Sunday, December 28, 2008

Predators Run Out of Gas against the Oilers

Forty-eight hours and several thousand miles away from riding high in an emotional big win game against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, the Nashville Predators simply didn’t have enough gas left in the tank to compete with the Edmonton Oilers. They lost 5-2 and really never competed after the first period ended in a 2-2 tie.

Dan Ellis started in goal in spite of being emotionally drained from the Friday night win and being weakened by illness. He was chased midway through the second period after giving up two quick goals to Eric Cole and Andrew Cogliano. He was replaced by Pekka Rinne who gave up a quick goal to Sam Gagner but was solid the remainder of the game.

Other than Pekka Rinne playing outstanding for a period and a half stopping 15 of 16 shots many from point blank range there were few highlights for the Preds. Marty Erat, who may be trying to break out of his scoring slump, and Shea Weber were the goal scorers for Nashville in the first period. For the rest of the game the Preds returned to their “misery index” (goals scored per game) scoring drought of the last few weeks.

I really can’t understand why Barry Trotz went with Dan Ellis in goal when he had Pekka Rinne who was well rested and had played well against the Oilers when they last met in October. Throw in the fact that Ellis played well against tomorrow’s opponent, the Avalanche in November, and it even makes less sense.

The Predators return to action on Monday night in Colorado where they take on the Avalanche and then return home after this short two game incredibly long (mileage-wise) trip. Hopefully, Barry Trotz will put Pekka Rinne back in goal and give this team a fair shot at breaking even on the trip.

Young Preds at the World Juniors Through three days of the World Junior tournament the four Predator Juniors that are competing have played as well as their pre-tournament billing. Goalie Chet Pickard starting his first game for Canada shut out Kazakhstan in a 15-0 route. Pickard only faced 11 shots and was never really tested… US Captain Jonathon Blum has played solid defense and picked up assists in both USA wins so far. He was +3 in the opening game on Friday. Alternate USA captain Colin Wilson scored the games opening goal on Friday and added two assists. Wilson also assisted on the first goal in the US win on Sunday…. The least heralded Pred prospect in the tournament, Jani Lajunen of Finland, scored the Fins first goal in Sunday’s game against the Russians before the Fins succumbed to the more talented Soviet team… Predator fans should mark their calendar for the New Years Eve match up of young Pred stars when the USA plays Canada at 6:30 PM. The game is available on the NHL Network, XM Radio, and various sites on the internet.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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