There's not too many comments from the couch tonight, primarily due the the scheduling of a 5 p.m. start on a day when everyone in the Mid-state area that doesn't work for the government or a bank was either at work or heading out into rush hour traffic for the puck drop.
I find it totally incredible that for the second game in a row that Bridgestone Arena had a sellout crowd of 17,113. In spite of all the intense whining and gnashing of teeth during the lockout, citizens of Smashville have obviously forgiven and forgotten all the angst of the past four months.
For the Predators, tonight's hero had to be Patric Hornqvist who had his tenth career three point game with a goal and two assists. Mike Fisher and Marty Erat also has two point games in the loss. I wonder if anyone got a "no, no, no, no, no..." out of him in the postgame interviews.
The Preds were outshot 39-24 and fared even worse in the Corsi at 71-42. They have got to start getting more pressure on the opponent goalie.
Newcomer Rich Clune, received minimal ice time after picking up a boarding penalty against Scotty Nichol on his second shift early in the game. He only skated one shift in the second period and a pair in the third.
Brian McGrattan saw similar ice time as Clune. The Preds were obviously making a statement to the big bad Blues by sending McGrattan and Clune out on the same line with each of their first and third period shifts. Take that Ken Hitchcock! Darth Vader is locked and loaded :)
The Preds' power play continued to be productive with another pair of goals but the PK unit is starting to come into question, giving up a goal in two chances to the Blues.
In spite of Paul Gaustad being out of the lineup, the Preds were 36 of 64 in the faceoff circle for a 56% win percentage. Everyone who entered the circle was at least 50% but Mike Fisher was a glutton for punishment, taking 26 faceoffs and winning 14. Nick Spalling was also tough, winning 10 of 15.
The Predators have never had a drop dead sniper in the shootout but Pekka Rinne has made up for that in recent years. For two games in a row, he has been out-dueled by lesser talent, unfortunately, resulting in two loses.
Tuesday's game against Minnesota should draw banner TV ratings with the Predators facing off against Ryan Suter in the Minnesota green for the first time. I'm sure it will be billed as "mamo a mano" between the ex-defensive pairing but in spite of that, it will be good to see how the "new look" Wild perform with all the new faces (and the empty wallet).
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass