POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 12:09 PM
There seems to be a rumor floating around that the Preds organization has filed a complaint about Vancouver's "Green Men" ... talking with both David Poile and Coach Trotz, that is completely false. The Preds have made no request to the league what so ever. In fact, there's a rumor they will be in attendance at tonight's Game 3 in Bridgestone Arena.
During his press conference today, Coach Trotz talked about the fun and passion from both fan bases and how it is good for the game; he had no issues with the antics of the fans on either side. Coach referenced the Tie Domi/penalty box incident from the 2000-01 season as an example of fans crossing the line, but didn't have an issue with fans having fun and staying on their side of the glass.
POSTED ON Sunday, 05.01.2011 / 6:24 PM
Strong showing by the Preds fanbase today at the airport. As the plane was taxiing in from the runway, the players saw the media throng outside the terminal and commented on how "Predators fever" was catching on.
The players and coaches were even more impressed when they saw what waited for them on the other side of the terminal. It was an electric crowd of fans with roars as each player and coach walked out the front door.
The crowd took it up another level when Matt Halischuck came through. And then stepped it up even further when Pekka Rinne wrapped up his media interviews and strolled through the front doors.
The team pride on the plane was noticeable; a recognition from the players that Nashville was in fact paying attention to what they've been doing out of the West Coast. You could hear it in their voices as they were walking out the plane. You could see it in their faces as they walked through the lane of cheering fans out front of the terminal.
If today is any indication of what's ahead, Tuesday night should be an awesome experience inside Bridgestone Arena.
POSTED ON Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 9:17 PM
Thoughts and views from the second period at Rogers Arena...
- Kevin Klein returned for the start of the second period; he was clipped on the follow through of a shot in the final minute of the first period.
- The pace of play is fast; Vancouver is really pushing the tempo and Nashville's been keeping up.
- The Preds are doing a lot of good things tonight, but need to clean up their puck management and passing; missing out on several chances to get through the neutral zone with speed.
- Good first shift by the Erat-Legwand-Ward line; Erat created a good chance cutting inside the defender at the top of the circles and snapping a shot on net. The line created a power-play later on that same shift. Erat was injured on the Preds early period power-play; Sullivan took Erat's spot on the line with Legwand and Ward for the remainder of the power-play; Erat returned for the line's next even strength shift (after a media timeout).
- Ward had a great opportunity with a little over five minutes left in the period; great work by Legwand along the board and then fed a great cross ice pass to Ward, but the shot went wide of the far side as Luongo tried to slide post-to-post.
- A Nashville turnover coming out of the zone on the power-play led to Vancouver's shorthanded goal to open the scoring. Give Burrows and Kesler credit for stong work in the neutral zone, but the Preds still need to be better with their puck management; would have prevented the turnover.
- Looked like some line juggling by the Preds late in the period --- Halischuck went on the wing with Legwand and Ward; Erat moved to the wing with Smithson and Spaling.
POSTED ON Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:28 PM
Thoughts and views from the first period at Rogers Arena...
- Quality first period by Nashville tonight; competed much harder, skated better, and was more engaged in the one-on-one battles than the Preds were in Game 1.
- Preds kept lines the same at start of the game. All four lines got involved earlier here in Game 2 than they did in Game 1.
- In this first period the Preds defensemen have been a lot more aggressive in joining the rush; Suter helped create a chance around two minutes into the game by pinching down low, Klein gave the Preds a three-on-two in transition by joining the rush around 3:10 into the game; Blum joined the rush to help create a chance with Halischuk and Sullivan around 5:30 into the game, Blum put a backhand off the post on Nashville's power-play (pinching down low off the rebound of Fisher's shot from the high slot).
- The Preds are doing a markedly better job in the faceoff circle already tonight. The Preds need to clean up some puck management decisions, though; passing needs to get crisper, especially on defensive zone breakout plays.
- Heck of a shift from Erat-Legwand-Ward with Blum and Kline around the 10 minute mark of the period; had three real quality scoring chances crashing the net. The five-man unit had another strong shift with around seven and half minutes remaining in the period, ending with a glove save by Luongo off Blum's shot from the point; the Erat-Legwand-Ward line drew the game's first power-play on their next shift. That line was Nashville's most effective over the final half of the period.
- Jerred Smithson quietly had a very effective period. He won a lot of battles along the boards, in both the offensive and defensive zones, and threw his body around on the forecheck.
POSTED ON Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 7:39 PM
The Preds take the ice for pre-game warm-ups with a couple extra skaters in tow. The 18 skaters who played Game 1 are all on the ice along with forward Colin Wilson and defenseman Teemu Laakso. Coach Trotz hinted he might explore some line-up changes for tonight; he said after morning skate he was likely to keep the same 18 skaters, but wanted to see a few others in pre-game to keep his options open. Coach didn't give any indication which forward(s) might come out of the lineup if he did make changes.
Wilson worked hard in practice yesterday and brings added size, so he has some elements that could change things up, if Coach Trotz opts to mix up lines.
I'd be a little surprised if Laakso goes tonight; Coach went out of his way to praise the way the defensemen competed in Game 1.
It's the playoffs, so teams don't like to tip their hand --- even in pre-game warm-ups.
POSTED ON Friday, 04.29.2011 / 2:16 PM
Following last night's Game 1, the Preds got back to work this afternoon with an uptempo practice session at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
- To a man the Preds players and coaches were disappointed with the effort put forth in last night's game; they each talked about needing to engage better in the game, compete harder, and play at a faster tempo. Steve Sullivan was very outspoken about last night's effort being unacceptable.
- It was a full practice for the Preds today; hard to tell lines since the team was in its "morning skate attire" of white jerseys for the forwards and blue jerseys for the defensemen. Coach Trotz juggled his lines quite a bit in the third period of Game 1, trying to find a combination that would spark. It will be interesting to see if he sticks with any line combination adjustments in Game 2.
- Very different atmosphere at practices in Vancouver than the Preds are normally used to; a throng of media with scrums around just about every player's stall. It was rather eye-opening for several players yesterday. In talking with Anders Lindback, he even laughed about the extra attention inside the room.
- Video interviews with three players posted today: Steve Sullivan | Cody Franson | Sergei Kostitsyn
- Kudos to Head Coach Barry Trotz for being names a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, given to the league's top coach. Coach Trotz Media session was chopped into two segments -- he was asked right off the start about the Jack Adams Award (posted here) and then questions went into the series (posted here).
- As a side note, the Preds announced that 2009 First Round pick defenseman Ryan Ellis would be joining the Milwaukee Admirals for the start of their second round AHL playoff series, which opens this weekend (full release here)
POSTED ON Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 9:11 PM
Thoughts and views from the Second Period at Rogers Arena...
- Pekka Rinne has been sharp tonight; he looked really zoned in during the first and second periods.
- Vancouver took advantage of a Nashville turnover to create the game's opening goal. Rinne was impressive and nearly made the pinwheel save on the Chris Higgins shot.
- The Vancouver goal seemed to wake up the Preds; the Preds had three or four real strong shifts coming out of the Vancouver goal and generally looked a lot more engaged in the game during final seven/eight minutes of the period. Luongo was forced to make a couple tricky saves to keep the Preds from tying the score.
- For the first half of the game Nashville looked like a team trying to get its game legs back after a lengthy layoff. Nashville's been pick-pocketed from behind several times -- usually a tell-tale sign of a team still adjusting to game speed.
- A rather curious roughing call on Hornqvist to open the second period; battling with Dan Hamhuis during a scrum in front of Luongo. Steve Sullivan clearly wasn't pleased with the slashing call on him either (3:42 into the second period). Power-plays are skewed in Vancouver's favor through the first half of this game; hopefully Nashville can even that out as the game moves on.
- Keith Ballard was equally displeased with his tripping penalty late in the second period, so both teams had a couple calls the players on the ice didn't agree with.
- The Canucks generated several really good chances swarming Pekka Rinne late in Sullivan's penalty; the puck slid behind Rinne at one point, but was cleared away by his defense.
POSTED ON Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 8:14 PM
Thoughts and views from Period 1 at Rogers Arena...
- Preds rolled with the same lineup as Game 1 at Anaheim; Martin Erat back in replacing J-P Dumont; lines rolled back to the same as Game 1 of the Ducks series, as well (in order of their first shift): Legwand centering Erat and Ward, Smithson centering Spaling and Tootoo, Fisher centering Hornqvist and Kostitsyn, Geoffrion centering Halischuk and Sullivan.
- Shots on goal were 16-5, but the scoring chances were much closer that; the strong majority of Vancouver's shots were from the perimeter without any traffic in front of the net.
- The Fisher line generates the first scoring chance of the series for either team -- on their first shift worked the puck down low and generated a dangerous opportunity.
- Nashville drew the first power-play 4:08 into the game; the Preds best opportunity came on the delayed call -- cycled the puck in the Vancouver zone and created a point-blank chance for Ryan Suter.
- Both teams did strong work on early game penalty kills; neither team really generated a great scoring chance on the PP. Vancouver had a lot of zone during their advantage, but most of their shots were from the perimeter without a screen.
- Quietly, Jordin Tootoo had a pretty strong period. He skated well, stayed positionally strong, and was poised with the puck on his stick. Tootoo created a dangerous scoring chance with around nine minutes left in the period, coming out of the left wing corner -- fired a pass to the front of the goal crease where Nick Spaling had set up, but Luongo read the play well. He was caught in an unfortunate situation on his penalty call, but if you're the Preds, you have to like his engagement level in that period.
- Shea Weber and Ryan Suter were really good in the first period, especially in the defensive zone. They won a lot of one-on-one battles and as a pair they won a lot of battles behind Rinne's net. Plus, both cleared loose pucks away from dangerous areas in front of Rinne.
POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.27.2011 / 11:49 AM
The Preds are practicing at Bridgestone Arena as I type and will then fly out to Vancouver this afternoon for the start of the Conference Semifinal Series. A quicker tempo to practice today than there was yesterday.
- Director of Player Development Martin Gelinas joined the guys out on the ice today; he was flying out there. Looks like he could still be a very effective checking line contributor the way he was skating.
- Lines for today were basically the same as last round
White: Legwand centering Erat and Ward
Gray: Fisher centering Hornqvist and Kostitsyn
Yellow: Smithson centering Spaling and Tootoo
Green: Dumont, Geoffrion, Halischuk, Sullivan, Wilson
- Cal O'Reilly did not skate again today. Coach Trotz said yesterday he was day-to-day, but indicated he might not travel with the team to Vancouver for start of the series. It did not sound too serious, though; and based on lines in Round 1, it seemed unlikely O'Reilly would be insterted into the lineup for the start of this series.
- Chet Pickard and Teemu Laakso were recalled today; Pickard gives the team a third goalie for practices, while Laakso gives the team a seventh defenseman if needed. Coach Trotz noted that Anders Lindback has been handling both the practices and the lengthy post-practice work by all the injured/scratched players, so Pickard will allow the coaches to spread around the workload a little. He also said by all reports Laakso was the best defenseman down in Milwaukee, which is why he earned the recall opportunity.
- Check out the video interviews from today's practice session: Shea Weber | Pekka Rinne | Shane O'Brien | Jonathon Blum
POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.27.2011 / 1:20 AM
The Preds and Canucks met four times during the regular season with each team winning twice in regulation. The teams both split at home. Nashville did hold an 8-6 advantage in goals during the series.
Marty Erat and Daniel Sedin led the series scoring with four points each (both had one goal and three assists). Alex Burrows and Henrik Sedin both had three points, but no other Canuck had more than one point in the season series. The Preds had five players with two points in the season series, including the trio of Mike Fisher, Patric Hornqvist, and Sergei Kostitsyn --- Nashville's most consistent threat during the first round win over Anaheim.
For more indepth stats check out this link for a series breakdown
Here's the game-by-game quick peek:
January 26 at Vancouver: Canucks 2, Predators 1
In the final game before the All-Star Break, Shea Weber scored 37 seconds into the third period to give the Preds a 1-0 lead, but Alex Burrows scored midway through the frame to tie the game and rookie Lee Sweatt, playing in his first career NHL game, netted the game-winner 1:52 later. Roberto Luongo made 26 saves for the win, while Pekka Rinne stopped 33-of-35 in net for the Preds.
February 17 at Nashville: Predators 3, Canucks 1
The teams scored four times in a 4:58 span late in the second period. Martin Erat opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season. Nick Spaling scored seven seconds after Daniel Sedin tied the game, giving the Preds the lead for good. Mike Fisher closed out the scoring with his first goal in a Nashville uniform -- just his third game for the Preds -- at the 19:11 mark of the middle frame. Pekka Rinne made 35 saves for the win, while Roberto Luongo stopped 23-of-26 for Vancouver.
March 3 at Vancouver: Predators 3, Canucks 0
The teams skated scoreless for the first two periods before Blake Geoffrion's goal 1:59 into the third period -- his second career NHL goal -- gave the Preds the lead. Patric Hornqvist's highlight reel strip and breakaway goal pushed the lead to 2-0 with 2:21 remaining in regulation and then David Legwand added an empty netter to seal the game. Pekka Rinne picked up the win with a 29-save shutout.
March 29 at Nashville: Canucks 3, Predators 1
Pekka Rinne made 29 saves, but a pair of Alex Burrows third period goals helped Vancouver erase a 1-0 defecit and Aaron Rome's empty netter sealed the game. Mike Fisher scored the Preds goal late in the second period. Roberto Luongo stopped 16-of-17 shots in net for the Canucks.