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POSTED ON Monday, 05.09.2011 / 8:18 PM

Thoughts and views from the second period at Bridgestone Arena...

 - Good start to the second period by the Preds; continued to own the territorial advantage.

 - Nice break for the Preds on Legwand's goal; threw the puck to the side of the net and it snuck under Luongo ... the crowd is back activated. The Legwand/Ward duo are having a lot of success in this series with blue-collar plays and throwing the puck to the front of the net. The goal wasn't as fortuitous as Legwand's second goal in Game 5 at Vancouver, but there are some similarities in the importance and the jump both scores gave the Preds.

 - Fisher a chance around four-and-a-half minutes into the period in transition; got a good shot from the wing, but missed the net high.

 - The Canucks continue to try the long stretch pass through the neutral zone --- high risk, high reward type of a play; if intercepted that's a good odd-man counter opportunity for the Preds. Vancouver has gone to that play more as the series has progressed --- used it a lot in Game 5, too.

 - Huge penalty kill by the Preds in the middle of the period; prevented Vancouver from gaining momentum back. The Preds were able to re-assert momentum over the second half of the period, out shooting the Canucks 7-2 in the period (both of Vancouver's shots came in a 49 second span midway through the period -- they had no shots over the final 11:05).

 - Erat a partial breakaway with 6:15 left in the period, but great hustle by Vancouver to limit the opportunity.

 - Vancouver resorted to a dump and trap game since around the seven minutes remaining in the second period. Dangerous to resort to that with so much time remaining in the game.

 - Colin Wilson has shown an extra burst of speed at times tonight; he's causing match-up problems on a lower-line because of his speed. Plus, he's been willing to play through contact; with his size, speed, and skill when he's playing like this he can be a difference-maker. He nearly netted the equalizer on a rush to his backhand with around 45 seconds remaining in the period.


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POSTED ON Monday, 05.09.2011 / 7:22 PM

Thoughts and views from the first period at Bridgestone Arena...

 - Jerred Smithson back in the lineup tonight for the Preds after a one-game injury absence, replacing J-P Dumont.

 - Preds lines to open the game
       Fisher centering Erat and Hornqvist
       Legwand centering Kostitsyn and Ward
       Smithson centering Spaling and Tootoo
       Geoffrion centering Halischuk and Wilson

 - Physical opening to the game; players on both sides are bumping at every whistle.

 - Nashville had opportunities early in the game --- four first period power-plays, two within the opening five minutes of play --- but were unable to capitalize. Vancouver has had two opportunities --- a turnover deep in the Preds zone and a power-play --- and took advantage of both. Otherwise Preds held a slight edge in the play (the even-strength shots edge of 6-4 Nashville is fairly indicative of the general play) and a strong edge in territorial time a fairly even first period.

 - Preds need to get an early second period goal to give the crowd something to rally behind. Nashville's been resilient all season; one break and the momentum can swing back in the Preds favor.

 - Nashville draws the first power-play of the game when Henrik Sedin took an offensive zone high sticking penalty ... the Preds generated two flurries of dangerous opportunities --- one early in the possession by Legwand and another sequence mid-way through the man-advantage first with Kostitsyn and then Legwand on the rebound.

 - Vancouver took the second penalty of the game when Kesler ran Rinne four-and-a-half minutes into the game (goaltender interference). Weber went after Kesler to protect his goalie and both Weber and Bieksa drew roughing minors on the call.

 - Bad turnover by Suter to lead to Vancouver's first goal; communication error between the Suter/Weber duo created the scoring chance on what appeared to be a harmless looking outlet opportunity.

 - Preds should have had the third power-play of the game when Tootoo was taken down by Alex Edler, but the referee whistled Tootoo for unsportsmanlike-diving ... diving was a focal point in the series after there were accusations earlier in the series on a couple of calls. Vancouver took advantage of the chance and converted on the power-play to make the score 2-0.

 - Edler was called for cross-checking a couple minutes after the 2-0 goal (but that PP was negated quickly by an Erat tripping call).


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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.07.2011 / 8:23 PM

Thoughts and views from the second period at Rogers Arena...

 - Preds open with Legwand centering Kostitsyn and Ward; that line has played well this period, netting the 2-2 goal and created very high quality chances on two other even stregth shifts later in the frame.

 - Preds catch their first break of the game when Legwand threw the puck out from behind the net, it carromed over the net and off the Vancouver defender's glove and into the net for game equalizer --- Legwand's second goal of the night.

 - Nashville followed the goal up with a strong shift from Fisher centering Erat and Hornqvist; first seven/eight minutes of the period were tilted heavily in the Preds favor. Legwand

 - Game-saving type of stop by Rinne on Ehrhoff cutting backdoor while the Canucks were buzzing in Nashville's end with around 4:20 left in the second period --- the first sustained pressure by Vancouver in a long time (one of the few strong shifts they've had this period). But those plays were the bounces Vancouver was getting in their direction during the two games in Nashville.

 - Wilson has done a much better job battling and competing in today's game, especially in this second period --- he's using his body well in battles along the boards.

 - Hornqvist has struggled a little bit with his pace through the neutral zone; has been tied up by back-pressure a few times; needs to be more aware and make quicker decisions as the game moves into the third period.

 - Spaling left the ice with around 2:40 remaining in the period after a late hit behind the play -- appeared to be favoring his shoulder. Will be interesting to see how the lines re-juggle now --- two most likely options are either for Geoffrion to step into Spaling's role on that checking line (Coach has been rolling three lines for much of the middle period) or for Wilson to slide from the wing into the middle (Wilson is a natural center, but Coach likes him better on the wing) ... did not see much of Dumont, Geoffrion, Halischuk in the second period, but Dumont has been productive in his time -- he's made a couple nifty passes into space to create rushes for his linemates off the wing (very similar plays as the pass he made to spring Sullivan in Game 6 of the Anaheim series).

 - Vancouver forward Mikael Samuelsson --- injured with around seven minutes remaining in the first period --- will not return tonight due to a lower body injury (appeared to be left knee or ankle the way he was helped off the ice).



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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.07.2011 / 7:22 PM

Thoughts and views from the first period at Rogers Arena...

 - Loud building here at the outset. Very important for the Preds to weather this first seven/10 minutes of the game. Been a sloppy start by both teams at the start -- several offsides and pucks out of play, a lot of stop and go and not much flow to the beginning of the game. (ed note: 1-1 game after the first 10 minutes; Nashville's started to compete a lot better as the period has moved along)

 - Preds lines to open the game (in order of their first shifts) -- all four lines took shifts in the opening two-plus minutes of the game
      Legwand centering Erat and Ward
      Fisher centering Hornqvist and Kostitsyn
      Spaling centering Tootoo and Wilson
      Geoffrion centering Dumont and Halischuk
** note: Erat and Kostitsyn appear to have switched lines mid-way through the period (the Erat-Fisher-Hornqvist trio has been doing strong work on their first few shifts together, battling well on the boards, getting in on the forecheck, etc.)

 - Big save by Rinne around a minute and a half into the game denying the Lapierre line on a scramble at the top of the goal crease. Rinne made an even better save on a Burrows breakaway eight minutes in.

 - Luongo hasn't looked all that sharp when the action's been around his end; the Preds have missed out on some prime rebound opportunities and also missed the net on a couple of shifts when Luongo wasn't in prime position.

 - Excellent play by Ward on Nashville's shorthanded goal; cleared the zone and patiently waited for Legwand to split the center seam before feathering a pass to Legwand for the breakaway.

 - No chance for Rinne on the equalizer; puck hopped over Blum's stick in the neutral zone heading into the Nashville end -- Blum was unable to recover and Franson wasn't able to cut off the passing lane.

 - Due to a scoreboard malfunction in the arena, both the shot clock and time left in the period are not being displayed in arena; reduced to in-arena announcements during stoppages of play.


 



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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.07.2011 / 6:31 PM

Some notes from pregame...

Coach Trotz indicated today that lines will likely shuffle around throughout the game; with the injuries to Steve Sullivan and Jerred Smithson he expects to mix and match combinations up front as situations dictate. So don't place too much weight on lines at the start of the game, but pay attention to adjustments at the start of each period --- particularly at the start of the third period.

On Smithson, Coach said he's a high intensity, high detail player who contributes in a number of different ways; the Preds need some other guys to step in and fill that void. Dumont will get in the lineup, but look for him to play a different role than Smithson; look more for Spaling, Halischuk, Tootoo, Geoffrion to fill some of the more direct responsibilities that Smithson had been handling.

Coach Trotz mentioned the team needs to manage the puck better, especially in the neutral zone. The breakouts have been OK and the play in the offensive zone has OK, but the biggest troubles have come through the neutral zone. Coach mentioned that every game something else is given to you as a team, the Preds need to do a better job of figuring out what's being given and adapt to that.

As for Dumont, Coach said J-P has a "knack for finding a puck, finding a way" ... he's looking for some of that veteran magic, veteran poise to show through in tonight's game.
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POSTED ON Friday, 05.06.2011 / 8:32 PM

The Preds flew out to Vancouver on Friday morning and practiced out in Vancouver in the afternoon.

 - Coach Trotz said that Steve Sullivan and Jerred Smithson will both be out of the lineup for Game 5. Colin Wilson joined the lineup in Game 4; J-P Dumont is expected to join the lineup for Game 5.

 - Line combinations will be re-shuffled with the changes to the lineup. Nick Spaling is expected to move from the wing to fill Jerred Smithson's role, meaning Fisher, Legwand, Spaling, Geoffrion will likely be the four centers tomorrow night.

 - Coach Trotz mentioned that he believed the Preds have not adapted as well in this series as they did during the first round series against Anaheim; he believes the Preds need to adapt to the flow of the game and Vancouver's style of play in order to have success tomorrow night.

 - The Preds have had success in Vancouver over the past few seasons. Nashville is 4-4-0 in Vancouver over the last three season, including a 2-2-0 mark this season. The two wins this year are tied with Phoenix and Chicago for the most by a visiting team, while the four wins the last three years are second league-wide behind only the Chicago Blackhawks (nine wins in Vancouver -- three regular season and six playoffs).

 - For more on the first four games of the series, watch Pete and Terry's Practice Day Roundtable

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.05.2011 / 8:52 PM

Thoughts and views from the second period at Bridgestone Arena...

 - Period opened with four-on-four action stemming from the penalties at the end of the first period. Vancouver had the territorial edge during the four-on-four, but no real dangerous scoring chances, while Nashville had some quality interesting chances on counter-rushes.

 - The Geoffrion-Hornqvist-Wilson line had three or four glorious chances on a shift around seven minutes into the period. Hornqvist took the puck wide on his defenseman to get to the nearside post before passing across the crease to Wilson along at the far post; Wilson redirected the bouncing puck just wide. On the regroup the Preds put the puck back out to the top of the crease where Hornqvist and Wilson both had chip attempts with Luongo sprawled on the ice.

 - Prior to Vancouver's second goal, the Preds had a couple of opportunities to clear the puck and get the play deep in the Vancouver end, but failed to do so; a couple of puck management mistakes coming into the neutral zone. The Canucks capitalized with a shot from the point. Nashville's forward line had been on the ice for almost a minute -- the majority of which was in the defensive zone.

 - Preds power-play generated two high quality scoring chances in the first minute-plus before drawing a second penalty for a 0:47 five-on-three  --- Ward had the first chance from the crease in tight, Suter had the second from the point (appeared to nick the far post on the way through).

 - Nashville used its timeout to set up for the five-on-three advantage, opening with Fisher-Hornqvist-Kostitsyn-Suter-Weber. The Preds maintained possession through the majority of the PP, but were unable to net a goal. Hornqvist had a chip attempt on his backhand from the top of the goal crease on a centering feed from Fisher as the five-on-three expired. On the backend of the PP, Franson made a great centering feed, but it handcuffed Legwand cutting down the slot.

 - The trio of Fisher-Hornqvist-Wilson had a strong shift to end the period ... Fisher had a chance driving the net with speed and then the line pinned the puck deep in the zone and cycled around for a pair of other good looks.


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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.05.2011 / 7:51 PM

Thoughts and views from the first period at Bridgestone Arena...

 - New lines for the Preds tonight.
      Colin Wilson makes his series debut on a wing with Blake Geoffrion and Patric Hornqvist
      Mike Fisher opens with Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn on his wings
      David Legwand opens with Matt Halischuk and Joel Ward
      The Smithson-Spaling-Tootoo line remains the same

 - Sami Salo made his first appearance of the series on defense for Vancouver.

 - Strong start for the Preds; they were buzzing through the first six/seven shifts. The Fisher line had two real good chances on their first shift of the game. The Canucks controlled the play through the middle parts of the period and the Preds regained momentum in the closing minutes of the period.

 - Period ended with a scrum in the corner behind Rinne; all 10 skaters on the ice got involved in the skirmish. Both teams were called for a minor penalty out of the action, so Period 2 will open with four-on-four for the first two minutes.

 - Preds called for the first penalty of the night -- Klein for cross check 4:01 into the game; judging the bench reaction, not sure the Preds fully agreed with the call. But the Preds got a good kill on PK to keep the game scoreless.

 - It will be interesting to see how it is called as the game goes on, but Vancouver has started running a modified "pick play" on their breakouts with their forward down low "rubbing" the Preds deep forechecker to create extra space for the defenseman with the puck. So far there hasn't been any contact with the forechecking forward, but could be a potential interference call if contact is made later in the game.

 - Fisher was a half step away from a breakway with around nine minutes left in the period; an outlet down the center seam through the neutral zone was a little high and slightly behind Fisher, but he deflected the puck down as he split the defensemen, however the puck hopped on him before he was able to split the seam.

 - Interesting call/no-call on the Vancouver goal; there was contact between the Vancouver forward and Rinne as Rinne came out to challenge the shot, but the near referee appeared to gesture to Rinne that he believed Rinne was too far out of his crease for a goaltender interference call. NHL Rulebook on Goaltender Interference (69.1 Interference on the Goalkeeper - This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review.)

 - The Preds power-play converted for the first time in the series with a goal late in the period to even the score. Ward set up in front of the net picked up a rebound and deposited past Luongo, his second goal in as many games.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 9:21 PM

Thoughts and views from the second period at Bridgestone Arena...

 - After 23 shots in the first period, the teams only combined for 13 shots in the second period (9-4 Vancouver's edge), which pretty well describes the period.

- Much of the flow from the first period has been stymied by both teams here in the later stages of the second period; both squads are doing a strong defensive job in the neutral zone, preventing a lot of speed for the offensive side.

 - Vancouver controlled the action for much of the first eight minutes or so of the period. The Preds gained some momentum from the Geoffrion line heading into the power-play in the middle of the frame.

 - The Preds got themselves out of position deep in the Vancouver zone on the start-of-period penalty kill that allowed the Canucks to break into the zone on the power-play with a major numbers advantage. Prior to that mistake, they were doing an excellent job of controlling the play while on PK.

 - Jon Blum deserves recognition; he's been making very good decisions on the breakout passes. Instead of hard rimming the puck out of the zone, he's calmly taking note of the situation and looking to make an offensive play. With the pace and physicality of this game that's a very veteran move by the 22-year old rookie.

 - Vancouver's defensemen got away with a couple of jabs behind the play on three or four rushes in the later stages of the period; they're flirting with a roughing call --- and as I type that, Kesler is whistled for high sticking in front of Rinne.

 - If the first 10 periods of this series (eight regulation and two OT frames) are any indication, this has the makings of a very tight, low scoring, long series --- both teams with three goals and neither side has held a lead of more than one goal. Even the shots totals are close: Vancouver 87, Nashville 78.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 8:25 PM

Thoughts and views from the first period at Bridgestone Arena...

 - Incredibly fast paced start to the game; both teams were flying in that period and hitting on all four lines.

 - Jordin Tootoo looks to be hyped up -- he's creating match-up problems for the Canucks with his pure speed. He created a great chance with a forecheck on his line's first shift and then beat a defenseman wide to his backhand side on his next shift.

 - Martin Erat has been strong through the first half of the period; he's been around the puck in the offensive zone on just about all of that line's shifts.

 - Shots were 8-1 Vancouver through the first six minutes, but that was misleading; the Preds missed the net on two great opportunities -- Tootoo hit the outside of the post on his line's first shift and Halischuk chipped a puck just over the crossbar from the slot on his line's first shift.

 - Heck of an individual play by David Legwand on the shorthanded goal; broke up the play in the defensive zone, created a turnover behind the Vancouver net with a strong forecheck (and a bit of a miscommunication between Luongo and his defense), jammed the initial shot to the front of the net and then stayed by the post when Spaling fed Suter cutting backdoor and was able to tap in Suter's pass back across the crease.

 - That's three goals in four games that Suter has created by following the play to the offensive zone goal line --- his forecheck in Game 6 against Anaheim created Spaling's first goal, his play in Game 2 at Vancouver created the overtime forcing goal, and his play tonight joining the rush earned the primary assist on the game's opening goal.

 - The goaltenders were outstanding again: Rinne made a highlight reel save around six minutes into the game to keep it scoreless and then Luongo answered back with a sprawling pad save on Sullivan's breakaway with around two minutes remaining in the frame.


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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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