Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zack Stortini's Restraint Was Key To Preds 4-3 Win over Winnipeg

Newcomer Zack Stortini showed incredible restraint when he was horse-collared and thrown to the ice by Troy Bodie with 8:29 left in the second period of the Predators 4-3 preseason win over the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.

At the time of the play, Nashville was down 3-2 and needing a boost to try to overtake the Jets who had led the entire game. On the play, Bodie was accessed a double minor, giving the Predators four minutes of power play opportunity. Stortini happily skated off the ice as he had done his job well.

Stortini explained the play, "It's something that's not always easy, but it's important to have that mindset and be cognizant of whats going on out there on the ice. It was a situation where we needed a power play and I was fortunate enough to draw one."

During the resulting man advantage, the Predators scored two goals, first one by Marty Erat at 12:30 and then another one by Patrick Hornqvist 80 seconds later, to take a 4-3 lead that was never relinquished.

Stortini passed out complements to the rest of the team too. "Our power play did a great job capitalizing and  scored a lot of great goals for us tonight."

Bodie was not impressed with Stortini's actions, "We've got to let it be known that sort of stuff doesn't happen on this team and I tried to get him to fight and I realized that he wasn't obliging. As a player in that role, I'd never turn someone down like that."

"Those two goals were on my shoulders, and it's tough when I thought I was doing my job but at the same time I have to be a little bit smarter."

Stortini may have made headway at sticking with the Predators when camp breaks as Barry Trotz was pleased with the play. "We were looking for a little momentum change there. He got in on the forecheck with a big hit there and one of their players jumped in there and he showed some restraint there."

Trotz continued, "You don't always have to fight there. That was a moment that he knew he was drawing a penalty for us and really that changed the game. We got two power play goals. That was a huge momentum (shift) and showed his experience as a good role player."

Stortini had already rankled the Jets when he and Chris Thorburn squared off with a long bout just 2:50 into the opening period. "It's something that's a big part of my job. It's not my first one and not my last one. It's something that is definitely a big part of my game."

The Predators other two goals were scored by Jordin Tootoo and Sergei Kostitsyn. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter each added two assists. Paul Postma, Spencer Machacek, and Derek Meech scored for Winnipeg.

The Predators received a scare at 14:24 in the second period when Pekka Rinne took a puck to the mask that dented the cage and cut his eyebrow which required 12 stitches. After the game he was in good spirits and jokingly said, "I'll live."

Chet Pickard started in goal and allowed two goals in the first period, one on a broken play scramble, and the other on a redirection. He played much better when he returned in relief of Rinne, stopping all 13 shots that he faced.

The Predators will take a much needed day off on Sunday after playing five games in six days and will return to the ice at Centennial for practice on Monday. Their next game will be on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Washington at the Bridgestone Arena.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass


Racki said...

As an Oiler fan, I've seen a lot of Zack Stortini. I'm hoping that he finds a job there with the Predators and stays in the NHL. He's one of the hardest working players in the league. He has his faults though. He's a terrible fighter, and most guys in the league know it. Despite that fact, and despite that he "showed restraint" in this game, he never backs down from anyone. He has a lot of pride. I am surprised that he didn't drop the gloves, because here in Edmonton, many fans would cringe watching the fights he would get into that he shouldn't be in.

Zack has to do what he did in that game to stay in the NHL because his fighting just won't get him there. He's a great agitator and he's a huge man, but his fighting skill is sub par for a heavyweight, which he very frequently goes up against (like I said, he'll fight anyone).

I don't really want to see him play against us Oilers, but the guy is a genuine, fantastic person off ice.. so he deserves whatever success he gets.

Anonymous said...

Another Oilers fan here, I was smiling watching Stortini in this game. If he's used as an agitator and an energy player he can do a great job. Fighting is not one of his strengths, but character and motivation are. Also if I recall correctly, some analysis showed that he tended to drive the play in the right direction more often than most gave him credit for. Here's hoping he finds regular NHL employment!

Racki said...

Agreed with Anonymous.. he's a defensively responsible player or, at the very least, he is able to keep the play in the right zone quite often.