Paul McCann: Back on top… for now.

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Wow! What a game from yesterday. Everybody is talking about it. Even non-fans are discussing the moves made, performances of individual players, and the impact of the final result. The Nashville Predators’ 4-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins once again shows the resiliency of this team. After back-to-back road losses to Central Division foes, Nashville needed to right the ship to prevent losing the leader status in the division.

The Predators got the kind of goaltending performance they needed from Carter Hutton… good enough to be named NHL’s first star of the day on NHL.com. The much-maligned Preds backup was excellent between the pipes yesterday, stopping all 21 shots he faced for his first road win of the season. When Pekka Rinne was injured before the All-Star break, the general consensus was that the Preds needed to stay at the .500 level to not have any major damage done to their positioning. The team is 3-2-2 since the injury, 8 out of 14 possible points, Hutton gathering all 8 of those. In other words… a little better than .500 and by all accounts, Rinne is poised to make a return this week.

After a murderous streak, the Predators schedule turns highly favorable for the month of February. Of the 15 games in February, 10 of them are inside the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena, where the Predators have been simply dominant so far this season. A fairly Eastern Conference heavy schedule began wityh yesterday’s win, continues tomorrow with Toronto In town, after the Ducks visit Thursday, the Preds have the next three against the East, Saturday’s matinee versus the Rangers, Sunday in Florida and next Tuesday when they welcome the Lightning to Smashville.

Tickets remain for the weekday games but the weekend game tickets are very scarce.

Here are the highlights from last night courtesy nhl.com

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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.

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Random Notes

– Since Pekka Rinne went down, Carter Hutton has posted a .916 save percentage in going 3-1-2.

– Standings update after play on 2/1 – The Predators have taken over first in the conference and maintained first in the Central. St. Louis is on a five game win streak and is two points behind in the division. Anaheim is tied in points but the Preds have a game in hand on the Ducks. The Predators also have a game in hand and a six point lead over third place Chicago.

– The Western Wild Card race remains fairly steady. Winnipeg, despite a three game losing streak, remains in the first wild card with 60 points in 51 games. Calgary has strengthened their hold on the second WC with 57 points in 50 games. LA trails by 3 points with a game in hand, Dallas and Colorado trail by four points and Minnesota trails by five. Wild card showdown tonight as the Jets visit Calgary.

– I actually watched the Super Bowl yesterday… almost didn’t because of all the hype and soap opera drama that led up to it. Good game, fabulous ending, almost enough to make you forget that both teams aren’t exactly “loveable.”

– One other Super Bowl note… for a commissioner that is supposedly always open to the media, and one that has fined for lack of media availability… the optics of Roger Goddell refusing an interview on the network that is covering the game ain’t good. Do as I say, not as I do is never a good strategy.

– Mike Fisher continues to put together one helluva season with another excellent performance yesterday.

– Josh Cooper has a nice look at the James Neal / Patric Hornqvist trade after the season series is complete with Pittsburgh. Here’s the link.

– Three games on the NHL schedule tonight – Panthers @ Rangers, Jets @ Flames, Oilers @ Sharks.

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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 will be back on Wednesday, February 18th at 7pm on 102.5 the Game and the SlapShot Radio Network… Our premier, day one sponsor is Dr. Jane Bacon at Hermitage Family and Cosmetic Dentistry … make your appointment at 615-872-7762. Also The Wine Shoppe at Green Hills and Burger Republic!

We’ve got room for your business to be part of the SlapShot Radio family with effective and affordable advertising packages for every budget. Be part of the excitement of Nashville hockey… Advertisers… reach out to me to access our activated listener base via email at paul(@)slapshotradio(dot)com

Radio station owners/programmers, join the SlapShot Radio Network… contact me using the email above to carry SlapShot Radio on your station, we are satellite delivered every week via SkyView on the SlapShot Radio Network. Each show contains two full breaks for your usage.

Our podcasts are posted… Click here to download or listen to any of this season’s podcasts.

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