Last night's Predators loss to the Duck was a tough one to swallow for the local fan base as well as the players and coaches that performed on the ice.
One thing I will not do is to try to minimize what the Anaheim Ducks were able to accomplish. They played their best game of the series while the Predators were not hitting on all cylinders. To a man, no one in the Preds' dressing room was pleased with the effort. Having the extra day off appeared to energize the Ducks while the Predators were lulled into a false sense of comfort.
Coach Randy Carlyle indicated early on that he had found holes in Pekka Rinne's game and was not taken very seriously because no one thought that he was smarter than the other 28 coaches around the league. Pekka did not have a good night but neither did the folks in front of him.
There were way too many loose pucks around the Rinne's net that were not cleared and all acknowledged that was an issue. He would also say that he would like to have a second chance at a couple of the shots too.
Penalties again were an issue starting with a boarding call on Shane O'Brien at the start of the game which SOB indicated was a dive with a hand motion on the jumbotron for all 17,113 fans and the Ducks players and coaches to see.
The Ducks were playing loose and seemed to be mystified by the signs and abuse they were getting during the pre-skate which seemed to loosen then up a little more. We witnessed Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf laughing at some of the fans and signs and I don't blame them. What does a gnome have to do with the game anyway?
The entire bru-ha-ha about the Preds diving seemed to have worked well at distracting the players and fans from the real matter at hand which was playing 60 minutes of solid hockey against a really good Ducks team.
As a result, the Predators now travel to the Ducks home ice without Marty Erat who was leveled by Jarkko Ruutu on a clean hit early in the contest. Fans wanted Ruutu suspended but it really doesn't matter. He may not see the ice again anyway and the damage has been done.
It is probable that J.P. Dumont or Colin Wilson will replace Erat in tomorrow night's game. Hopefully, the emotion of getting to play will motivate them to contibute at least a part of what Erat had been bringing lately.
The Ducks also will be getting Bobby Ryan back in the line up after his two game suspension and he will be ready to set the world on fire.
One motto that the Predators have always lived by is that they never do anything the easy way. That best sums up where they stand now. Instead of being able to win a couple of home games to advance, they now have to win the home game on Sunday and one of the two road games.
Take heart Preds fans, all is not lost. The series is tied 2-2 and if the team has two sixty minute efforts left in them, most likely they will be playing in Vancouver next weekend.
Preds-Ducks Game 4 Round-Up...
Here is our game story from last night with postgame video.
Josh Cooper had his game story, notes column, and postgame ponderings.
Bryan Mullen touches on Pekka Rinne's goaltending efforts.
David Climer says that the Preds blew it on the big stage. Joe Biddle has a similar story saying the Preds flunked their biggest test. (As an editorial comment, these two columnists have been absent for all but a couple of games the entire season. It would be nice if they were around enough to have a full appreciation for what the team has accomplished over the course of the year. Maybe if the Titans don't play next year, they will be looking for something to do earlier in the season.)
Jim Diamond has his game story about the third period collapse and a second post about Carrie Underwood's first game night appearance.
David Boclair has a pair of stories at The City Paper. He has details about the Preds changing goalies and the Preds being done in by the short-handed goal to start the third period.
From the blog world reports come from Amanda DiPaolo, Mark Willoughby, Chris Burton, Jeremy Gover, Paul McCann, Fang Faction, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
The other side of the story comes from The OC Register, Long Beach Press Telegram, L A Times, Ducks Blog, Quackalakin', Anaheim Calling, Battle of California, Ducks and Cover, Ducks Daily Blog, and Ducks and Pucks.
Audio from the Predators comes from Mike Fisher, Pekka Rinne, Steve Sullivan, and Ryan Suter. From Anaheim we heard from Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Coach Randy Carlyle.
Here are the video highlights from NHL.com.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass