Pekka Rinne, J. P. Dumont and Patric Hornqvist Post Game Comments
Barry Trotz Post Game Comments
On Saturday night at the Sommet Center, the Nashville Predators experienced a game where the pucks weren't bouncing their way as they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes by a 5-2 score in preseason action.
The game was full of odd goals that clearly were not going the Predators way. Carolina scored early at 1:13 when Jussi Jokinen put the puck in the net as the Predator were wearing down on the games opening shift as they had not gotten a change and things were clearly out of kilter.
The Preds played better for a while and tied the game at 14:19 when Patric Hornqvist fed the puck in front of the Carolina net to J. P. Dumont who stuffed the puck past Michael Leighton.
As the period ended Ray Whitney tipped a shot by Joe Corvo that left Pekka Rinne helpless to stop making it 2-1 Carolina. Coach Barry Trotz described it as being "like a rubber ball out there bouncing around."
Things did not get any better for the Preds in the second period. On the Carolina power play Eric Staal fired a puck from the blue line that went high, hit the glass, and rebounded back into the net as a surprised Pekka Rinne couldn't handle the odd bounce off of his shoulder and glove.
Later in the second period, Patric Hornqvist brought the game within a goal on a play where he stuffed the puck from the side and forced it behind Leighton for a goal.
The game remained close until the Preds had a complete come-apart in the waning seconds. After the Preds had killed off a Carolina power play there was more confusion around the net when Marty Erat bumped Pekka Rinne allowing Scott Walker to put the puck on net to make it 4-2 with 35 seconds remaining.
The final nail in the coffin was Dan Hamhuis mishandling the puck and knocking it into the empty Preds net while attempting to stop a Tim Conboy breakaway. This capped a poor performance by Hamhuis and Kline as the second defensive pairing that led Barry Trotz to comment after the game that "they weren't very good."
Coach Barry Trotz was clearly frustrated as he had envisioned this game as one where he could put his lines together and develop some chemistry prior to Next Saturday's season opener at Dallas against the Stars.
Nagging injuries to Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward, Wade Belak and others put a crimp in Trotz's plans as he said, "You are going to have injuries during the year that you can't control and we are having some right now."
Patric Hornqvist took Sullivan's spot on the Pred's top line and responded with a goal and an assist. Trotz explained how me made the choice, "You talk about at training camp doing the things to earn a spot and to get into the mix and he goes to hard areas, plays hard and does a lot of those things and he's been productive doing that."
Trotz further stated, "Arnie J.P. and Hornqvist were my best line by a long shot."
Trotz called out the second line saying, "I didn't think the Legwand line was very good tonight, at all. It wasn't mis-reads, it was mis-trys, they just weren't very sharp tonight. It's one of those starange games that you chalk up to being preseason and not everybody having their A-game which was the difference."
When asked about players that may have made strides toward the roster Trotz mentioned Patric Hornqvist, He went further, "As far as the young guys on the fence, there was no one that is really separating themselves from each other, they are all sort of in a pack. I thought Triston Grant was really good and I don't see anyone else that was outstanding other than Hornqvist." Trotz later added that Mike Santorelli did have a good game.
In summary, Trotz said, "the games where we have been good, the best players were the best players and not all of our best players were the best players tonight. You win or lose and that is a big responsibility that they carry every night. They have to be better."
Looking forward to Sunday's game at Columbus, Trotz indicated that the healthy forwards that didn't play on Saturday will play on Sunday. "We've got a lot of players that are sort of nicked up and we are reevaluating. We really don't have any spare bodies up front."
Known scratches for Sunday include Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward, and Wade Belak. Newcomer, Francis Bouillon is scheduled to make his debut.
So what is Barry Trotz looking for on Sunday, "I want to finish strong. This will be the last chance for some of the guys, for lack of a better tern, to make the team. There are some guys not playing as well as they should and that may force them down to Milwaukee."
The Predators travel to Columbus for a 4 p.m. Central game with the Blue Jackets. That will conclude the pre-season schedule for the Predators. The roster for the season opener will be finalized soon after the game is reviewed and evaluated.
New Goal Song... Creating the most discussion at the Sommet on Saturday was a substitute goal song. Tim McGraw's "I Like It, I Love It" was replaced by Pennywise's "Bro Hymn" which has become a staple goal song at several NHL arenas. We have no idea if this is a permanent change or merely a pre-season experiment.
POTG on the 303:30... Jeremy and Codey at Section 303 hosted a Predator Blogger Roundtable on Saturday and we were able to participate along with Dirk Hoag, the Forechecker, Rachel Raines from What The Puck and Hockey Buzz's Brandon Felder. So much was covered that there may be more to come in the future. To find out which Pred's player inadvertantly got the nickname "sprinkles", you will have to coax one of the participants into telling the story becasue it is currenly laying on the cutting room floor.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass