There should be no reason for hand-wringing amongst the Predator faithful after last night's 3-1 loss to Calgary. It appeared to be one of those nights where the stars were aligned in favor of the Flames and Calgary solidified their opportunity by playing sixty minutes of solid hockey.
The Predators were not at their best and were out muscled at times and were too soft on the puck at others. The Predators also found themselves in the penalty box more that the would have wanted too.
There was also a little accounting by the hockey gods. After Pekka's stick saved the game on Sunday in Edmonton, a floating puck sailed high over Rinne and he had no idea where to find it. As the hockey gods would have it, a puck found the net when it shouldn't have to even things up.
The Calgary team that the Predators faced on Monday was not the same team that has been the subject of ridicule for most of the season. If the Flames can play with the same patience and intensity for the remainder of the season, there will be a playoff spot waiting for them in the Western Conference.
Wednesday's game in Vancouver should be interesting. It's close to home for several Predators like Cody Franson and captain Shea Weber. Dan Hamhuis and Shane O'Brien will each be facing their old teams.
Most importantly, the Preds are trying to chase down the Canucks for the Western Conference lead. Who could have said that a month ago with a straight face?
Hopefully the Preds will show up ready to play and realize that they have a four day vacation after the game and leave everything they have on the ice in beating the Canucks in their own barn.
Here is our game story from last night.
Josh Cooper has a quote from Barry Trotz that pretty much says it all.
From the blog world reports come from Amanda DiPaolo, Mark Willoughby, Chris Burton, Fang Finger Fever, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
The happy side of the story comes from The Calgary Sun, The Calgary Herald, Matchsticks and Gasoline, FlamesNation, Battle of Alberta, and Hit the Post.
I will be the guest co-host on Ryan Porth's RLD Hockey Radio today at noon. Craig Custance of the Sporting News is scheduled and a special surprise guest may be added. Check it out.
In Pred Nation...
Jim Diamond has everything you wanted to know about the Predators' tattoos including a slide show with a bunch of pictures that seems to be very popular.
Barry Trotz gives Mitch Korn credit for sending Cody Franson out for the shoot out on Sunday.
Rory Boylen gives props to Barry Trotz for the Jack Adams award for this year.
Admirals Roundtable has part two of their Darren Pang interview. It sounds like he enjoyed his trip to Milwaukee.
Jas Faulkner has her weekly Greetings from Nashville at The Hockey Writers.
From @coreypronman: #Preds Ryan Ellis on a 12 game point streak, 6 goals and 25 points in that span.
Here is a revived Twitter account of former Predator Ryan Jones from @brandon_felder: A former Pred re-joins Twitter. @jonesry28 is back. Welcome back Jonesy.
Around the NHL...
I would have liked to have seen Pekka Rinne get a little more respect for three stars of the week but he is holding out for the three stars of the month. Tim Thomas, Steven Stamkos, and Marty Brodeur took the honors.
It was reported over the weekend that Sidney Crosby would not play in this weekend's All-Star Game but now it appears that he will not attend at all.
In the hard to believe category from @mirtle: The NHLPA announces it "has retained Richard Rodier as a lawyer & economic consultant." Dirk Hoag reminds folks of accusations from a couple of years ago about Rodier. George Malik also has a few barbs about Rodier. I don't understand why the PA would associate themselves with someone of Rodier's kind when they want to have the public on their side.
The RLD has the latest power ratings leading up to the All-Star break.
Matt Reitz looks at the number of wins each team will need to make the playoffs.
Bleacher Report recounts all the good players that came out of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft that was held in Nashville.
The Goldwater Institute is jumping into the fray of Matthew Hulziser's purchase of the Coyotes. The Save the Coyotes folks have some ideas on the topic.
Chris Johnston says the business of Gretzky is still booming ten years after retirement.
The Preds-Canucks was not on Scott Burnside's games to watch this week. How do you omit that when you have the hottest team in the NHL vs the west leader?
Elliotte Friedman's weekly 30 thoughts includes a shout out to Josh Cooper.
The Fourth Period has their top 25 players for the trade deadline.
The Tampa Bay Lightning's presser set for yesterday was postponed due to the shootings in St Petersburg.
Here is a video for Kings fans who need a little picker-upper. H/T to Kingscast for pointing it out.
Odds and Ends...
Will The Palms in Las Vegas still be standing after MTV makes it the Spring Break 2011 headquarters. There really isn't any place cooler than the Palm's pool.
The USPS is looking at closing 2000 post offices. That's probably not enough if they are to remain competitive. It is amazing that FedX and UPS get by with few locations.
The waves are finally getting big at Mavericks at Half Moon Bay in California. This CNN report about an injured surfer has no idea of context of why folks are there or anything. Here are some photos of the situation from ESPN. Here is raw footage of the waves from KTVU and some still pictures from the cliff.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass