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Preds Shine On Opening Night With 4-1 Win Over Anaheim

October 10, 2010, 12:00 AM ET [ Comments]

Anaheim vs Nashville - Game 1 of the 2010-2011 Season

The Nashville Predators delivered exactly what the 17,113 fans at a sold out Bridgestone Arena wanted… the first Predators win of the season in their first game. Depth scoring and a possible injury to Pekka Rinne are the big stories in this one as the Preds shot down the Ducks 4-1.

Felder’s FANTASTIC Five:

1. Playing Offensive All Night Long - Hard to dislike seeing the Preds post up 4 goals, 1 of which came via the man advantage, 49 shots on goal, and draw 7 total PP's. The Preds were flying around the ice, creating chances, using their speed, and drawing penalties. 3 of the Preds lines scored to add a touch of offensive balance. The Preds were led in shots on goal by their Captain, Shea Weber with 8. Steve Sullivan had 6 shots on goal, and then Matthew Lombardi, Ryan Suter, and Patric Hornqvist all registered 5 shots on goal as well. You have to like the way this team generated chances from not only the forwards but the defenseman as well throughout the game.

2. Developing That Killer Mentality - Barry Trotz spoke on this before the season began and I thought tonight was a good example of the Preds jumping on a weaker team. Knowing that Anaheim had just played last night in Detroit and that the Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller was starting in both games, it was refreshing to see them pepper the net with 16 1st period shots on goal. Later, the Preds put the game away with a Sullivan man advantage goal and then continue to press on for goals 3 and 4 on the night. I asked Trotz about this and you can see his response below in the QUOTES section.

3. Veteran Presence - This game was dominated by the veteran Pred players. There really seemed to be a new eagerness and aggression shown. I have to think the fact that the Shea Weber is now Captain does play some part in this and for me it showed tonight.

4. Net Presence - Patric Hornqvist earned my 3rd star of the game for the sheer fact that he played his type of game and maintained a net presence all night. The Sullivan power play goal? He was there, screening Hiller. His own goal? Screening Hiller on a Weber shot and then deposits the rebound. I also noticed Joel Ward adding some net presence on the Preds power play. Those two guys are great examples of how much an impact can be had by simply going to the crease and making life uncomfortable on goaltenders.

5. Intangibles Do Win Games - 9 takeaways, 14 blocked shots, and a 53% for their faceoff win percentage. Those little things add up. I also consider Bouillon stepping up and fighting Bodie apart of said intangibles to helping the team carry the momentum and earn the first 2 points of the season.

Other Notes:

* Tonight’s scratches for Nashville were Wade Belak and Alexander Sulzer. For Anaheim, Ryan Carter, Dan Sexton, and Brett Festerling were scratched.


* 19:44 to go. The very first shift and the Preds assistant captain Ryan Suter takes a 2 minute holding minor. Looks like we get to see that new PK unit early.

* 14:56 to go. The Preds had some nice sustained pressure using a line of Wilson, Legwand, and Ward. They had at least 3 scoring chances by my count. A good early sign.

* 13:02 to go and the pest known as Jordin Tootoo does what he does best, draws a penalty to get his team onto man advantage.

* This season I'm keeping an even closer eye on the man advantage. After each one I will update what occurred. MAN ADVANTAGE #1: They had one dump and chase to gain entry into the offensive zone. They did carry the puck over the blueline with possession once. There was one shot blocked, and one missed. Zero shots on goal.

* 8:55 to go and we have a fight break out in the corner. Frankie Bouillon answered the call from Troy Bodie with no hesitation. Bear in mind here that the Cube stands at 5 foot 8 while the rookie Bodie is listed at 6 foot 4. I have to say, I give the slight edge to Bouillon in this one. He landed quite a few punches before Bodie knew what was going on. A good showing on opening night. Bodie started the fight after Bouillon hit one of the Ducks hard into the side boards.

* END OF THE 1ST PERIOD – NSH: 0 ANA: 0 Positives - You've got to appreciate the fact that the Preds already have 16 shots on goal. I was also impressed with the amount of speed the Preds were using to their advantage. Negatives - Losing the faceoff battle with a 47% thus far. Yet to solve the riddle presented by the man in the black mask tending net for the Ducks.


* The Preds will start the period with their 2nd man advantage thanks to a holding call on Paul Mara for impeding the captain Shea Weber in the dying seconds. MAN ADVANTAGE #2: They had 1 shot on goal, gained the offensive zone with possession 3 times, and had 2 shots blocked. An improvement over the earlier man advantage in my book.

* GOAL for NASHVILLE - 15:50 to go. Marcel Goc opens the goal scoring for the Preds 2010-2011 season. A sniper shot as he drove the right slot and wired home a burning wrister high stick side. A real thing of beauty from Goc. Preds finally beat Hiller on their 19th attempt on net. Goc (1) from Jordin Tootoo (1) and Cody Franson (1). Preds take the 1-0 lead early in the 2nd period.

* GOAL for ANAHEIM - 14:35 to go. Saku Koivu finds the middle of the slot wide open and gets the time and space needed to pick his corner with a shot. He elected to go high glove and found the twine for the first goal of Anaheim's season. A quick response from the Ducks. It was their 13th shot on net against Pekka. The Preds D lost Koivu in the rush and he made them pay. Koivu (1) from Teemu Selanne (1) and Cam Fowler (1). We are quickly tied at 1.

* 12:49 to go and Ryan Suter makes a huge save to keep things even at one. Jason Blake drives the net and gets a step ahead of Bouillon. The Cube puts on a great back-check and forces Blake into a spot where he can't take a shot. As he passes the left post Blake turns around and passes the puck across the crease to a waiting Teemu Selanne. Just as Teemu is about the tap in a sure goal Ryan Suter dives across the crease and gets just enough of the end of his stick on the puck to block the shot. Incredible agility and presence by Suter on this play to bail out his goaltender.

* 11:53 to go and the Preds now have another man advantage as Sheldon Brookbank takes a seat for interference.

* POWER PLAY GOAL for NASHVILLE - 11:27 to go. Steve Sullivan gets his first of the season with a slap shot from the left point. A nice play set up where Weber gives it to Suter at the top of the point, who then slides it over to Sully for the slapper. Sullivan hammered it home high glove side with Patric Hornqvist down in front screening the goaltender. Sullivan (1) from Suter (1) and Weber (1). Preds now take a 2-1 lead.

* GOAL for NASHVILLE - 3:48 to go. Patric Hornqvist pots his first of the season while working in his office. Horny eyed a rebound falling to the ice and bats it down and in mid-air. Great vision on that one by the Preds leading scorer last season. Hornqvist was screening Hiller for a Weber shot and then just tracked the rebound quickly to bat it in low stick side. Hornqvist (1) from Weber (2) and Sullivan (1). Preds now hold a 3-1 lead.

* 42 seconds remain. Preds go on their 4th man advantage as Bobby Ryan gets tabbed for tripping.

* END OF THE 2ND PERIOD – NSH: 3 ANA: 1 Positives - Found the back of the net multiple times that period, including a man advantage goal. Tied at 28 shots on goal per team. Negatives - Giving up a few too many shots and chances that period. D needs to tighten down the angles and space given to the Ducks.


* Preds MAN ADVANTAGE #4: Gained the offensive zone with possession 4 times. Dumped the puck once. Had 2 missed shots on net.

* 17:24 to go and the Preds have an unscheduled goaltending change. Troy Bodie was driving the net with Bouillon draped on his back. Bodie ran into Rinne hard and took out his legs. Peks did not immediately leave the game and actually stayed out for another minute or so. The Preds jumped Bodie in the end boards after the play taking exception to the force in which the Ducks rookie drove the crease.

* 12:55 to go. Ducks take another penalty, this time Corey Perry with interference on the goalkeeper. Preds go on their 5th man advantage.

* Preds MAN ADVANTAGE #5: 4 shots on goal, 2 trips into the offensive zone with possession, and 3 missed shots.

* GOAL for NASHVILLE - 7:21 to go. David Legwand finds twine this time on his own rebound. J.P. Dumont deserves a lot of credit on this goal because he took the puck into the zone on a bouncing puck rush, found the puck at his right skate, kicked it over to the stick and delivered a cross-ice pass to Legwand on the back door. Leggy gave his backhand attempt some height, and Hiller was up to the initial challenge. Hiller then dropped after making the save and Legwand deposited the puck in the open high portion of the net. Legwand (1) from Dumont (1) and Joel Ward (1). Preds now own a commanding 4-1 lead.

* 2:48 to go and Luca Sbisa will go the sin bin for roughing Martin Erat after the whistle. Sbisa punched him in the back of the head. Preds get their 6th man advantage.

* Preds MAN ADVANTAGE #6 (pt 1): 3 SOG, 2 trips into offensive zone with possession, and 1 missed shot.

* 1:52 to go and the Preds will have 1:04 of 5 on 3 advantage as the Ducks get called for too many men on the ice. Preds will finish the game on the man advantage.

* Preds MAN ADVANTAGE #7 (5 on 3): 1 SOG and 3 missed shots.

* Preds MAN ADVANTAGE #6 (pt 2): 3 shots on goal.

* Preds don't tally at the end of the game but do give the fans what they want with the first win of the season.

* FINAL SCORE – NSH - 4 ANA - 1.

My Three Stars:

1. Steve Sullivan - 1 game winning power play goal, 1 assist, +1 rating, 6 SOG, 2 hits, and 1 takeaway.

2. Shea Weber - 2 assists, +1 rating, 8 SOG, 2 hits, 1 takeaway, and 4 blocked shots.

3. Patric Hornqvist - 1 goal, +1, 5 SOG, and 1 faceoff win.

Goalie Grades: A- / A – The starting goaltender tonight was Pekka Rinne. He left the game towards the beginning of the 3rd period due to an injury. Anders Lindback was unexpectedly thrust into the pipes to end the game. Not exactly the way you envision a rookie getting his first ice time, but he performed well, stopping all 7 shots on goal against and earning his first A in my book. As for Rinne, he stopped 29 of 30 shots against. I gave him a A- because he was out of position at times but still looked well in control of the game.


Brandon Felder - "On the play with Bodie crashing into Rinne, did you feel that was a bang-bang play or was he maybe a little reckless there?"

Francis Bouillon - "It's tough to say. I was talking to him after the hit and he was saying, 'Oh, it's not my fault. I didn't want to go into him but you hit me.' I probably have a apart of the responsibility in that too. Once you see a guy go in on a breakaway like that you have to go in and take him. I went there and tried to hit him but he obviously hit Peks too so we all fell on Peks. I hope he's going to be fine."

Felder - "Your not averse to dropping the gloves. Was that one of those plays where he challenges you directly and you have no problem going?"

Bouillon - "Oh yeah for sure. I can't really say that's my job but I never (backed down) from a fight when I was in Montreal. Last year I tried to play more of a "hockey" game and tried to stay healthy. This year, if we want to go further in the playoffs everybody has got to chip in and go in against anybody."


Felder - "On the power play tally was that a set play for you guys to go to Sully on almost like a 3rd point man?"

Ryan Suter - "Well you want to 2 on 1 guys. Webs 2 on 1'ed that top guy and then I made the fake and 2 on 1'ed the other top guy. Sully made a great shot and it probably wouldn't have gone in if Horny wasn't standing in front."


Felder - "On a rebound goal like that where you are batting it down from mid-air, the degree of difficulty on that is so high, it has to be one of those plays where instincts take over."

Patric Hornqvist - "Yeah, exactly. The puck was just right to my stomach, I turned around and I had seen just flip out from my body and I got a stick on it. Sometimes you hit it sometimes not but I tried to work on small things around the net everyday in practice, tips and stuff. It's just what I like to do and I'm that kind of guy on this team. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes not, but today was a lucky goal and I'll take it."

Felder - "Not the prettiest goal but YOUR kind of goal."

Hornqvist - "Yeah. I always score those kind of goals so it's always nice to get a good screen on the 1st one and always nice to get a goal, especially the first one."


Felder - "Before the season started you talked about wanting the team to have a killer mentality and being able to take advantage of other teams. Considering this Anaheim team was on a back to back did you feel tonight and the 16 shots on goal in the 1st period was a prime example of that?"

Barry Trotz - "Yeah. I thought their goaltender was real strong tonight. Just like last night he sort of kept them within striking distance. We had a lot of chances tonight. We put a lot of pucks towards them and put a lot of pressure on their defense. They actually did a really good job. The tough West though is a battle for 9 months here."

Final Thoughts:

Well, the injury status of Pekka Rinne will be a hot story until Wednesday to say the least. Barry Trotz indicated after the game that the injury wasn't "major," however the team is likely to call someone up for the beginning of the week as a precaution.

Moving past that story, I was impressed with the Preds offense tonight (as I outlined in the Fantastic Five) and like the fact that Nashville easily handled what is very likely a non-playoff team in the West. It will be very interesting to see how the Preds matchup against a much deeper blueline in Chicago come Wednesday night.

The Predators next game is Wednesday night against the reigning Stanley Cup champions. Game time is set for 7:30 pm CST. This game will be shown of FS-TN in HD.

Till the next time, take care friends.

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