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Post-Game Musings: vs. Philadelphia

Saturday, 01.14.2012 / 10:47 PM CT / Features
By Paul Cook  - Nashville Predators
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Post-Game Musings: vs. Philadelphia
It was a great hockey game on Saturday night as the Predators bested the powerhouse Philadelphia Flyers with a 4-2 victory, but it was also somewhat bittersweet as a perfectly good catfish toss was wasted.

Likely already disappointed with the omission of Pekka Rinne on the final All-Star roster on the part of the NHL’s Hockey Operations department, the Preds faithful had to be feeling incredulous over the reversal of what looked to be an early first-period goal for Nick Spaling. The League’s official situation room report indicated that Spaling hadn’t actually gotten his stick on the puck, and the last contact had been made by Gabriel Bourque’s skate in the ever-confusing “distinct kicking motion.” By the time the goal was finally overturned, Nashville fans had already graced the ice with a local specimen of the order Siluriformes (that’s the aforementioned catfish for you, dear reader).

Karma would make things right in the third period however, granting Spaling a goal on a Jordin Tootoo pass into the slot. Spaling didn’t have to do much to get credit for putting the puck in the net, just be in the right place at the right time – replays showed the black disc bouncing off of Number 13’s midsection.

The Spaling goal meant that fans could breathe easier – Nashville has yet to lose in regulation when the former Kitchener Ranger scores, a lucky streak now extending to 13 regular-season games.


Three Musings
No Rookie Showdown: With Craig Smith out of the lineup due to illness, it was a missed opportunity to see two of the league’s best rookies this season face off against each other. At the midway point of 2011-12, you’ve got to figure that Edmonton wunderkind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and New Jersey’s Adam Henrique both have Schlage-quality locks on Calder Trophy nominations; the battle for the last spot on the ballot might come down to Smith and the Flyers’ Matt Read, a 25-year-old who cut his teeth with the Bemidji State University Beavers. Entering the game, Smith and Read were tied for third in rookie scoring behind Henrique and Nugent-Hopkins with 26 points apiece.

David Takes Down Goliath: The knock on Ryan Ellis has been his size, but that hasn’t stopped him from being able to play physically against some of the League’s bigger men. Minutes into the second period, Ellis leveled Wayne Simmonds, a 6’2” power forward, with a Hamhuisian hip-check that will likely make its way into end-of-season highlight montages just as Jordin Tootoo’s Fresh-Princing of Florida’s Michal Frolik did last year (Frolik’s life got ‘flipped, turned upside down’ on that December night back in 2010). Ellis’ play thus far has been stellar, and with each passing week, he looks more and more comfortable at the NHL level.

A Reliable Power Supply: How surprising does this Nashville power play continue to be? Despite going 0-for-6 in Thursday’s win over Colorado, the Predators have still managed to score 6 times in their last 17 opportunities with the man advantage. Martin Erat opened the scoring for Nashville at 5-on-4 with less than a minute to play in the first period on Saturday, netting his tenth goal of the season. Last season the team failed to crack 16%; in 2011-12 they’re second in the League, dominating opponents by converting on 21.6% of their chances.


Three Quotes
D Ryan Ellis, Nashville (on his hit on Simmonds): “I’m just a small guy, so he went over top of me. […] I think he said ‘good hit;’ nothing out of the ordinary. He’s a nice guy; we played against each other in the OHL.”

D Ryan Suter, Nashville (on allowing 38 shots to Philadelphia): “We were wondering if maybe the shot-keeper had a happy finger there for them.”

G Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia (on the Predators scoring off deflections): “What can I do? Nothing.”


Three Stars
F Nick Spaling, Nashville – Scored the game-winning goal after having an earlier marker taken away.
G Pekka Rinne, Nashville – Made 36 saves, the tenth time this season he’s turned away at least 35 shots (the Predators are 9-0-1 in those games).
F Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia – Gave the Predators’ defensive crew all they could handle, registering four shots on goal and picking up a pair of points (1G, 1A).

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Wilson 14 5 8 8 13
R. Josi 14 1 8 -6 9
R. Johansen 14 4 4 0 8
J. Neal 14 4 4 1 8
M. Fisher 14 5 2 -1 7
M. Ekholm 14 3 4 2 7
S. Weber 14 3 4 -7 7
R. Ellis 14 0 6 0 6
F. Forsberg 14 2 2 -11 4
M. Salomaki 14 1 1 2 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 7 7 0 .906 2.63
C. Hutton 0 0 0 .667 3.00