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Devils Claw Their Way Back, Give Predators Second Straight Loss


Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mike Strasinger

New Jersey fell to an early 2-0 deficit after one period, but two third period goals put the Devils right back in the game as they took Nashville the ENTIRE distance and stunned the Predators in a shootout, beating them 3-2. This marks the second game in a row that Nashville has lost after starting the season 2-0-0.

Special Teams:
Powerplay – 1 for 3, 33%
Penalty Kill – 4 for 5, 80%

Best Play of the Game: Just 91 seconds after Colin Wilson put the Predators on the board in the first period, Jordin Tootoo hit Jerred Smithson on the right post who LITERALLY had a wide open net and zoomed the puck past Johan Hedberg to give Nashville an early 2-0 lead midway in the first period

Worst Play of the Game: Pekka Rinne gets ransacked behind his own net and captain Shea Weber comes to his defense…only to blatently cross-check the Devils player in question who ran over Rinne. Defending your teammates is one thing, but an egregious retaliatory cross-check RIGHT in front of a referee and it’s 4-on-4 hockey near the end of the period? You can criticize me for saying this, but that was a bad decision…bad decision all the way around.

My Three Stars:
#1: Ilya Kovalchuk – 1 goal, -1 overall, 7 shots, game winning shootout goal
#2: Pekka Rinne – 39 saves on 41 shots, .951 Sv%,
#3: David Legwand – 1 assist, 22:09 TOI, still leads the NHL in total points scored

Wow, so what can you say after that? Well, let me start out with the following:

Ok, everyone got that? Let’s continue…

As a fan, spectator, blogger, whatever, it’s hard to really be pleased when the team you follow appears to literally flip-flop right before your eyes. Nashville came out devilishly strong in the first twenty minutes of the game and doubled up on New Jersey to give them a 2-0 lead after one period. However, did the Predators LITERALLY exhaust their fuel supply in that unheralded 7 minutes and 50 seconds of CONTINUOUS play to start the second period? It seems to be the case as Nashville just simply disappeared for the next 27 or so minutes, allowing the second period to slowly wind its way down.

Yet, with 2 minutes left, the penalties began to flow in. First, Nashville gets a powerplay when the Devils are caught trying to sneak a sixth man on the ice. Sounds good, right? Well, 30 seconds into that, Patric Hornqvist gets his stick a little higher than he should and takes a trip to the box, essentially giving the Devils a 30 second powerplay after the first minute or so of the third period. To make things worse, 23 seconds later Shea Weber takes an uncharacteristically bad retaliatory cross-check and follows suit to the sin bin, giving New Jersey a TWO man advantage at the beginning of the third period. The Devils would get on the board ONE minute into the third period. 7 minutes later they would tie the game. The Predators would get back into the game after that, but the damage had already been done.

After a stellar 7 or so minutes of the final third period and overtime, Nashville went into a shootout against some of THE most dangerous opposing shooters in the league, and BOY did it show. Even with all-world super-elite goaltender Pekka Rinne backstopping the Predators, he was no match for Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise on this cool October Saturday evening. New Jersey came in, gave up 2 goals, scored 2 goals, and left Rinne (and most fans) in disbelief taking care of business in their second straight shootout win.

Last season, Nashville dropped games 4 through 6 in the overtime periods. Two and three years ago respectively, Nashville dropped 6 straight after starting 2-0-0. The Predators go on their dreaded Western Canada road trip next week and it’s not going to get any easier when they play a re-tooled Oilers team, a familiar foe in the Vancouver Canucks, and a team they didn’t beat AT ALL last year in the Calgary Flames.

Could things get worse before they get better for Nashville? It’s happened before, but take solace in this Predators fans:

There is a WHOOOOOOLE lot of hockey left to play this year. A WHOLE lot of hockey

Stay frosty, friends