So here's tonight's story:
With Martin Erat out of the lineup due to lingering back spasms, Wade Belak got to suit up tonight. It appeared that JP Dumont would take Erat's place on the line with Colin Wilson and Matthew Lombardi. Imagine my bewilderment to see Belak holding down that spot. Granted, the lines were juggled quite a bit, as Coach Trotz is want to do, but it was still strange to see Wade on any line other than the fourth.
Ugh, face-offs are in need of some serious work. It's a bumbling mess out there. Clean wins at the dot have been few and far between.
I love that Joel Ward is a true special teams guy. You can stick him out there on the penalty kill or the power play and he's going to give it 100% either way.
The first period wasn't played as disciplined or as smart as this team is capable of. With the exception of the sequence leading up to Steve Sullivan's goal and some smooth puck handling by Colin Wilson, the guys were all over the place.
Anders Lindback had to be feeling the pressure during the first period. On Saturday night, he didn't have much time to think. This time, he had a few hours to mentally prepare for the game. Neither one of the goals in the first period were a direct result of his miscues but wow, did he give up some dangerous rebounds.
I forgot to mention this after Saturday's game but I could not be happier that Trotz went back to the Smithson-Legwand-Ward line that clicked so well last season. They were a solid third line that consistently created some good on-ice chances. From what I've seen so far in these first two games, that trend continues.
While assistant coach Peter Horachek was being interviewed from the bench about some things that the Predators need to do better on the ice, he said that the guys have to use their feet more and stop reaching with their sticks so much. As if on ironic cue, every single player on the ice at that exact moment was doing the very thing that Horachek said needed to stop. Claaa-ssic Preds.
God Bless Colin Wilson for taking a shot as soon as the puck hit his stick. Right through traffic and into the back of the net. That was perfection.
Cal O'Reilly was having a great game tonight; really connecting with Sullivan. Let's see how long that sticks.
Is it just me or do all the guys' sticks seem a lot longer than they were last season? [I know, insert TWSS here] Maybe it's just because they were reaching too much with the stick (even after Horachek said they have to stop that) but it was really noticeable tonight.
In contrast with Saturday night's game, Matthew Lombardi was almost non-existent in the game tonight. This was most evident as he was dropped to the fourth line in the third period.
How about that timely power play, huh?! Leave it to special teams guru, Joel Ward, to net the game-winner. I pegged him as the first goal scorer tonight but I like it better that he made the most of the man advantage to win the game.
We have to address this:
|Photo credit: @ericshuff|
After that not so pretty second period play, the Predators managed to redeem themselves. Not only did they skate away with two points, they helped Anders Lindback secure his very first NHL win. The boys return tonight and have to gear up to take on the improved St. Louis Blues tomorrow night at the Bridgestone Arena. Tomorrow's game also marks the first game of one of my very favorite promotions. It's College Night with lower bowl tickets for $25 or upper bowl seats for $10 with a valid college id; as well as half price drink specials through the first intermission.
Come on out and get your hockey on.