Paul McCann: Review / Preview of Back to Back


The final score, 5-4 Blues in a shootout… Take the point, and move on. On a night where strange things happened during the broadcast and on the ice, the Nashville Predators found a way to squeeze a point from a more dominant home team then they are. The St. Louis Blues have the highest win percentage in the league in their own building, and the bounces certainly went their way last night, especially during an insane four and a half minute period during the second where it seemed that every loose puck ended up where it could do the most damage.

Mike Fisher posted a three point night in earning the third start of the game. His bizarre, McDonald’s commercial, “off the scoreboard, off Section 310, off the glass, nothing but net” goal got the scoring started and Prince Filip struck again, placing himself in the exact right place to hammer home the rebound off Craig Smith’s shot to give the Preds a 2-0 lead… also known as the “Most Dangerous Lead in Hockey!!!!” (cue the dramatic music sting.)

Eight minutes later… the Blues were up 3-2 and looking for more, when Mike Fisher scored a shortie, only the second one the team has scored all year (ironically, the first one was against St. Louis as well) which knotted the game at three.

Then Seth Jones made a bad giveaway and Carter Hutton gave up one he should’ve had to give the Blues the lead back, no complaints about goal support in this one. That 4-3 score held until 17:22 of the third when James Neal was the beneficiary of some great work down low from Colin Wilson, banging home a nice feed from Mike Fisher to send the game to OT. One of the more wide open and fun overtime periods I’ve seen in quite a while.

The inevitable shootout, the Blues win it and close to within four points of Nashville for first in the division. The Predators picked up a point on Anaheim (who lost to San Jose) and now only trail the Ducks by two with two games in hand.

Like I said… take the point and move on.

Here are the highlights from last night courtesy

Moving on involved a late night flight to Colorado and yet another Central Division showdown with the Colorado Avalanche tonight. The Av’s haven’t played since their loss Tuesday night in Smashville. The goaltending matchup is a little murky. Colorado will start Semyon Varlamov, who the Preds put four past on Tuesday. The Predators will start… well… I dunno.

Head coach Peter Laviolette surprised many observers starting Hutton back to back two weekends ago… this could be the game to use Marek Mazanec, but that is not clear as I write this. The fact that Pekka Rinne participated in practice yesterday has spawned a lot of speculation, but every message from the team says the 3-5 week timeframe for his return still holds… Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rinne in net on Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Keep an eye on noted Pred killer Jarome Iginla. He leads the Avalanche in goal scoring and has been hotter than a two dollar pistol over the past 16 games, potting eight of his team leading 15 goals in that time frame. Colorado’s power play continues to misfire, 0-13 in the last four games and 1-16 in the past six.

Expect a tight one, with the game going to overtime… Colorado has a nasty habit of doing that. It is the one thing that has kept them within shouting distance of the pack in the Western Conference. Game time is 8pm, coverage on Fox Sports Tennessee and the Predators Radio Network.

Here is your video preview from…


I’d like you to know about the Peterson for Parkinson’s fundraiser happening on February 16th at the Franklin Theatre. It’s called “Songwriters and Storytellers” and will feature performances from some of Nashville’s premier songwriters. Writers of hits for artists like Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean… just to name a few. For more information, including how to purchase tickets Click here. Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm… it should be an awesome show for a great cause.


Random Notes

– Mike Fisher’s first goal was the 500th point of his NHL career.

– The next point Mike Ribeiro posts will be his 700th NHL point. Considering he has 26 points in the last 25 games, there won’t be a long wait for it.

– Colin Wilson continues his strong play, he has posted 13 points in his last 11 games. His down low work has been excellent and he just seems to finally have put it all together.

– The AHL’s California rush is long overdue.

– Here come the ads… and I don’t mean the Pred’s Milwaukee farm team. The World Cup of Hockey jerseys will probably feature advertisements on them.

– Ex-Pred favorite and current Philadelphia Flyer Kimmo Timonen is close to returning to the Philly lineup. The trade rumors are already heating up regarding the veteran blueliner… some of it centering on a potential return to Nashville.

– Five games on the NHL schedule tonight – Penguins @ Devils, Blues @ Hurricanes, Predators @ Avalanche, Sabres @ Canucks, Blackhawks @ Ducks.


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