Paul McCann: Strange Overtones in a 4-3 Win Over Toronto

298

What is it about Carter Hutton and simply ridiculous saves? Last year it was against Philly… this year, a game saver late in the third period. A seeing-eye puck that got behind him, he spun, spotted the puck heading for the goal, swatted at it with his stick, knocked it out of the air and sent it harmlessly to the corner.

Just another day at the office, ho-hum… It’s the lead on NHL.com and… aww heck… here it is…

Yeow!

Last night’s 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs wasn’t pretty… credit the Maple Leafs for that. They played a gritty game that took the Predators out of their comfort zone, especially after digging themselves an 0-2 hole on a shortie and a power play goal from the Predators in the first period. Pred Nation had visions of another 9-2 beatdown, only this time on home ice.

That wasn’t to be as Toronto stepped their game up in the second, and Nashville tried to go on cruise control, never a good recipe. Toronto closed the gap to one as Daniel Winnk scored about eight minutes in to the second period. Then things got a little strange. The Leafs lifted Jonathan Bernier due to a cut he suffered from his own skate, he was sent back to the locker room for repairs. James Reimer took over and it seemed to spark the Buds. The Maple Leafs scored two quick goals :37 seconds apart early in the third period to take the lead.

Two minutes later, Bernier was back between the pipes after taking 12 stitches. I’m sorry but… huh??? I don’t understand the move, your team gets the jump start it needed… all you have to do is run the car a bit to charge the battery back up… and you decide to turn it off. OK… it’s a long winded analogy but it works.

Look, I’m just a simple (emphasis on simple) hockey blogger… but that move just doesn’t make sense.

You know what happened, a few minutes later, Mike Fisher scores to tie it back up… then Colin Wilson gets the game winner four and half minutes past that… game over… Nashville takes two points and a franchise record ninth straight home win and sends Toronto further into the abyss with their tenth straight loss, which is tied for that storied franchise’s worst losing streak.

Honestly… they are not even in a position to tank hard enough for a reasonable shot in the McDavid / Eichel sweepstakes. Buffalo and Edmonton have 33 and 37 points each… the Leafs have 48. It’s harder to move back that far than it would be to play their way back into playoff contention. I think Stealer’s Wheel said it best in their 1973 hit… “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right… here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” Toronto moves on to New Jersey for a Friday night tilt. Nashville welcomes Anaheim to Smashville Thursday night in what promises to be an epic battle between two of the top teams in the league. Very limited tickets remain for this one.

Here are your highlights from nhl.com

———————————–

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

– Standings update after play on 2/3 – The Predators remain first in the division, conference and league. St. Louis 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 an eight point lead over third place Chicago, who leads 4th place Winnipeg by only 3 points.

– The Western Wild Card race remains fairly steady. Winnipeg extended their losing streak to five last night but they got to overtime so they picked up an important point, they remain in the first wild card slot with 61 points in 53 games. Vancouver wasted no time in re-taking third in the Pacific with their win last night, the Canucks have 59 points in 49 games and hold games in hand over everyone chasing them. Calgary is back in the second wild card slot behind Winnipeg. The Flames have a 4 point lead over Colorado. A five point lead over Minnesota, Dallas and LA, all three teams have a game in hand on Calgary.

– Nashville’s record over the three weeks since Pekka Rinne was injured is 4-2-2. No specifics on his return, but it’s getting close.

– Another three point night for Mike Fisher.

– Last night set a new franchise record with the Predators posting their ninth consecutive win at home. Nashville home record now stands an NHL best 20-2-1.

– Full marks to Preds head coach Peter Laviolette for his early third period timeout / wake up call for his team. The Predators responded well with their comeback.

– So… is ESPN recognizing the error of their ways??? Reports from TSN indicate that the so-called Worldwide Leader (in everything except hockey) has won the rights to broadcast the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, outbidding both NBC and Fox. I wonder if that improves their coverage of the NHL at all over the next year and a half. Personally… I just don’t watch ESPN that much anymore, they simply are not as good as they used to be.

– The best part of ESPN getting this tournament could be the return of Gary Thorne… one of my favorite hockey play-by-play men.

– Evander Kane a healthy scratch for the Jets? Sheesh… just move the guy already and give him a chance with another team.

– Pardon me while I take another bite of my crow sandwich…Devan Dubnyk continues to impress between the pipes for Minnesota, putting them back into the five team smozzle competing for the last Wild Card slot.

– Ahhh… the Islanders pulled out the Gorton’s jersey last night for warmups!

– The Kings lost again last night, their ninth in their last eleven games.

– Three games on the NHL schedule tonight – Bruins @ Rangers, Penguins @ Oilers, Sharks @ Flames.

————————————–

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.

————————————-

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.

————————————-