This team continues to surprise. The Predators, under the guidance and coaching of Barry Trotz and his staff, are proof that you don't need a "superstar" to carry the offense. They are getting the job done night after night, with help from everyone. I've always said that hockey is one of the only sports to really embody the essence of the word teamwork. The team I'm watching on the ice night after night just might be the evidential proof needed should I ever have to argue that point to a jury of my peers.
Some thoughts on the night:
Ryan Jones and Patric Hornqvist staying at the net continues to produce great results. Have we finally found our Scott Hartnell replacements?
Speaking of Ryan Jones, I know there has been a lot of conversation about how he deserves more than to be stuck playing on the third or fourth lines, but...Jones has the ability to bring the rest of his linemates up to his game when he's on a tear. In my opinion, that's the mark of a good player. Keep him where he's at and let's see how much he can improve his game and the game of those he plays with.
Three goals in the first period and they again came from three different players on three different lines. This offense continues to surprise me.
That sound you heard about halfway through "Wade's World" (which was hilarious, btw) was most assuredly the sound of puckbunnies' hearts breaking everywhere when Cody Franson said he'd be spending the holidays with Shea Weber and his girlfriend.
Though we've come a long way in terms of offensive prowess, we need to get back to being a little more disciplined. Stupid penalties like Too Many Men On the Ice and then Delay of Game AND they overlapped? No, no, no.
Just when I thought our special teams were failing us, we score on the power play again. It's about time. Nice play by Ryan Suter and Patric Hornqvist.
Does anyone else wish they'd made more than one Live United commercial for the season?
Dear Shea Weber, on behalf of the entire team, please find a way to control your slapshot so as not to always put your fellow Predators in harm's way while standing at the net. Much appreciated, your friends and teammates.
The unrelenting pressure from Edmonton in the last five minutes of the third period was probably the most sustained energy I've seen from any team in a long time. If our defense and goaltending hadn't been so solid, Edmonton could have easily come back to tie things up. Needless to say, I was impressed with their tenacity.
I love that even after Jerred Smithson got his empty net goal waived off due to an offside call, he went and scored a freaking awesome goal any way, just to top off the night. That was his second in as many nights and his sixth on the season so far. His promotion to the second line might be the best move Trotz has made all season.
Also, the pictures from this game were really awesome for some reason. Photographer Andy Devlin worked some amazing angles to get the shots he did. This picture, in particular, is high up there as one of my favorite in-game shots ever (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images):
This, my friends, is how we win games. Contribution from every line. Playing as a team, not as individuals. Not letting a quick deficit in the first period give us a defeatist attitude. Earlier in the season, we did that more often than not. Now that we seem to have figured out how to keep our heads in the game, let's see how far we can go. Next stop, Calgary.