The Nashville Predators lost the the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in a penalty laden game where all three goals were scored on power plays.
Brandon Yip had the game winner early in the second period. Matt Duchene had Colorado's opening goal. The Predators only goal came from rookie Cody Franson.
The officials were the stars of the game as they were front and center whistling a total of eighteen penalties, ten against the Preds and eight against the Avalanche.
The most controversial penalty occurred with seven and a half minutes left when a Ryan Suter goal, that would have tied the game, was waived off on a goalie interference call that Craig Anderson did a good job of selling to the officials. Replays indicated that the contact was incidental and probably did not interfere with Anderson's ability to stop the shot.
Pekka Rinne was strong in net stopping 21 of 23 Colorado shots. The two goals allowed were ones that Rinne had little chance to stop. Craig Anderson stopped all but on of the thirty Predator shots.
The Preds started the game with an early power play chance early at the 2:00 mark in the first period when John-Michael Lyles was called for slashing. The Preds had a couple of shots but neither made it in the net.
The nightly pointless fight broke out at 11:41 when David Koci pushed Wade Belak down and Belak got up and started trowing punches. Both received five for fighting.
Ryan Suter put the Avs on the power play on a really blatant cross-checking effort at 11:56. With 23 seconds left on the Suter penalty, Steve Sullivan was called for hooking to put three Preds in the box and give the Avs a five on three advantage.
Before the first penalty expired, Matt Duchene scored on a nice feed into the slot from John-Michael Lyles to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead. Earlier on the five on four power play, Pekka Rinne did some quality acrobatics keeping a couple of shots out of the net, but he had little chance on the Duchene shot.
Kevin Klein was called for a high sticking double minor at 18:12 to put the Pred in a hole for the remainder of the first period and the first 2:12 of the second.
With 36 seconds left in the the period after some extracurricular activity in Pekka Rinne's net, both team's players matched up for a dance and the only fight that was sustained was Steve Sullivan and Wojtek Wolski. Both Sully and Wolski received fighting majors. Wolski also received a two minute slashing call to even the teams on the ice at four on four.
The Predators out shot the Avs 12-4 in the first period but the Colorado was one for two on the power play to take a 1-0 lead into the break.
The second period started with the completion of the first period penalties but neither team scored.
Wade Belak was called for hooking at 5:43 on a ticky tack hooking call while battling two Avs behind their net. The Avs got their second power play goal at 7:25 when Brandon Yip found himself with the puck in front of an empty side of the net on a pass from Darcy Tucker to give the Avs a 2-0 lead.
At 8:18 the Predators went on the man advantage when Jordin Tootoo was slashed by Cody McLeod. The Preds made the Avs pay for the miscue when Cody Fransen had a great shot after a two step pass from Jason Arnott to Patric Hornqvist to Franson to cut the Avs' lead in half to 2-1. Franson did a slight double clutch before launching the shot which may have confused Anderson a bit.
Patric Hornqvist was called for tripping after he was knocked down by Paul Stastny and Hornqvist tried to retaliate and was caught pulling Stastny down. The Predators managed to kill the sixth Avalanche man advantage opportunity of the evening.
Francis Bouillon added to the endless string of penalties against the Preds at 14:19 when he was called for boarding. The Preds went unscathed on the Colorado power play.
With the period winding down at 19:39 T J Galiardi was called for roughing to give the Predators a carryover power play. Cody Franson unloaded a couple of quick shot attempts before the period ended but did not find the net.
The second period was a complete turn around from the first with the Avs leading in shots 12-5. The Avs were one for three on the man advantage which was surprising that they didn't have more shots since they had six minutes of power play time.
The Predators started the third period with 1:39 left on the Galiardi penalty. The Preds had one shot but nothing to add to the scoreboard.
The Preds returned to the power play at 11:33 when Kyle Cumisky flipped the puck over the net and was called for delay of game.
At 12:29 the Predators appeared to have tied the game but the goal was waived off when the worst of many penalties was called against Patric Hornqvist for allegedly interfering with Craig Anderson. The infraction was not visible on any replay angle on the tube.
At 15:46 the Predators set their season high for penalty kills when Ryan Jones was called for tripping.
After Barry Trotz pulled Pekka Rinne the Preds made a mad rush for the net and got a post with 36 seconds left. Two seconds later, Paul Stasney was called for hooking to give the Preds a six on four advantage down the stretch. The Preds drove several shots toward the goal but were never able to connect and the game ended with the 2-1 Colorado victory.
Storylines From The Game
Special Teams Stole the Show...
With eighteen penalties in the game you would expect the special teams to be the focus of the game. A total of 50 minutes of penalties, 30 of which were minors, allowed for plenty of odd man action. All three goals in the game were power play goals.
Refs or Preds, Who Was Worse...
While the Predators and their fans felt unjustly treated by the officials due to a few questionable penalties, especially the goaltender interference call, the Preds really need to look at themselves.
The undisciplined play on a really sloppy Ryan Suter cross checking penalty led to the first goal. The second goal came after Wade Belak took a hand off the stick making it easy for the officials to call a hooking penalty.
All of the other penalties that the Preds were frustrated with resulted in successful penalty kills. The ones that cost them were legitimate calls.
Steve Sullivan's fighting major from his scrap with Wojtek Wolski was his second regular season career fight according to HockeyFights.com. The first was on March 26, 1997 with Tony Granato when Sully was with the Leafs. Wolski had never been in an NHL fight.
The first fight of the night between Wade Belak and David Koci was slightly better than the usual
passionless Belak fight as he was pushed down and retaliated against Koci.
The Predators returned on after the game and will have Saturday off before returning to the ice on Sunday to prepare for a quick trip to Columbus to play the jackets on Tuesday.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass