Last night's Preds-Flyers game was as rough a game as you will see and is the epitome of two teams that are fighting for their playoff lives.
The Flyers are a fun team to watch. With the mix of skilled players, players most people love to hate (Pronger, Carcillo), and former Predators, there is something for everyone to focus their angst upon.
The Flyers long term chances received a blow when Michael Leighton left half way through the first period with a high ankle sprain. With Ray Emery out for the year and Brian Boucher having a sub-par season, Flyer fans have to be wondering what will happen next.
The Preds, as a team, did not play their best game but fortunately Pekka Rinne did. Rinne has had three strong games in a row and looked as sharp as he has all season. He indicated that he feels well rested and is ready for the stretch run coming up.
The team, as a whole, was sluggish and obviously did not have as much jump as the Flyers, especially in the first period. In the first period, the Flyers camped out in the slot in front of Rinne and kept pressure on the net the entire period.
Steve Sullivan indicated that during the first intermission, the team changed to a 1-2-2 system to try to slow the Flyers down and give the team a better opportunity to keep them out of the area in front of the net.
Officiating was another point of consternation for the Predators last night. It is unbelievable that the most penalized team in the league (Flyers) came through Nashville and never had a minor penalty called.
The worst case of a missed call was the trip on Jason Arnott that indirectly led to the Flyers second goal. Arnott was tripped and came up with a stick lodged in his skate. In the postgame, I was tempted to as Jason why they didn't call him for holding the opponent's stick as that seemed to be the way the officiating had gone all game.
Barry Trotz indicated that after the missed Arnott call, the official came over and admitted that he missed the call so Trotz seemed satisfied with that. Just prior to the Flyers third goal, it appeared that David Legwand had drawn an penalty, but there was also a no call.
As the games have gotten bunched together, Trotz has spread the minutes more evenly among all four lines. He is very aware of rest and recovery and not over extending his players. Fortunately, the Preds are a close knit team and all 18 skaters contributed and appear ready to step up during the playoff run.
Jerred Smithson pointed to the Tootoo fight as a momentum shifter and indicated that the team really responded to his efforts.
Barry Trotz finally gave the "hockey gods" credit for the win and indicated that the team was now even. I am assuming he was referring to the third period meltdown in San Jose where everything seemed to go against the Predators.
Jason Arnott said it best, "You can call it an ugly win, but we'll take the two points and move on." Next up is Minnesota on Thursday night at the Bridgestone Arena.
Here is our story and interviews from last night.
John Glennon has the game story, notes column and postgame ponderings. John also has a story about Scott Harnell's hair that actually looked awful in the pregame skate.
Jim Diamond has his story at the Examiner.
David Boclair reports in from the City Paper.
In the blogs there are posts from Forechecker, Brandon Felder, View from 111, Fan Huddle, What the Puck, Nashville Sports and See Puck City.
Hockey Fights has a look at the Tootoo-Laperriere fight.
For the other side of the game story see Sarah Baicker at CSN and philly.com.
In Preds Nation...
Dirk Hoag manipulates the numbers that shows Alexander Ovechkin is the most valuable player to his team.
AJ is back at PMFF.
The Admirals lost to Chicago 4-3. Short Shifts has the game story.
Paul Fenton takes a look at the Pred's college prospects. Preds.com also has a post about Nashville having three prospects in the top 50 with Colin Wilson at 8, Ryan Ellis at 19 and Chet Pickard at 26.
Prospect Taylor Beck won the Jim Mahon trophy for being the highest scoring right winger in the OHL. Preds.com was really busy yesterday as they also has the Admiral's update.
Predators.com is running a contest for folks taking a newbie to Thursday's game. Three sets of tickets will be given to the folks giving the most compelling reason why they should be the one introducing the newbie to the game. Deadline is 10 a.m. this morning.
Around the NHL...
Steve Downie was fined $1000 for his glorified slew foot on Sidney Crosby. Wow, just wow.
Another look at the Ovechkin suspension from Intent to Blow. They has one of their biggest days yet at ITB on Tuesday.
Big doings in Jersey tonight as the long awaited red, white and greens return for St. Paddy's Day. For the fan's sake, hopefully they will play better than they did in the pre 1992 days when they were the normal attire. Marty Brodeur will also wear a replica mask of the one he debuted in.
Damien Cox calls for Gary Bettman to move to the front line on hockey decisions instead of lurking behind Colin Campbell.
In this post from Behind the Net, it is proven that the Avalanche success this year was done with smoke and mirrors which doesn't bode well for playoff success.
Odds and Ends...
@joetheprophet sent us to this video that was the result of a marketing stunt by Heinekin in Italy during a big soccer match. It's an interesting watch.
Fandango is turning your Blackberry into a scanable ticket at select locations.
A new study shows incredible usage for Facebook in multiple articles.
From SXSW comes Twitter tools from Twitter superusers.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass