3. Thomas Greiss – 36 saves on 40 shots.
Line Up Report
Predators scratches: Clune, Forsberg, Bartley
Predators starters: Hendricks, Gaustad, Nystrom, Klein, Ekholm and Hutton
Coyotes scratches:Hanzal, Schlemko, Gormley
Coyotes starters: Klinkhammer, Vermette, Doan, Yandle, Morris