Big game tonight! I'm excited about getting the chance to watch it...unfortunately it is on Fox Sports Detroit, and I'll have to hear Mickey Redmond whine about every call against the Wings. Hopefully I hear a lot of whining!
I am amazed that this game is tied. 6 penalties killed, two of them in part 5 on 3's, hell of a job by our PK. Need to come out with jump in the 2nd and its time to take charge on a powerplay of our own, its been a while.
That means in the last 4 periods of play Detroit has had 17 powerplays, while giving up 5. What the hell is that about?
Last edited by Peter Angelo: 11-22-2007 at 08:03 PM.
the refs must have been testing their new whistles out tonight. one in particular was making goal line calls from the red line(while the goal line ref calls nothing ). this was par for the course until the headlock call we got(i think in the 2nd) in which the red line red line ref who finally realizes he doesn't have the best angle calls nothing. and how do we get a hooking and diving call on the same play(that leads to the wings 2nd goal)? either it is one or the other, it can't be both.
suffice to say having the game tied at the end of the first given all of the calls against us was huge. and bonk was a great pick-up(thank you captian obvious).
good win against the #1 team in the western confernce, even if it was at home on a holiday against a team on b2b nights(which has been the case lately). these are the games we need to win. hopefully weber and sully will get back into the game and we can start having some not-so-close games.
in all good game. and btw: beer and turkey must be the food of the lutos eaters......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
It was great to be back at the Sommet Center watching the Predators play again. I've missed a bunch of the games thus far, both home and away, due to travelling with the MTSU Hockey team, but man oh man was this the game to come back to.
First, let me start by thanking PredChef for a fantastic pregame Thanksgiving dinner at the Suite Level Club. For those of you that have never tried it, it is a great experience and one I highly recommend...especially when bringing someone to their first game - it leaves quite a positive impression. I saw Handtrick and his extended family there (sorry about the plate shattering next to your table, my sister is still mortified) and didn't see one person leave without a big smile on their face. Compliments to the chef!!!
Onto the game...
One of the main keys when playing Detroit is that you must get out to a fast start and not let them get an early goal. The Blues shot themselves in the foot last night when Eric Brewer flipped the puck over the glass from his defensive zone 12 seconds into the game and the Wings promptly jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 9 seconds later. Final tallies last night, Detroit ~40 shots, St. Louis 12 shots, Wings win 3-0. Let's just say that we didn't get the start we wanted either, but thankfully we were able to pull it out. Mason definitely wanted that first goal back and you could tell it. Chris got caught anticipating the pass from the side of the net out to Zetterberg standing in front, but Franzen saw Zanon going down to block the passing lane and flicked it near side on Mason and caught him leaning off the post. 1-0 Detroit on the power play.
So we're down 1-0 right off the bat on a power play goal...what do we do...we bear down of course and take it to Detroit...NOT!!! We proceed to wear out the path to the penalty box with undisciplined penalties and a few ticky-tac calls mixed in for good measure and give Detroit almost half a period of power play time, including two 5 v 3's that lasted for nearly two minutes total...but the penalty-killers did a tremendous job preventing Detroit's patented cross-crease passes with Holmstrom or Franzen setting the pick in front and Mason did a fantastic job of just getting a piece of every puck that came his way and at the end of all the power play time...it was still 1-0!
The game right here could have gone either way. First, the Predators should obviously have the momentum after killing off all those penalties and getting back to even strength, but this is the Red Wings we're facing tonight and had they gone down and pressured us in our end coming off the power plays and especially had they scored a goal, the momentum would have totally been going for Detroit and it would have been lights out.
To their credit, the Erat-Arnott-Dumont line was the first out over the boards after the penalty kill and they played simple hockey by getting the puck deep in Red Wings territory, cycling the puck beneath the goal line, and working a great passing play from Erat to Dumont out front to Arny for the quick snapshot that caught Hasek flat-footed and tied the game up. BANG, 1-1! Shots 11-2 for Detroit at this point.
Nashville kept the pressure on Detroit through the rest of the period and really established the fact that we could definitely play with them at even-strength. Final shot tallies at the end of one period read 13-7 Detroit, score tied at a goal apiece.
The Predators continued to trade chances with Detroit in the second period, although we weren't playing the firewagon hockey that has been a trademark of this team the past two seasons, instead we were playing smart in all three zones on the rink. First, in the defensive zone we had all five men back inside the blueline staying with their men and denying Detroit many easy scoring opportunities that they are used to from constantly moving their feet and attacking from all angles. Second, we were smart through the neutral zone...taking what was there and getting the puck deep when Detroit was back and taking away the skating lanes. Third, we were smart in the offensive end. You didn't see a lot of long passes in the offensive end, we relied on close puck support and worked through the Detroit defense by making the puck move (short passes, a lot of give and go type passes) rather than trying to generate chances playing 1 v 0. This allowed the Predators long cycles in the Red Wings end of the rink and established sustained pressure on Hasek that lead to three power plays through the first 15:00 of the second.
Then the penalties started coming again. First, the Detroit 4th line chips a puck out past the Predators defense at the offensive blueline and starts an odd-man rush heading towards Mason. Suter played the rush well, but Zidlicky was late getting back on Aaron Downey going to the front of the net and took out his feet on the backcheck. Powerplay Detroit. Holmstrom to Datsyuk to Zetterberg in transition and Bingo, Bango it's 2-1 Red Wings as Henrik dekes Zanon, walks in on Mason and flicks it high over his glove and into the net.
It's late in the period and again this was a perfect opportunity for Detroit to take control of this game with some sustained offensive pressure, but again it's the Arnott line coming out over the boards and again it's simple hockey...getting the puck deep, cycling the puck, Dumont from the corner out to Weber at the point, slap-shot through traffic, rebound right onto Erat's stick and BANG 2-2 Preds just 32 seconds after Zetterberg's goal. The place goes nuts and the Predators have to feel good heading into the locker room.
Now in the second intermission we have a tale of two locker rooms. First, Barry is in our room undoubtedly telling our guys that they have outplayed Detroit at even-strength in this game and that they must continue playing simple hockey and good things will come. The only way Detroit has shown they can beat us thus far is on the power play, so it is imperative that we don't beat ourselves in the third period by taking penalties. The Predators are feeling good about their chances and know this game is their's to lose. On the other side, Mike Babcock is in there with a veteran group telling them that he knows they are getting tired out there, but the game is obviously still undecided and there is 20 minutes to go. He is calling on them to get out to an early start this period to gain control of the game and make the Predators start wearing down by chasing the Wings. All they need to do is play their game (puck-possession hockey), shorten up the shifts, and capitialize on the opportunities Nashville will give them in the third period. Detroit isn't feeling sorry for themselves here, they are a team that is all business and I'm sure they felt challenged and were preparing to come out of the locker room ready to storm out of the gates, take control of this game, breeze to victory, and hop on the flight home to enjoy some turkey with their families.
The third period begins and actually I think both teams played right to their game plans. Detroit won the opening faceoff and quickly worked the puck into the Predators zone for a cycle, but Nashville was able to hold the fort and chip the puck out. The Predators hold off another rush up ice by the Wings and turn the play around getting the puck deep into Detroit's end and starting a cycle with the line of Smithson-Bonk-Ortmeyer leading to a holding call against Brett Lebda when he reaches over the shoulder of the Predator in the corner with the puck and hauls him down. Power play Nashville.
One of the sayings I love to hear is "when opportunity knocks, answer the door! Nashville goes on the PP and walla, Erat off the halfboards to Suter out at the point, Suter fakes a slap shot, walks the line ever so slightly and finds Bonk standing all alone in his familiar place in the slot, tape to tape pass, quick little windup...3-2 Preds!!! I swear, Radek Bonk is automatic from that spot. It is the same shot every time and yet it seems as though no one can stop it. Bonk's 9th goal of the season (what a free agent signing, big props to Poile on that steal) and whatdaya know...the Predators have come back from two deficits to take the lead against Detroit. Could this be possible??? I had to pinch myself (ouch, it hurt).
Back to the keys to this period, Detroit's were still intact. They are a confident team, some might even say they are arrogant, but hey...they have a system and they stick to it...heck why change something that's kept them at the top of the division for the last decade??? The Predators goals remained the same as well...play smart hockey, play simple hockey, don't defeat yourselves (ie: stay out of the penalty box). So the teams exchange chances, we're hanging in there and then it happens...Arnott, the captain, takes a stupid, and I mean stupid, retalitory penalty by cross-checking Johan Franzen right there in front of the referee at center ice after Franzen laid a big hit on Arny in front of the benches. Power play Detroit.
Fiddler and Nichol hop over the boards and promptly work their magic, clearing the zone and causing havoc in the Red Wings breakout. Nichol breaks up two passes and heads in on Rafalski in the corner. Scotty pins Rafalski up against the boards then starts heading over towards the lose puck and has his feet taken out of beneath him. Power play over, chance averted right??? WRONG, Nichol and Rafalski to the box...two minutes tripping on Rafalski, two minutes diving on Nichol. I have to watch the replay, but if Nichol didn't throw up his arms and start swimming in mid-air I don't know where the diving call came in since Rafaski clearly used his stick to stop the forward movement of Nichol's skates. Thankfully, we kill the rest of the penalty and are back skating at even-strength where IMO we were outplaying Detroit.
The team's exchange chances, but Detroit doesn't get any great scoring chances as Nashville continues to commit to smart hockey with all five men back the defensive end, continues to play smart through the neutral zone by taking what Detroit gave them and getting the puck deep when they didn't have the option to carry it across the blueline, and smart through the offensive end cycling the pucks low, avoiding blind passes, getting good puck support, and keeping a man high at all times to prevent Detroit's quick transitions.
Suddenly it's time to pull the goalie for an extra attacker and Hasek starts to head to the bench with about 1:15 remaining...not so quick though. Detroit turns over the puck at center ice and the Predators knock it down with a high stick causing a faceoff at center ice. Hasek heads back into the net, playing out in the high slot area ready to take off as soon as Detroit gains possession. Again, not so fast. The Predators win the draw and Zanon hits the red line and flips a puck high in the air that sails over Hasek's head and unfortunately misses the net, the Red Wings start up ice with the puck, Hasek skates hurriedly to the bench right behind the puck carrier when again the Predators force a neutral zone turnover and Hasek stops about five feet in front of his bench and tries to square up to Hamhuis. Dan tries to flip the puck over Hasek, but it is blocked at the blueline - sending Smithson offsides into the zone. The puck comes right back to Hamhuis and this time he gets it through the puck sails into the empty net, the building goes nuts and the Preds have a 4-2 lead, right??? There it is, on the far side of the ice, the linesman waves off the goal because the play was offsides as Smithson never made it back to the blueline when the puck was blocked. Proper call, bad break for the Predators. Hasek goes back in net for the faceoff and again the Predators win the draw and get sustained pressure in the offensive end. Detroit finally starts to break out the puck and Hasek heads to the bench. The Predators again force a neutral zone turnover and as the Predator skates after the puck in the Detroit end (I think it was Ortmeyer), Hasek sticks his legs out and trips him up. Tweet, two minutes for interference. The Predators hold on in the final seconds for the victory and we all go home happy.
Better Pred than Red!!! A great day to be a Predators fan!!!
This was a team victory, so it is hard to single out too many performers, but Mason played a good game. He let in the weak goal to start the game, but regrouped and made some big saves through monster screens set by Holmstrom and Franzen and gave the team a chance to win. Erat had a big day on the offensive end with a goal and two assists. That line of Erat-Arnott-Dumont was really clicking in the offensive end and Arnott just missed a second goal by snapping the puck a hair wide in the second period. Radulov was singled out for his defense yesterday and I thought he had a good game in his own end of the rink. Rads deflected several passes and committed to staying in the zone when Detroit had the puck and making sure to clear it out before taking off to the other end. A quiet night offensively, but I think his line was honestly in more of a defensive role tonight. Zanon with a couple huge shot blocks tonight (4 total) and a solid all-around game playing with Weber at even-strength and Hamhuis on the PK. Shea with a big bomb on the second goal, looked a little rusty, but it is still basically the preseason for his game-conditioning level. Hamhuis with a team-leading 24:35 of ice time, including a whooping 7:37 on the PK with a solid all-around effort.
Didn't like the experiment I saw tonight with Erat taking faceoffs in the offensive end to set up Arnott for the one-timer. Erat lost his first four draws and that play never truly materialized. Against a solid faceoff team like Detroit, I wouldn't recommend trying that experiment every opportunity unless Erat had shown tremendous faceoff prowess in practice.
And last, but not least, the fourth line played a heck of a game tonight. The line of Gelinas-Nichol-Tootoo really clicked tonight. Each player had two shots on goal and they combined for a total of six hits in about 9 minutes of ice time. With all the special teams play in the first period, it was key that the fourth line not get walked all over and allow Trotzy to be confident enough to put them out there to spell our top nine forwards and keep the whole bench fresh. Not only did they not get walked all over, but they turned out some pretty good shifts working the puck down low and demonstrating some great board work. Gelinas showed some real good hands setting up his teammates and retaining the puck along the boards with a Red Wing draped all over him. Nichol had a great chance in front set up by Marty that he needs to bury and Tootoo has really shown that he has finally figured it out and is rounding out his game. He is still a menace to his opponents and I can guarantee you that the opposition keeps an eye on him whenever he is out there, but he has realized there is more to this game than fighting and hitting. Keep up the good work Jordin.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night!!!
Although I was annoyed watching the NHL network on the fly afterwards, they were complaining about the last penalty on Fiddler that resulted in Bonks goal... (it was weak though) while ignoring the littany of weak calls against us ALL night long
Oh well Redwings had plenty of chances so I dont want to hear about it, plus the refs gave them an extra point in Detroit anyways lol
Great synopisis SLake...it doesn't get much better than that...and without watching the video to boot....
Agree...my compliments to PredChef on the dinner at the Suite Level Club......I couldn't imagine a better Thanksgiving dinner than that.....save for the plate shattering experience next to our table.......[Seth just tell her we didn't even notice].
For those that say Trotz doesn't show any emotion behind the bench.....I had the binoculars on him during that parade to the penalty box during the first.....I am frankly surprised he didn't get a bench minor tacked on for the choice words he said to the refs.
Speaking of choice words...did you see Arnott's words to the ref when he got called for the retalitory crosscheck.....lol....all I can say is they contained the initials..."f.o."........pretty funny stuff.
I honestly thought we had no chance of ever making a game of this at the 8:00 minute mark in the first period. Unbelievable gut check by Mason and our Pkers.
The crowd response to killing off the long 5 on 3 was amazing...and the Arnott line's focus to take it to Detroit on the first shift out saved the game.
The key to the game was that we were able to play four full lines against a RedWing team coming off a back to back game and they were not because of all the special team time in this game. It showed in the third where the Wings weren't able to mount their patented onslaught the way they usually do. Kudos also to this year's team who has proved they know how to play with a lead, whereas last year's team had no clue.
Speaking of the 4th line.....this is by far the best 4th line we have ever had. They are not just an "energy line," but they are a cycling machine. They are playing some bigtime important minutes. As much as I love Hordi, hard to see a reason to break up the 4th line except for injury....or maybe Derek Boogard coming to town Saturday.
"All Hail to the Bonk!"......probable one of the top 3 free agent signings in the NHL this year. Don't underestimate his locker room effect of "buying into the team concept and doing whatever the coaches ask without any questions." as Trotz mentioned in today's rag. It has to be a wonderful example to any of our other players that may have a tendency to think of themselves before the team.
Anyway...great game....great Division run through the best Division in the NHL this year. These games will only strengthen us if and when Playoff time rolls around.