In one of the worst scheduling debacles of all time, I will be in New Jersey tonight when the Predators take the ice in game three of the series with the Blackhawks ay 8 p.m. CDT at the Bridgestone Arena.
Regardless of my attendance (or lack of it), the Predators and their fans will be ready for the match with the Hawks. For the first time in franchise history, the Preds actually hold home ice advantage this late in the post season.
Regardless of whether Patric Hornqvist is ready to play or not, the Predators will suit up 20 players that will be ready to compete. Even in the loss on Sunday in game two, the Predators hung tough and if a few shots had connected it could have been a different game.
As we have seen in the other seven first round series, the battle for the cup has been wide open with no team dominating any opening series.
The Predators need to play a full sixty minutes, be more disciplined, and improve their net presence and bury a few of the many rebounds coming off Antti Niemi and they will have a good chance of going ahead in the series.
Pekka Rinne needs to continue his stellar goalkeeping and the defense needs to avoid hanging him out to dry as they have repeatedly in the first two games.
I'm hoping by the time I get back into Smashville on Wednesday night that the Preds will have a 2-1 series lead and be ready to hit the ice again on Thursday night.
Tonight's Other Games...
Phoenix at Detroit 5:30 CDT (Phx leads 2-1)
Pittsburgh at Ottawa 6:00 CDT (Pitt leads 2-1)
New Jersey at Philadelphia 6:30 CDT (Phil leads 2-1)
San Jose at Colorado 9:00 CDT (Col leads 2-1)
Washington looked like the first team of the 16 in the playoff that looked like they wanted to establish themselves as a favorite in a series as the Caps won 5-1 in Montreal.
Boston continued to surprise the Sabres as they scored midway through the third period to make it a 2-1 game and held on to win to take a 2-1 series lead.
In the nightcap, Los Angeles played their best game of the series to beat Vancouver 5-3 and take a 2-1 lead in the series. Roberto Luongo left the game early after what may have been a hand injury to his glove hand.
In Pred Nation...
John Glennon has a story about the Pred's feeding off the fans, his notes and the game at a glance.
David Boclair has an update on Patric Hornqvist's injury. In my opinion, if he is n better than he was in game one, he needs to continue to sit out. He also has a story about Pekka'a post season mindset.
John Glennon reported that there were 2000 tickets available for tonight's game. Dirk Hoag tries to determine the cause with a poll.
With all the attendance discussion going on, Mark Willoughby breaks down the numbers.
Jeremy at Section 303 has the formula for the Preds to avoid losing.
Dirk the Forechecker also has sage advice for the Preds to take control of the series.
Paul McCann gets his thought together on the situation at Hockey Buzz.
Short Shifts reports a serious looking injury to Blake Geoffrion early in the Ads playoff game with the Chicago Wolves. Jim Diamond also has a later story with more detail. The Ads also lost the game and are down 3-1 and facing elimination.
After watching this video of Blake Geoffrion's two goals on Saturday before his injury, you wonder how long it will be before # 5 is on the ice for the Preds. My bet is during the season next year at some point.
Around the NHL...
The first nominees for the NHL Awards were released on Monday with the final three for the Vezina Trophy. Vezina Trophy Finalists were announced on @nhllive Marty Brodeur, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Ryan Miller. They will have daily announcements through next Thursday at noon EDT.
Here is the answer to our question yesterday from @NHL: All 8 first-round series were or are tied 1-1, for 1st time since best-of-7 format adopted in the #StanleyCup opening round in 1987.
Steve Lapore has the TV numbers from NBC from the weekend broadcasts. He also has the final ratings for the season. For some reason, the Predators are not included.
Intent to Blow has the story of the search for Joe Thornton being called off after he was hit by an Avalanche.
Down goes Brown looks at what happens to players who don't make the playoffs.
Our little friend Josh Sacco has some competition from another 5 year old hockey phenom, Aidan in Buffalo. Here is the video.
Eric Gage has a different report on the Andy Sutton - reporter confrontation over the weekend.
Odds and Ends...
Fees for carry on luggage on airlines won't happen now. It's amazing that Southwest makes money without charging for bags.
The lightning, ash and volcano pictures in this slide show look like end of the world stuff. Here's some pictures and a story of what ash does to airplanes.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass