Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Grebeshkov Stars in Debut as Preds Win 4-3

Coach Barry Trotz postgame comments

Shea Weber, Denis Grebeshkov, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne comment

Coach Pat Quinn, Jeff Deslauriers, and Tom Gilbert comment

Denis Grebeshkov made a quick transition from representing Russia at the Olympics, going back to the Edmonton Oilers, and then being traded to the Nashville Predators all in a few days span. All the activity did not phase him as he earned first star of the game honors in the Preds 4-3 victory over the Oilers.

Grebeshkov contributed on the first two Predator goals as he assisted on Colin Wilson's shot from the high slot at 12:14 in the first period and then scored a goal himself less than three minutes later to put the Preds in the lead for the first time in the game.

The newly engaged (to Hillary Duff) Mike Comrie had given the Oilers an early lead at 6:37 in the first that did not hold up.

In the second period Gilbert Brule scored a goal at 11:53 to bring the Oilers back into a 2-2 tie with the Preds. Shea Weber responded with a bomb from the high slot three minutes on the power play to put the Preds back into the lead.

The third period started quickly with a goal from Marc Pouliot at 2:54 to tie the game 3-3. Goalie Pekka Rinne admitted it was one he should have had, "It was a pretty good shot. I was probably still a little rusty and it should have been a blocker save."

Captain Jason Arnott came through for the Preds with the game winning goal a couple of minutes later on an odd play where he skated past the net and flipped the puck back toward the crease where it hit and Oiler player and went into the net.

Arnott's odd bounce goal has not been a rarity for the Oilers who have had little go in their direction recently. Coach Pat Quinn said, "We've seen those a lot this year, not handling the front of the net positionally. There was no reason for him to be there in the first place."

The Predators out shot the Oilers 28-25 but had a much larger spread in the Corsi numbers with a 55-42 margin. The Preds also were better in the face off circle winning 58% of the draws. They also forced several Oiler errors leading 14-6 in the takeaway column.

Storylines From The Game

Getting the Rust Off...

Coach Barry Trotz admitted that the game wasn't the team's best effort, “It was a good game in the sense that we got some rust off. There was a bit of sloppiness and you could tell we hadn’t played in a while – on both sides. If you look at other games, it will probably be the same."

Trotz continued, "We got good contributions from all our lines. They were pretty good for the most part. There was some rust on some of the guys, but that will come off.”

Welcome to the Newest Predator...

After making a quick trip between the Oilers and the Predators, Denis Grebeshkov made a great first impression on the Pred's fans and coaches with a two point game. Coach Barry Trotz said, "He was really good. He was instrumental in the first two goals. He kept the puck in on the Wilson goal. On the second goal, he got it through."

Grebeshkov explained his transition, "I thought it was going to be a little weird to play against those guys, but it wasn't. You always practice against those guys so it was the same. I was happy that our team won tonight and I couldn't have wished for a better start."

Olympians Return...

One of the expectations after the break was that he Olympics would be tired or mentally worn out but that did not appear to be the case as Weber, Suter and Hornqvist each had four shots and had relatively good games. Grebeshkov, who played for the Russians, was the game's first star.

Coach Barry Trotz commented, "The good players came in and carried the team. Probably for them, the hard part is that they’ve been playing at a high pace and high level for two weeks. The timing may be off. That pass that would have been on the stick may be ahead or behind. Our guys that have just been practicing are moving a bit slower, but we’ll all get the rust off.”

Shea Weber did not appear tired from the Olympics and commented, "It’s not bad. I really thought it would be a lot worse. I’m a little surprised, but I’ve felt OK."

Ryan Suter admitted to some fatigue saying, "It's going to be tough mentally. Physically we are fine, but mentally it's going to be draining for us. We just need to come with a clear head everyday and do what we can to help the team win and do what it takes."

Up Next...

The Preds ended the night in seventh place in the Western conference with 73 points which is three behind Colorado and three in front of Detroit. The Predators will play the Kings at home on Thursday, travel to Detroit on Friday, and then return home for a day game with Vancouver on Sunday.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass

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