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Predators Show Why They’re A Playoff Contender, Beat Avs 5-3


Ok, whenever I do a post-game wrapup, I’m going to lay it out this way: Taking a look at my prediction, Special Teams, Best Play of the Game, Worst Play of the Game, Players (Good/Bad) of the Game, My Preds #1 Star, Synopsis. SOOO, that being said, here we go!

Taking A Look At My Prediction: In my pre-game thoughts, here’s what I said

“The Predators come out strong and quick with 2 goals in the first period and they don’t let up. They dominate the Avalanche and they send them to their “7th” straight loss (as ESPN is already predicting). The Predators will send the Fans of the Fang home happy with a 5-1 win.”

I called the Predators score right, and the goals scored by the Avalanche SHOULD have been only 1, however a lackluster performance by The Finnish Fiend allowed them to pocket a couple extra “gimme” goals against the Preds. The Predators didn’t score 2 in the first and they did dominated the shot count, but we’ll talk more about what I mean in the Synopsis later on.

Special Teams:
Powerplay – 1 for 3 (that’s at least ONE PP goal in 5 of the last 6 games!), 33%
Powerplay For The Season – 28 for 191, 14.7%, 25th in the league

Penalty Kill – 2 for 2 (Perfect in the last 4 games!), 100%
Penalty Kill For The Season – 27 for 193, 76%, 3rd in the league

Best Play of the Game: Hands down, this award goes to Cody Franson’s “If at first your don’t succeed…” moment with 2:30 left in the 3rd period

Worst Play of the Game: Shane O’Brien pretty much gift wrapping a puck for a nasty scoring opportunity about 3 feet in front of Pekka Rinne

Players (Good and Bad) of the Game:
The Good: Martin Erat – The man quietly has a 3 point game and doesn’t even win the first star of the game. He’s been looking pretty good since being called out by Trotz

The Bad: Pekka Rinne – Yeah yeah yeah, he made the saves he NEEDED to make, however the Duchene goal should have been the ONLY goal given up Pekka tonight. Call me crazy, but Pekka’s 83.4% Save Percentage tonight is just plain awful. It would have been different if the Avalanche were actually getting quality shots on the net

My Preds #1 Star: Martin Erat – 1 G, 2 A, +2. Pretty much the best player on the ice tonight

Synopsis: Well, let’s first start off and say the Mike Fisher looked AMAZING out there for the Predators. He screens out Budaj for the first goal of the game and sets up Leggy for the final goal of the game, all the while he was using his body to crush the opposition against the board, he played on the Powerplay, he was out on the Penalty Kill. Overall, he is who we thought he was! (Haha, thank you Denny Green) He is a 2-way player, in the greatest sense of that phrase.

Other than The Fish, the Predators dominated the first 10 minutes of the first period…again…just like they did in the Edmonton travesty, and they gave up the first goal…again, but this time, they showed EXACTLY why they are 4th place in the Western Conference and EXACTLY why Detroit should be VERY afraid about losing their Central Division stranglehold. The Predators came back from TWO different 1-goal deficits and scored 3 unanswered in the third to send the Avs to their longest, that’s right – longest, losing streak since moving to Denver.

I had only one problem with this game…it scared me. It was one of those games that EVERY time the Preds had a chance to pot a really good goal (see: Spaling 2 on 1, Wilson with an open net, etc.), they were effectively failing at finishing OR Budaj just plain stood on his head. Usually? That means you’re in for a rough and disappointing night. I tweeted that this didn’t “look like Pekka’s night”, and fair enough it really wasn’t as Budaj was the better goalie tonight, but as a team the Predators were the better team.

I can’t remember the last time the Preds had SO many chances NOT go their way and actually win the game…which is a wonderful surprise. It makes you believe that this team may finally be ready to take the next step in their evolutionary process.

Next game is Tuesday night against the HAAAAAAAATED San Jose Sharks

Thanks for reading!