Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Predators Shutout Coyotes 3-0 to End Streak
The Nashville Predators ended their four game losing streak with a 3-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at the Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night.
The win looks better on paper than it did in the arena. Since there was no television feed available anywhere, the rest of the world was spared what could be described as tentative play, that was highlighted by a couple of backdoor power play goals.
The Predators' first goal came at 3:36 in the opening period when the team was on the power play working the puck toward the net. Steve Sullivan passed the puck from the right side across the blue ice to Shea Weber who tried to feed it to Patrick Hornqvist who was in front of the net. The puck came back to Weber a second time and he was able to nail his third goal of the season to put the Preds ahead 1-0.
In the second period, Phoenix was called for a series of three penalties in a 3:01 minute stretch which produced 50 second of five on three man advantage in the middle of the infractions. The Preds scored with three seconds left on the two man advantage when Sullivan threw a perfect pass to Cal O'Reilly who was to the left of Ilya Bryzgalov and was able to snap the puck into the net to make it 2-0 Predators.
"Sully made two great passes on the power play and they clicked tonight. It was good to get a goal early which was good," a happier Barry Trotz related. "I thought early we were moving the puck well, getting looks and creating angles. We got the first goal and then the five on three goal which could be a momentum changer."
Trotz wasn't pleased with the other power plays as the game progressed, "I didn't like the power plays the last few times when they were pressuring pretty hard up ice. We just stopped working with the intensity we need to in supporting the puck, there fore it was a schmozzle. That's the best word I could come up with."
To the average fan, much of the game appeared to look like a game of keep away, especially in the third period. The Predators got their first empty net goal of the year on a shot by Jordin Tootoo with 25 seconds remaining in the contest. Moments earlier, Tootoo had failed to get a shot into the open net and was pleased to have had a second chance at it.
Pekka Rinne was easily the first star of the night as he picked up his third shutout of the season. He stopped all 33 Phoenix shots and did not appear to struggle at all.
Rinne seemed relieved after the game, "It was a solid game. We scored a couple of goals tonight and that was the difference. Defensibly we played solid. We had a few breakdowns but that happens every game and I was able to make those saves. I feel very good right now."
Coming in to the game Rinne had given up only eight goals in his last six starts but the team had only managed four goals during the four game losing streak. His goalkeeping has not been the team's problem.
"I've been feeling really good for a while now. I obviously haven't been getting the results you want but you have to respect this league and the other teams. It's so hard to win these games and you have to be on top of you game every night to get two points."
Trotz was asked if Rinne had gotten past being snake-bit on wins, "I will let you know tomorrow. Peks was really good but we need to tighten some things up. I think we were just OK and had some good fortune and we had a good goalie tonight. We're going to have to tighten some things up against Columbus and we're going to need an even better effort to beat Columbus."
The team will play Columbus at Nationwide Arena for the second time in ten days on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Central.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass