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Mully's Musings: vs. Phoenix

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 11:49 PM / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Mully\'s Musings: vs. Phoenix
 
After two periods on Tuesday, there seemed to be a feeling inside Bridgestone Arena that the Predators would defeat Phoenix. The game was tied 1-1 and Nashville was outplaying the Coyotes.

Even when Ray Whitney put Phoenix up 2-1 early in the third, there didn’t appear to be any panic. Eight minutes later, Nashville Captain Shea Weber tied it with a 5-on-3 power play goal. But the backbreaker for the home team was on the horizon, and it came in the form of a 4-on-4 goal by the Coyotes’ Keith Yandle with 1:45 to go.

It resulted in a 3-2 loss for the Preds, who continued their home struggles. Nashville is 0-3-1 in its last four home games, but will try to regroup when they head to Columbus for Thursday’s game.

On to the musings…


THREE MUSINGS
Rinne returns: Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne started on Tuesday after getting a breather on Saturday against Buffalo. Rinne stopped 32 of 35 shots and had a solid night. He gave up a goal nine seconds into the game, but didn’t get rattled. He stopped the next six shots of the period, and stopped another 11 in the second. Phoenix was more aggressive in the third and fired 17 shots at Rinne, who stopped 15 of them. But it was one too many. While the rest from the one-game break certainly helped Rinne’s mind and body, sometimes it can be tough for a goaltender to step back in and be on top of his game. It’s safe to say Rinne will be tougher to beat on Thursday in Columbus.

Weber’s will: When Nashville is on the power play, there are times when Captain Shea Weber simply takes over a game. It happened again on Tuesday when the Preds were on a 5-on-3 power play and desperately needed a goal to tie it. Weber launched a shot, which slightly deflected off of a Coyotes defender, and beat goaltender Jason LaBarbera. Weber played a solid defensive game, was second on the team in shots (five), led all players in hits (five) and played a game-high 28:21. Weber’s on-ice and off-ice leadership will be needed as Nashville attempts to break out and string a couple of victories together.

Draw it up: One of the issues Preds coach Barry Trotz sees with his team right now involves face-offs. Nashville has struggled on draws recently, and it bit the team once again late in the third when Chris Mueller lost a face-off, which helped lead to the Coyotes’ game-winning goal. Mueller, it should be noted, was 6 for 7 on draws through the first two periods. Still, it’s an issue that the coaching staff will address. And it’s something the Preds are likely to improve on. During practices, face-off drills are taken seriously, so expect them to be ramped up even more now.


THREE QUOTES
Barry Trotz: “Right now we seem to be better road warriors than we are at home. We just have to get some wins at home.”

F Patric Hornqvist: “We gave them a little too much time and space on the 4 on 4. They made a great play and won the game right there. We have to get back on track.”

D Ryan Suter: “We can’t hit the panic button. We have to continue to get better and work hard.”


THREE STARS
D Keith Yandle, Phoenix: Game-winning goal
G Jason LaBarbera, Phoenix: Stopped 30 of 32 shots
D Shea Weber, Nashville: PP goal, 5 hits, 5 shots


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