Post Game Comments by Jason Arnott and Barry Trotz
In a game where there was nothing good to be said for the home team, the Atlanta Thrashers mauled the Nashville Predators by a score of 7-2 at the Sommet Center on Saturday night.
The seven goals allowed by the Predators were the most since a 7-6 loss at Calgary on November 6th and one short of the franchise record of eight last done on February 26, 2008 at Buffalo. In terms of the competitiveness of both teams the game probably wasn't as close as the final score. Atlanta came in on a high after an overtime come from behing victory Friday night in at Phillips Arena. The Predators were flat right from the start and seemed to have little left by the time they were down 3-0 halfway through the first period. Coach Barry Trotz apologized to the fans for the poor performance in his post game remarks.
Ex-Predator Rich Peverly, who was picked up on waivers by Atlanta earlier this week, centered a line that doomed the Predators right from the start of the game. Peverly's line includes sniper Ilya Kovalchuk giving him many opportunities to be a playmaker. Peverly assisted on three goals and was +3 on the evening. Peverly now has 6 points in two games including the overtime game winning goal on Friday night.
Neither starter Dan Ellis or Pekka Rinne was up to par in goal versus the Thrashers. Every one of the seven goals allowed were set up by defensive miscues by the Preds, including several one on one breakaway situations where the goalie wasn't able to make the big save. Ellis allowed 3 goals on 4 shots while Rinne did somewhat better in relief stopping 24 of 28 Thrasher shots. Ellis was asked by coach Barry Trotz if he wanted to go back in to get some more work late in the third period but he declined the offer.
If there was something good to be said about the Predators play it would be that they continued their home penalty kill success holding Atlanta scoreless on two attempts extending their streak to nine games. During that time they have gone 30 for 30 in short man situations. The power play unit scored a goal in a 5 on 3 situation late in the game. Steve Sullivan and Jason Arnott set up Shea Weber for the goal. Unfortunately, the PP unit also gave up a short-handed goal earlier in the period. Jordan Tootoo scored his first goal since Thanksgiving week for the other Predator tally.
The Predators close out their Pre-All Star game portion of the schedule on Monday night against the New Jersey Devils at the Sommet Center. The Devils will feature the newly acquired Brendan Shanahan who signed last week to play for the remainder of the year. The Predators are in dire need of all the points that can get as they remain in 13th place, four points out of eighth and a playoff spot.
Pekka a Young Star... Pekka Rinne was added to the roster for next Saturday's Rookie vs Sophomore NHL "Young Stars" game in Montreal. Rinne has played in the AHL All-star game twice and will join Shea Weber as a Predator representative to the All-Star weekend activities.
Bye for now... After the game Ryan Jones and Mike Santorelli were returned to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. With only one more game before an eight day break they will be able to continue playing as Milwaukee continues it's strong season with the league second best record. It is likely that Defenseman Alexander Sulzer will also be returned after Monday's game.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass