If you've ever wondered whether or not you were capable of going from elation to frustration within a span of forty minutes, please use the first and second periods of tonight's game as your perfect tool for that experiment. I am still shaking my head over the turn of events from the first 20 minutes to the second 20 minutes. The Predators looked as though they were continuing their dominance of the game as Marcel Goc scored a breakaway, shorthanded goal. Then things went terribly wrong and never got better. I tend to jot down observations throughout the game and tonight was no different. However, you will notice the quick descent into Criticismtown that occurred once the second period Toronto free-for-all got started.
JP Dumont was sitting at the net, EXACTLY where I feel like the team is absent in most cases, and his perfect positioning is the reason that goal looked so ridiculously easy. I said before that I didn't really understand the pairing of Dumont with David Legwand and Joel Ward but they are really starting to produce some good things.
Okay, David Legwand was instrumental in Jordin Tootoo's goal. He fed him a great pass at center ice. I do have to give props to Toots as well though. He had some great hustle to bust past both Leafs players and took a precise shot to get that goal under Giguere's pad.
I could barely analyze what a great play Tootoo had on the second goal before Martin Erat turned right around and scored just 10 seconds later. The second and third goals of the night set a road record for the fastest goals scored away from the Bridgestone Arena and the second fastest pair scored in franschise history. Seeing Erat get that first goal taken care of, after he'd been out of the lineup for a while, makes me feel even better about his return to the game.
Steve Sullivan missed yet another golden breakaway opportunity late in the first period. Could someone please start a Sullivan Missed Breakaway Counter a la David Legwand's Goal counter? I KNOW the count has to be at least five so far this season.
The Predators managed to give up a goal to Toronto at the end of an otherwise strong first 20 minutes of play. Yeah, they've really got to figure out how to stop doing that. It will continue to be a thorn in their sides if they don't correct the mistakes they are making in the last minutes of each period.
For a while, I wondered if the onslaught of penalties called against the Predators in the second period that gave the Maple Leafs three, almost back-to-back, 5-on-3 opportunities and TWO POWER PLAY GOALS were completely Nashville's fault. I have never seen so many consecutively called penalties against the same team in all my years of hockey-watching. I wondered what Ron Wilson said to the officials to have them throwing up their arm every other second? Then after the fifth call against the Predators within that same period, I realized it was more classic Nashville style to play undisciplined after gaining a big lead rather than being on the receiving end of questionable calls. Four power play goals later, I am quite certain I witnessed one of the worst periods of hockey every played by the Nashville Predators. There is pretty much no excuse for what happened. Even the HockeyCentral commentators were dumbfounded at the lack of discipline shown by Nashville.
This was definitely a game I wish I could have been broadcasted on FSN. It would have been very interesting to see what all three coaches had to say after this ridiculous debacle. I mean, seriously. The Predators handed this game to the Maple Leafs on a silver platter in the second period. They should be ashamed of themselves for their lack of discipline. It was painful to watch how everything unraveled. I am positive the boys will be kicking themselves over this loss, thinking of all the ways they should have had this game in the bag after they went up 4-1 early in the second. The only thing I have left to say is that they better put that aggression and frustration to good use when they take on the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night.