Post-Game Musings: Game 1 at Phoenix

Saturday, 04.28.2012 / 12:18 AM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Post-Game Musings: Game 1 at Phoenix

Nashville played a very un-Preds like game tonight, but still nearly came away with a win; as Coach Trotz referenced in his post-game press conference, the Preds got off to a very slow start and didn’t play a gritty enough “detailed” game. Still, for all the Preds didn’t do right tonight, Martin Erat’s power-play goal late in regulation forced overtime. In OT, Nashville did look a lot more like itself, creating several elite chances, before taking an ill-advised icing which the Coyotes converted into a faceoff win and OT goal.

This is just Game 1 of what promises to be a long series, so expect the Preds – who looked like the fresher team the longer the game wore on – to put forth a more complete effort in Game 2 on Sunday.

Now on to the musings…

3rd Period Dominance – The Preds outscored Detroit 7-3 in Period 3s during Round 1; tonight the Preds got the lone third period goal in the game while holding a 16-1 edge in shots on goal in tonight’s Period 3.

Slow Start – Nashville spent all week talking about the slow start in last year’s Conference Semifinals series against Vancouver. Tonight was a sense of déjà vu as the Preds struggled out of the gate in the first period and never really seemed to get 100% into “Predators-style hockey” tonight. Nashville did get better as the game went along, but through regulation the top forwards --- with the exception of Martin Erat --- were not nearly involved in the game as Nashville needs to win this series. In OT, the Preds forwards stepped up their play, particularly Radulov and Sergei Kostitsyn.

Faceoff Circle – Nashville was very strong in the faceoff circle during Round 1 against Detroit, but tonight the Phoenix Coyotes owned the faceoff dots. The Preds won only 32 of the 78 faceoffs during Game 1, just 41%. Several of Phoenix’s faceoff wins were clean draws, allowing the Coyotes to set up their plays off the draws, including, ultimately the game-winning goal in overtime.

1) PHX F Ray Whitney – 1 goal, 1 assist, +1; scored the OT winner; creative with the puck on his stick tonight; was in line for one of the three stars even before scoring the OT goal
2) NSH F Martin Erat –1 goal, game-high 5 shots on goal; good energy tonight, strong on the puck, strong on the forecheck; even before his OT-forcing goal Erat was in line for one of the three stars
3) NSH D Francis Bouillon– 2 assists, +2; 3 hits, 1 blocked shot; steady defensively; was robbed by Smith on great chance early in P3 and had another great chance in overtime is the official Web site of the Nashville Predators and are trademarks of the Nashville Predators.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Nashville Predators and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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