Sunday, December 14, 2008

Predators, Ellis Shut Out Dallas in Uneventful Game

Joel Ward dekes Goalie Tobias Stephan and moves in for the game winning goal

The Nashville Predators recovered from the bad case of chronic fatigue syndrome that they experienced Thursday in Columbus to shut out the Dallas Stars 3-0 Saturday night at the Sommet Center.

The Predators can thank the Detroit Red Wings for wearing out the Stars physically and emotionally in their game in Dallas on Friday night in which the Stars won behind Marty Turco’s best game of the year. Dallas appeared much like the Predators did on Thursday when they just didn’t seem to have a lot of jump in their game.

While the Predators did play solid team hockey, this was not a game that would be described by the marketing slogan “Predator’s Hockey: It Stays With You”. For a shutout that was 1-0 game for 43 minutes it was not a crowd-pleasing edge of your seat type game. The crowd of 15,500 was unusually quiet for the entirety of the outing. Unlike most of the Predators recent games there were no controversial plays or fights. The closest thing to discord was a little pushing and shoving after the horn at the end of the first period.

The game’s first score came early at the 4:27 mark of the first period when Joel Ward deked Dallas Goalie Tobias Stephan completely out of the blue ice to put the puck into an empty net. Playing on the first line, Ward played his best game in his short NHL career as his initial goal ended up being the game winner. He also got the empty netter on a little flip off of the back of his stick with 86 seconds left in the match. David Legwand picked up the game’s second goal when he made an aggressive move to shove it under Stephan’s pads at 7:05 in the third.

Dan Ellis was solid in goal for the second game in a row picking up the shut out. In the post game interview he was quick to give credit to the whole team for playing a much-improved defense than we saw at times earlier in the season. Ellis stopped all 27 shots that Dallas threw at him. Dallas was a post away from tying the game at the mid point of the second and Ellis stood tall on several other scoring chances. The shutout was truly a team effort as the Preds blocked 16 shots and were really swarming the neutral zone and working Dallas away from the slot all night.

For Dallas, goalie Tobias Stephan deserved much better than the scoreboard showed. He made several amazing stops including one memorable highlight film quality glove save on a rebound while he was laying flat on his back. He stopped 35 of 37 Predator shots and did not have the defensive support from the team that was deserving of his good effort.

The Predators are off until Thursday when in another weird scheduling quirk they have a very long out and back one game road trip to the desert where they take on the Phoenix Coyotes. Hopefully, a few days off before then will revitalize their recent anemic offensive attack.

Thank You Marty Turco! During the pregame warm-ups as we sat by the glass taking pictures, Marty Turco was posing and teasing my daughter Laura which thrilled her to death. Before leaving the ice Turco went to the photographers hole in the glass and gave a puck to Laura that she will treasure for a long time. For all the Sean Averys in the NHL (one to be exact) there are 689 other players that are happy to be at the rink playing the game. We give a big PredsOnTheGlass salute to Marty Turco for being the good guy of the game.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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