4-6-13 Preds vs Blackhawks, 1-0 Blackhawks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Chicago Blackhawks have plenty of offense.  With the regular season starting to wind down, they're providing a strong reminder that they can play pretty stingy defense, too.

Bryan Bickell scored in the first period, and Ray Emery made 20 saves and the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 1-0 Saturday for their third win in four games.

Chicago improved to 12-0-1 against the Central Division this season and moved closer to clinching the playoff berth.

The Blackhawks won their third against Nashville this season and second in six days. They'll have a chance at their third in a week Sunday night in Chicago as these teams wrap up a back-to-back.

Emery posted his second shutout and the 13th of his career, and Chicago improved to 16-3-4 in one-goal games this season. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville called Emery rock solid in doing what he had to do for the shutout.

Chicago came in needing just four points to clinch that playoff berth. Now Blackhawks could clinch before taking the ice Sunday with losses by a couple other teams.

With the afternoon faceoff, enough of the Blackhawks' faithful got a flight to Nashville to make it feel like the United Center chanting, "Let's go Hawks" even before the puck dropped. The arena was packed with 17,256 fans in attendance in a building whose capacity is listed at 17,113.

The Predators are the Western Conference's only team to reach the semifinals each of the past two seasons but desperately needed a win with only nine games left.

Instead, Nashville lost its second straight and fourth in five games playing Saturday without center Paul Gaustad, whose upper body injury will keep him out at least a couple more games along with left wing Gabriel Bourque and forward Colin Wilson, who's been out since March 9.

They had their chances in the third with a double minor when Daniel Carcillo high-sticked Nashville captain Shea Weber, nicking the defenseman's nose and drawing blood at 7:58 of the third.

But the Blackhawks improved to 16 of their past 16 penalty kills. Patric Hornqvist poked away a would-be empty netter by Chicago right wing Michael Frolik with 1:30 left as he slid into the goal post knocking it off its moorings.

Nashville took its timeout only to see Emery stop several chances including a wraparound pass from Taylor Beck to Hornqvist. Brandon Yip was just wide of the net before the final horn.

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne called it a tough loss.  The Blackhawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Michal Handzus found Bickell on a cross-ice pass that Bickell one-timed past Rinne catching the Nashville goalie out of position at 5:31 of the first period. Trotz wasn't happy with defenseman Jonathan Blum's play on the 2-on-1.

Bickell credited Marcus Kruger with starting the play for Chicago, and the result gave him plenty of space to shoot.

Chicago outshot Nashville 10-2 with one of the Predators' rare chances broken up when Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook hooked Nick Spaling on a breakaway chance.

Nashville managed a late flurry, but Emery had a kick save on a Weber shot with 1:05 left in the first.

In the second, Emery stopped David Legwand from in front, got help when a Chicago forward tripped Matt Halischuk at the crease and then the goalie made a stop on Spaling as the Predators spent more time in the offensive zone.

Notes: Patrick Kane gave Chicago fans a bit of a scare early in the second when he appeared to catch an edge and his knees smashed into the goal post. He skated slowly to the bench before returning. ... Nashville defenseman Hal Gill turned 38 Saturday, and he's the only player over 37 to play for the Predators. He's 18th among active players, having played 1,093 games.

Three star selections

Winning Goaltender
Ray Emery

Losing Goaltender
Pekka Rinne


3-9-13 Preds vs Wild, 2-1 Wild in Shoot Out

Definitely not as much fun as last night!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - That famed southern hospitality didn't extend to Ryan Suter in his return to Nashville.

Matt Cullen scored the shootout-winning goal to give the Minnesota Wild a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
The Wild, who have won two of three, sent Nashville to its fourth loss in five games.

Cullen and Wild captain Mikko Koivu both scored in the shootout. Craig Smith was the only Nashville shooter to score in the tiebreaker against Niklas Backstrom.

The Wild are 3-1 in shootouts this season.

Zach Parise gave the Wild a 1-0 lead in the second period. David Legwand tied it for Nashville in the third.

Parise gave Minnesota its 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the second with a power-play goal.
Suter, a former top-paring defenseman with the Predators, sent a shot toward the Nashville net from the middle of the blue line. Standing just to the left of goalie Pekka Rinne and with his stick about waist high, Parise got enough of the puck to tip it over Rinne's glove for his ninth goal.

Minnesota has scored a power-play goal in three consecutive games for the first time this season.

The visit by the Wild was Suter's first return to Nashville since leaving the Predators. Suter played his first seven NHL seasons with Nashville, the team that chose him with the No. 7 pick in the 2003 draft.

Suter and Parise signed identical 13-year, $98 million contracts with Minnesota on July 4.

The Nashville fans showered Suter with boos each time he stepped onto the ice.
"I was just trying to get through it, trying to block it out," he said.  "It is not fun being booed, but it is part of it. They went the while game, too, that kind of surprised me. They will probably have some sore throats tomorrow."

Nashville managed to earn a point in this game after Legwand tied it with a power-play goal at 6:28 of the third.

With Suter serving a roughing penalty, Predators captain Shea Weber sent a pass to Sergei Kostitsyn on the left side. Kostitsyn then slid a cross-ice pass to Legwand for a shot that sailed over Backstrom's glove.

Backstrom made 24 saves through overtime. Rinne stopped 28 shots before the

Nashville fell to 2-5 in shootouts this season.

For the second time in two nights, the Predators sustained an injury to a forward. This time it was leading scorer Colin Wilson.

Early in the second period, Wilson was checked hard into the end boards in the Minnesota zone by defenseman Justin Falk. Wilson left the game and didn't return because of an upper body injury.

Wilson leads the Predators with seven goals and 12 assists. Trotz said there wouldn't be an update on Wilson's condition until Monday.

On Friday, the Predators lost forward Patric Hornqvist to an upper body injury. There is no timetable for his return. Hornqvist led the Predators in goals in two of the previous three seasons.

NOTES: Minnesota RW Cal Clutterbuck returned to the lineup after missing six games because of a lower body injury. ... Suter has a six-game point streak. ... Weber has five assists in three games.

Three star selections

Winning Goaltender
Niklas Backstrom

Losing Goaltender
Pekka Rinne



3-8-13 Preds vs Oilers, 6-0 Preds

What a fun night this turned out to be, after some of the losses the Preds have been enduring recently.

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators were battling a near-historic futility in terms of scoring entering their game on Friday. Earlier in the week, general manager David Poile made two waiver claims and called up a defenseman to shake up his team.

The moves worked almost as if scripted, with one of those claimed forwards, Zach Boychuk, registering a goal and the other, Bobby Butler, drawing three penalties in their respective debuts for Nashville, which beat Edmonton 6-0 at Bridgestone Arena.

Colin Wilson had two goals, giving him a team-leading seven, and two assists, Shea Weber had three assists while Pekka Rinne made 24 saves for his League-leading fourth shutout.

The only bad news for Nashville was that Patric Hornqvistleft the game with about 16 minutes left in the second period clutching his shoulder and did not return. Trotz ruled Hornqvist out for Saturday's home game against Minnesota and said Hornqvist would need to be evaluated.

Edmonton's Theo Peckham rode him into the boards and Hornqvist, who scored the game-winning goal on Friday, appeared to jam his shoulder as he reached out his arm to brace himself against the glass.

With all of its scoring woes, Nashville could ill afford to lose Hornqvist, who scored twice in his last five games and has led the team in goals in two of the previous three seasons.

The game was only the second in Nashville's last seven in which the Predators scored more than one goal. They entered the night averaging fewer than two goals per game, putting them on pace to be the League's second-lowest scoring team in the last 63 years. Nashville was 1-5-0 in those previous six.

Nashville got off to a fast start, picking up a power-play goal by Hornqvist at 6:07 of the first period, as he swatted in a puck from close range. The goal was Hornqvist's third, assisted by Wilson and Mike Fisher. Butler, making his debut for the Predators, earned the power play when he drew a slashing call from Nick Schultz at 4:52; he later used his speed to draw a tripping call on Ryan Whitney at 10:23 of the second period and also drew a roughing call on Ryan Jones.

Seconds before Hornqvist's goal, Rinne kept the game scoreless when he stopped Jones on a shorthanded breakaway. Jones went in alone when Nashville's Sergei Kostitsyn, manning the point, fell down.

David Legwand sent Nashville into intermission up 2-0 when he scored the flukiest of goals. From behind the red line, he flipped the puck on net as if for a line change. The puck bounced toward the net toward Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk. He stabbed at it with his catching glove, but it dipped under his arm and went into the net with 69 seconds left in the period.

Yann Danis started the second period in goal for Edmonton in place of Dubnyk. On the first shift of the period, Rich Clune greeted him by converting a feed from Paul Gaustad at close range.

Boychuk's goal came at 18:22 of the second, as he deftly deflected Weber's point shot.   Boychuk, the 14th player taken in the 2008 NHL Draft, has been waived twice this season, once by Carolina and once by Pittsburgh.

Wilson added two goals in the third period, the second one coming on the power play. Wilson did not necessarily agree that it was a relief for the Predators to break out of such a scoring slump.

Edmonton entered with losses in four straight, three in regulation. For all of their young firepower, the Oilers have been shut out on consecutive nights and have not scored a power-play goal during the last five games (they did not earn a power play on Friday).

Edmonton is 1-4-2 on its nine-game road trip, with stops remaining in Chicago and Colorado. In three of its last four games, Edmonton has been outscored by 14-2 but coach Ralph Krueger was hopeful that some injured veterans – goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, defenseman Mark Fistric and center Shawn Horcoff – would soon rejoin the team and bring some "freshness."

Still, Krueger was asked about the team's lack of net presence and his answer seemed to act as a metaphor for everything that ails Edmonton right now.

Three star selections

Winning Goaltender
Pekka Rinne

Losing Goaltender
Devan Dubnyk


2-22-13 Preds vs Canucks, 1-0 Canucks

This was a Friday night game, so we just took that day off work and drove up, went to the game, spent the night and came back down on Saturday, so no fun movies this round.   Was great fun to get to see Luongo and was a very tight game, but still wanted Preds to win.   But it was not to be.

I'm not a Canucks fan, per se, as much as I am several of their players and/or their talent; Luongo of course, The Sedins, Bieksa, Burrows.........can root for them anytime except when they face my team  :-)'s a few warmups, and of course, it's primarily Luongo, because being a goalie girl, he's one of my all time favorite goalies.   So here he comes.....

Oh boy, there's always one  :)  

Hey, Bobby Lu

I just liked this view down the ice

Henrik Sedin 

The Sedin Brothers 

More Bobby Lu looking all warrior

Um, yeah, I'm taking like 1000 of you, but hey, look over your right shoulder!  

Whatcha looking at?   

Maybe he likes the arena?   

And then there's Schneider, another favorite 

Henrik did the coolest thing.  He took pucks on his stick and purposely made sure they got over the glass and to the kidlets that were adoring him!   

PEKKA!!!   My very favorite!   Next to MOOSE, of course!

A little bit of Hamhuis

More Bieksa

Ok, I know, but now he's in net taking some shots

Hey Cap!  

And now for some Schneider, who I also admire

Is Schneider seeing something on his mitt? 

 More Bieksa

Maxim Lapierre

 Yeah, it's me again 


Chris Higgins

More Hamhuis

 Alexandre Burrows

And Gnash drops in

 Game Time!   Opening Face Off

And Preds start hammering Luongo

 The Vancouver Canucks beat the Nashville Predators at their own game.  The Canucks out-defended the NHL's stingiest defense in their own building on Friday night, limiting the Predators to just 10 shots after the first period. Fourth-liner Dale Weise scored midway through the third period and Roberto Luongo finished with 23 saves as the Canucks left Bridgestone Arena with a 1-0 victory.

The Predators win by playing shutdown defense in front of All-Star goaltender Pekka Rinne. On Friday, the Canucks used the same formula -- but executed it just a little better.

Neither team scored until Maxim Lapierre circled the net, came out into the lower right circle and fired a shot that hit Rinne's pads. The rebound came right to Weise, who ripped it into the open left side at 9:14 of the final period for his first goal of the season and just the fifth of his NHL career.

Luongo stopped 13 shots in the opening period, but spent large chunks of the last two periods without a lot to do as the Canucks stifled the Predators at every opportunity to win for the second time in as many nights. Cory Schneider was in goal for Thursday's 4-3 win at Dallas, which ended Vancouver's three-game losing streak.

Luongo was a lot busier than Rinne in the first 20 minutes as the Predators outshot Vancouver 13-3. He made an excellent save on a right-point blast through traffic by Shea Weber midway through the period and stopped four shots during a late power play, including a jam try by Patric Hornqvist after a save on Martin Erat's close-in opportunity.

Gnash getting the crowd excited!

Rinne finished with 23 saves in a game that saw few scoring opportunities for either team.

But the Canucks got their legs under them in the second period and began to get the better of the play, though they outshot the Predators just 9-5.

HEY LUONGO, NICE stream there, with your "G"!   

Rinne was tested for the first time 6:13 into the middle period when he moved out to the top of the crease to take Jannik Hansen's 30-foot blast in the midsection after Hansen took the puck away from Colin Wilson in the Nashville zone.

Rinne also denied the Sedin twins in quick succession with 8:40 left in the period, denying Daniel's short backhander and stopping Henrik on the rebound.

After Weise's goal put Vancouver ahead, Wilson had the Predators' best chance with 6:49 remaining when he was left alone in the slot, but he fired over the net. Nashville also had a late power play when Alexandre Burrows was called for slashing with 2:13 left but didn't get a shot on goal despite pulling Rinne to get a 6-on-4 skating advantage. Mike Fisher had a chance in the slot with just under a minute left but fired high.



Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. He played 9:31 and had two shots on goal.

The shutout was the second of the season for Luongo and the 62nd of his career, second among active goaltenders to New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who has 120.

Three star selections

Winning Goaltender
Roberto Luongo

Losing Goaltender
Pekka Rinne