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Topic: Central Division

My Two Cents: The Nashville Predators race to a photo finish

 

My Two-Cents with Hank BonecutterClarksville, TN – The National Hockey League is racing to the finish line of their regular season schedule.  The “second” season begins next week with the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Nashville Predators have a spot in those playoffs, yet as of this writing, we don’t know who or where they will play.  It doesn’t matter, because Predators fans are RABID about their team even though their play of late hasn’t been too consistent.

Nashville Predators center Rocco Grimaldi (23) and Montreal Canadiens left wing Paul Byron (41) battle for the puck in front of goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during the first period at Bell Centre. (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators center Rocco Grimaldi (23) and Montreal Canadiens left wing Paul Byron (41) battle for the puck in front of goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during the first period at Bell Centre. (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators downed by Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators were thumped by the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight in Nashville, 5-2.  Columbus is fighting for a spot in the playoffs and played like their hockey lives depended on it tonight.

Scoring just fifty seconds into the contest, the Blue Jackets set the tone early and went on to dominate the Predators on their home ice.

Nashville is still tied with the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the central division of the Western Conference, but the St. Louis Blues posted a win tonight and inch to within two points of the leaders.  The final week of the regular season is going to be a doozy. 

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) passes the puck from behind his net during the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) passes the puck from behind his net during the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators defeat the Minnesota Wild in another shootout victory 5-4

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN -The Nashville Predators had an old fashioned street brawl tonight against some former teammates and the rest of the Minnesota Wild, but in the end, they stood victorious with the 5-4 win.

Former Predator Kevin Fiala, who was briefly honored during the first period of tonight’s game, quickly became the villain after scoring two goals on the night.  But the Smashville “love” quickly became boos when he got caught up in some fisticuffs with former teammate Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen.

Nashville Predators center Brian Boyle (11) celebrates in front of Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (40) after scoring a goal during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. The goal was originally credited to Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) but was changed by officials to Boyle in the third period. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators center Brian Boyle (11) celebrates in front of Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (40) after scoring a goal during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. The goal was originally credited to Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) but was changed by officials to Boyle in the third period. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators down the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in shootout

 

Nashville PredatorsSt. Paul, MN – The Nashville Predators clawed their way back from a 2-1 deficit against the Minnesota Wild tonight to win the game, 3-2 in a shootout.

The two points Nashville picked up keeps them in touch with the Central Division leading Winnipeg Jets who beat Columbus 5-2 today.

Nashville faced several ex-Predators tonight with Kevin Fiala facing his former team, along with Anthony Bitetto, Ryan Suter and Pontus Aberg.  

The Predators brought former Minnesota sharp-shooter Mikael Granlund with them to face his former team as well. 

Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) shoots the puck against Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in the first period at Xcel Energy Center. (David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) shoots the puck against Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in the first period at Xcel Energy Center. (David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators fall to Winnipeg 5-3

 

Nashville PredatorsWinnipeg, Manitoba Canada -The Nashville Predators blew a two goal lead to fall to their Central Division rivals, the Winnipeg Jets, 5-3.  With the loss, Nashville relinquishes first place in the division.

Penalties and lack of a power play cost the Predators once again tonight as the Jets took full advantage of their man advantage.

Nashville struck first at 15:21 of the opening period when Viktor Arvidsson took a feed in the circle and ripped a wicked wrister past goalie Laurent Brossoit for the early 1-0 lead.

Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (55) scores a goal past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at Bell MTS Place. (Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (55) scores a goal past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at Bell MTS Place. (Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators take division lead with win over the L.A. Kings 2-1

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators played like gangbusters for the first two periods of hockey tonight, then had to hold on for the win against the L.A Kings, 2-1.  With the win, the Predators take over first place in the Central Division of the Western Conference. 

The Kings suffer their sixth loss in a row and are reeling towards the end of their season, as Nashville was expected to have little trouble with L.A tonight.

Kyle Turris got things started for Nashville at 8:50 of the opening period taking a cross ice pass from Filip Forsberg and blasting the one-timer past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for the early 1-0 lead.

 Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) has a wrap around attempt blocked by Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) has a wrap around attempt blocked by Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators thumped by visiting Winnipeg Jets 5-1

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators had nothing for the Winnipeg Jets tonight in a battle of Central Division rivals as the visitors pounded Nashville, 5-1.

From start to finish, the Jets outskated and outplayed the home team and proved why at this point in the season, they sit atop the division.

Brendan Lemieux pulled the wool over the eyes of the Nashville defense at 10:09 of the first period, when he faked a shot on the offensive rush, then slipped the wrap around shot past Pekka Rinne for the early 1-0 lead.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) makes a save on a shot by Winnipeg Jets left wing Mathieu Perreault (85) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) makes a save on a shot by Winnipeg Jets left wing Mathieu Perreault (85) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Arvidsson hat-trick leads Nashville Predators over the Washington Capitals 7-2

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators defeated the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals tonight at Bridgestone Arena, 7-2, behind Viktor Arvidssons hat-trick. 

Arvidsson has now scored nine goals in nine games for the Predators and shows no sign of wear and tear after returning from a broken thumb. 

Washington was completing a “back-to-back” series tonight in Nashville, having lost in St. Louis last night to the Blues.  The Capitals started their back up in goal, Pheonix Copley, and he got a very rude welcome to the music city. 

Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) scores a goal against Washington Capitals goaltender Pheonix Copley (1) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) scores a goal against Washington Capitals goaltender Pheonix Copley (1) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators defeat the Philadelphia Flyers behind Juuse Saros shutout 4-0

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators dominated the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at Bridgestone Arena behind the shutout performance of Juuse Saros in goal, 4-0.

This was the second shutout of the season for Saros and was only his second start in two weeks.  Saros stopped all 32 shots on goal tonight and was named the first star of the game.

The two teams played a back and forth first period with no scoring before the intermission.  That all changed in the second period.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sport)

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sport)

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Nashville Predators drop home opener to Calgary Flames 3-0

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators disappointed a sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena tonight, losing to the Calgary Flames, 3-0.

Flames goaltender Mike Smith was a brick wall in net for Calgary, stopping 43 shots on goal, and earning the shutout. 

Elias Lindholm got the Flames on the board with a goal on the power play in the first period for the 1-0 lead.  Sean Monahan then gave the Flames a 2-0 lead and Nashville was behind the eight ball after two periods.

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) attempts a shot during the second period against the Calgary Flames at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) attempts a shot during the second period against the Calgary Flames at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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