Paul McCann: THAT’S the Way to Open a Season!

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The lid is lifted on the 2014-15 season in Smashville with a successful debut of the new-look Nashville Predators last night at a sold out Bridgestone Arena with a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. The come-from-behind win was head coach Peter Laviolette’s first behind the Nashville bench as he becomes on the second head coach to record a win in franchise history.

Ottawa’s strategy was obvious early on, they were focused on shutting down James Neal’s line and bringing the body whenever possible. The strategy proved successful through the first two periods and Neal had to pick himself up off the ice repeatedly. The strategy was proved unsuccessful as that focus opened up opportunity for the Roy/Forsberg/Smith line… and they took full advantage of it, posting four points and getting the power play off the schnide early in the season, with Craig Smith’s game tying goal early in third period to knot the game. Full marks to Forsberg on the sweet setup for Smith’s finish.

Then, once again, the captain delivered on a sweet little backhander to put the team ahead…

The relief was palpable amongst the joy… the Bridgestone Arena crowd felt the Predators pressing a bit as they saw Craig Anderson make save after save after save… the chances were there throughout the first two periods, the finish showed up in the third. Did I say finish? Eric Nystrom took full advantage of Paul Gaustad’s forcing of a turnover and nice centering pass to pot the game winner a little less than two minutes later.

Not that there wouldn’t be any drama, as Alex Chiasson drew the Senators back within two on a defensive breakdown that allowed Chaisson to sit in the slot, unmolested for the tip of Cody Ceci’s point shot. Nail biting time was on… but then again… Pekka Rinne was back in net. Ottawa mounted it’s most sustained attack over the next six minutes but Rinne was there to preserve the victory and the successful debut of the new era in Smashville.

It’s only one game, two points in the standings and after a quick moment to savor… it’s time to move on to an early season Central Division showdown with the Dallas Stars tomorrow night. Puck drop is at 7pm, limited tickets are available at the Bridgestone Arena box office or at the team’s website.

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Random Notes

– Last night’s win brings Nashville’s record in season openers to 8-7-1… it was also head coach Peter Laviolette’s 390th career win.

– The tradition of honoring long time players who are no longer with the team continued last night as a video tribute to David Legwand was played midway through the first period.

– Speaking of Legwand… a little levity in the second period as Leggy was whistled for tripping. Obviously not happy with the call, he engaged referee Kelly Southerland as he made his way to the box. Old habits die hard as he proceeded to go the home penalty box. Once the situation was rectified, he had a laugh about it in the box. Y’know David is sometimes much maligned in Nashville… perhaps it’s familiarity… but he’s always been great to this observer.

– Jaromir Jagr posted his 1756th point last night, which places him 6th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list. At 42, Jagr’s play continues to amaze.

– Not to put too much on one game… but Colorado did not look good at all last night against Minnesota, getting shellacked 5-0. Av’s goalie Sergei Varlamov was pulled after the second period, giving up all five Wild goals.

– Dan Boyle broke his hand in the third period of last night’s Rangers win over St. Louis. NY loses the veteran blueliner for 4-6 weeks. Bad blow for the Blueshirts.

– Evander Kane, after a really weird “will they or won’t they trade him” summer went down in last night’s Jets win… no word on how long the young forward will be out as of this writing.

– The Flyers are off to another rough start, dropping their first two games of the season… does Craig Berube need to start worrying?

– Corey Perry had a hat trick, and the Ducks lost the game, dropping a 6-4 decision to the Penguins.

– Speaking of the Rangers, Rick Nash got off to a sizzling start with 2 goals and an assist for New York, including the game winner with less than two minutes left.

– If you get a chance to watch a game covered by Sportsnet you have to see some of the unique camera work they are using… including a camera installed on a ref’s helmet. Neat stuff!

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You are invited to follow me on Twitter. Search for @PredPAPaul… Not only will I be updating when I get news or updates, but we are having a bit of fun by getting your input on Gnash introductions, weigh in on Twitter and who knows, we may use your introduction for the best mascot in the NHL at the next Preds game! You can also keep up with all the goings on with SlapShot Radio by following the show on Twitter @SlapShotRadio1

Also… make sure to “like” SlapShot Radio on Facebook… here’s the link.

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SlapShot Radio is back every Wednesday night at 7pm on 102.5 the Game and the SlapShot Radio Network. Early season advertising specials are available to reach our activated listener base… so, if you want to drive more business to your business please… reach out to me. You can email me at paul (at) slapshotradio (.com)

The SlapShot Radio Road Trip is back!!! Go to our Facebook page for more information and join us as we hit the road to Big D!

We need to nail down tickets quick gang… so head on over!

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This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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