Sunday, March 1, 2009

Predators Destroy Detroit in Near Perfect Game

Comments from Joel Ward, Shea Weber, Jason Arnott and Pekka Rinne

Barry Trotz Postgame comments

The Nashville Predators defeated the rival Detroit Red Wings 8-0 in what may be considered the closest thing to a perfect game in franchise history.

The Predators jumped out to a 5-0 first period lead and never looked back. First period goals were scored by Koistinen (4:48), Legwand (5:17), Ward (9:24), Pihlstrom (9:51), and Arnott (10:48).

Jason Arnott scored another goal at 14:14 in the second. In the third period, Shea Weber scored at 8:45 to complete his “Gordy Howe Hat Trick” while Jason Arnott scored the games final goal at 13:16 to finish off his hat trick.

Arnott talked about his hat trick, “It’s always nice to get a hat trick especially against Detroit because we don’t get too many goals off of them, It’s always a special moment when you get three”.

Pekka Rinne stopped all thirty Red Wing shots in route to his sixth shutout of the season. A glove save in the second on a shot by Thomas Kopecky, that was reviewed by the officials, was one for ages. From point blank range, Rinne snatched it out of thin air as it appeared headed for the back of the net. Barry Trotz considered it a turning point in the game saying, “The glove save Peks made, that to me was the signature save of the game that the guys said, lets get it back on track here and keep them (Detroit) form getting any momentum”.

Records dropped like flies in this contest. The five goals in the first period was a first for the Preds. The last three were scored in 1:24, which was the fastest ever three goals. The 8-0 final score provided the largest margin of victory in franchise history.

Joel Ward’s goal was an oddity in that he flipped it over the net and off the back of Detroit goalie Ty Conklin. Ward explained, “it came off the back of his head and it got past the cross bar and I was pretty excited about that”.

There were so many memories and highlights from the special victory that can’t be ignored including:

- A pre-game video on the megatron on “Rivalry” that really got the crowd into the game before the first puck drop.
- Frostys (from Wendy’s for five goals) for the crowd at the 10:48 mark in the first period before anyone chanted “We want Frostys”.
- Cal O’Reilly’s first point in his first NHL game on Ville Koistinen’s goal in the first period.
- Three assists by Steve Sullivan and J P Dumont.
- Antti Pihlstrom’s drought breaking goal after having only one goal on 69 shots, which led to the leagues worst shot percentage. Can you say “snakebit”?
- Shea Weber pounding Andreas Lilja in a spontaneous skirmish on a holding call in the second.
- A flying stick that was launched 20 feet into the air by Thomas Kopecky early in the third,
- Steve Sullivan being celebrated by a large contingent of youth hockey players and families from Timmins, Ontario.
- A plus five rating for Shea Weber on the evening along with a plus four for Ryan Suter.
- The Preds scoring 8 goals on 23 shots.
- A shutout on 67 shots off the Wings sticks including 30 actual shots, 19 blocks and 18 misses.
- 23 takeaways from the best puck control team in the league.

Shea Weber was realistic in his perspective of the win, “It’s one game, we got some good bounces, it’s something we got to look past, We can enjoy it for the next 20 minutes or so but we have to look forward to Tuesday (Edmonton game)”.

Barry Trotz was positive about the team effort stating, “There were no passengers tonight, everyone contributed. The guys are focused and excited about this time of the year, the challenge of being in the race, and everybody’s stepping up”.

The Predators have a history of letdowns after big wins over the Wings. When asked about staying focused Barry Trotz responded, “We are just going to try to keep it real. We can pat ourselves on the back but it’s only one game. We caught Detroit on a bad night and we just got to refocus and go against Edmonton”.

The victory moved the Predators into ninth place with 66 points, one point behind a two way tie for seventh. The Predators return to action Tuesday night at home against Edmonton, a team that is only one point ahead of them. They then complete the home stand on Thursday against Columbus before traveling to Philadelphia next Saturday for a game against the Flyers.

With the trade deadline looming at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and GM David Poile indicating that the Predators were in the market for a proven scorer, you have to wonder if we have seen a player play his last game with the Predators in their big victory on Saturday night. The next few days should prove interesting.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Paul Nicholson said...

Thanks for posting the videos. The official ones on the Preds site won't play on my phone, but YouTube videos will. Much apprecaited.

But... you gotta get yourself a mic for that camera. The built-in one is horrible for noisy rooms like that :-)

The Hockey God said...

That video intro was one for the ages... best video ever by the Preds & that set the tone in the crowd. BIG props to the Game Ops people!! Hopefully that gets on PredsTV or YouTube soon.
And BIG props to the Preds for punishing the Wings... great effort, but they need to carry it over against Edmonton on Tuesday.