UGG Baratas online. Australia UGGs Outlet España.

Your #1 Source for Nashville Predators News, Updates, and Opinions – A Nashville Predators Blog

Rinne slams the door shut and Nashville makes it a series again – My thoughts on Game 3


-----

Trotz: "Can I get a high five, ref?", Lambert: "I never get high fives..."

Two games in Phoenix, two losses and a team that was searching for it’s identity that had led them to this situation in the first place. One game in Nashville? One dominating win from a team that re-kindled hope in it’s fanbase and proved that their identity was still there, it was just a matter of how hard they were going to work to prove that they still cared.

After a stunning laser light show to open the festivities, which also included the re-addition of the flame jets on top of the Jumbotron (or Megatron, whatever you call it, I’m pretty sure it’s not a Transformer) and the smoke jets behind the respective goals (which seemed to be almost very St. Louis-like in it’s appearance, as smoke would pour out whenever a goal was scored or the team won), the city of Nashville and the front office crew were prepared for Game 3 against Phoenix down 2-0 in the series.

But, the real question was, how would the team respond being down 2-0 for only the third time in franchise history? The last two times it happened were both against the Detroit Red Wings where Nashville would sweep the homestand but lose Games 5 & 6 to close out the series.

However those were both different Nashville Predators teams facing off against much more skilled opposition.

This year’s Predators team knows what is at stake and what they need to do to bring home some hardware at the end of the year. Or at least we thought they did coming into this series against Phoenix. After Games 1 & 2, considerable doubt was placed into the minds of Pred-nation. Nashville knew they had played miserable defense in both of those games where they at LEAST deserved a split, but instead lost an OT game 1 they dominated and then dropped a stinker in game 2.

Nashville was heading home with questions about their play and how Trotz would rotate the lines up for Game 3. Now, add in a new wrinkle with Radulov/Kostitsyn’s late-night soirée at a hotel bar prior to Game 2, and you have two of Nashville’s most gifted players sitting out for last night’s contest.

Ultimately? It was the best thing to happen to the team for this series

Nashville came out of the gates on fire. They played with a level of energy we didn’t even see during the Detroit series. They played Nashville Predators hockey, something that the Phoenix Coyotes had been outplaying Nashville in until the Predators finally decided that it was time to take back what was rightfully their’s in the first place.

If I didn’t know better, it’s almost as if Nashville had been toying with Phoenix in Game’s 1 & 2 before throwing the veil off themselves and revealing their true identity. Now, I know that’s not the case, but the Nashville Predators team we saw dominate the game last night was the same team that we saw win 11 of 13 a little earlier in the season: Blue-collar hockey, frustrating the opponents, and getting stellar defense/goaltending with timely goals.

It only took 2 goals to win the game, both coming before the 10 minute mark of the first period, but it easily could have been a 5-2 or 5-3 game the way the chances seemed to flow. Yet, Pekka Rinne was there for everything the Coyotes threw his way. Whether it was flailing his legs while laying on his stomach, a usual Rinne routine, or it was a simple “jump 10 feet in the air and snag the puck to stop play”, Pekka Rinne was playing lights-out hockey and he was doing his part to bring Nashville back in the series.

You know who else was doing their job last night? Everyone. Every single player for Nashville last night played one of their best games over the course of 60 minutes. Jordin Tootoo looked better last night than I’ve seen since January. Colin Wilson probably played his best game of the season. Paul Gaustad was throwing his body around last night like he was a sack of meat, and he ended up going 15 and 7 in the faceoff dot with 4 hits and played some amazing hockey on the boards. David Legwand made sure that he redeemed himself for the “throwing puck” incident of Game 2.

Now, Nashville is going to have to duplicate that performance tomorrow night to try and even the series at two game a piece. Standing in their way will be a more mentally-prepared Coyotes squad than we saw last night. It will be a much closer game than was played last night, so expect a low scoring (probably 1 goal) game. Don’t be surprised if you see overtime either.

Either way, the Predators are going to have to hit the rewind button on their performance from last night and start the tape over from the initial puck drop. Phoenix is going to be ready, Nashville’s line-up probably won’t be changing, and Bridgestone Arena will definitely be rocking.

Will the Predators tie this series up heading back out to the desert for Game 5? Or will Nashville be looking at an elimination game come Monday night? Either way, I’m more than happy and ready to open my checkbook and pay for my tickets to Game 6.