COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7: Matt Halischuk #24 of the Nashville Predators celebrates his third period goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the game at Nationwide Arena on October 7, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. The Predators defeated the Blue Jackets 3-2. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
With the Cellblock 303 crowd cheering their approval from high atop Nationwide Arena, the Nashville Predators took the season opener 3-2. Matt Halischuk netted the game-winner in the 3rd period, and the Preds held on despite a furious late charge by the Blue Jackets, led by their new top line of Vinny Prospal, Jeff Carter, and Rick Nash.
After the jump, we've got video highlights, reaction, and post-game stats...
First up, the video highlights:
Scattered thoughts on tonight's game:
- Some of those lines really bug me. Putting Patric Hornqvist alongside Blake Geoffrion and Jerred Smithson sure doesn't seem like a way to support one of your top goal-scoring threats. With just 7:32 of ice time, Hornqvist got the least such action on the team (he did, however, get 3:07 on the PP).
- I do, however, like Wilson-Legwand-Smith; that trio has real potential.
- On the other side, Prospal-Carter-Nash should make for a dynamite line, the fans in Columbus are going to have some fun watching them this season.
- The nice thing about that opening score? A nice quick shot by Ryan Suter off a slick pass. While the story had a happy ending, Sergei Kostitsyn was just a few feet in front of the goalie, with no other defenders between he and the net, and he threw a backhand pass across the slot. If Suter doesn't score there, folks would be cussing SK74 out for passing up the shooting opportunity. I'm already skeptical that he's going to really start shooting this year, and this play doesn't alleviate those concerns (15:25 of ice time, zero attempted shots).
- It was nice to see Craig Smith jump on the loose puck remaining from Shea Weber's shot to tie the game, right after Columbus had tied it up. He showed great jump to get to that puck before Steve Mason could lie back and cover it up.
- The tricky thing about forechecking is that 9 times out 10, the guy putting in the effort doesn't reap the immediate rewards, so it really takes a team-first guy to be effective there. In Matt Halischuk's case, he did cash in, as the turnover he helped create came right back to him after that nifty feed from Cal O'Reilly, allowing Halischuk to make it 3-1.
- How about Suter fighting off Nash during that late penalty kill? He cleanly separated Nash from the puck, going right after the Columbus captain without any hesitation.
- Post-game quotes are available from (each name is a link to their MP3): Columbus head coach Scott Arniel, Rick Nash, and Vinny Prospal.
|Even Strength||Individual Totals||Team Totals While Player Is On Ice|
|Player||Pos||EV TOI||Shots||Shts Blkd||Missed Shts||Blocks||SOG For||SOG Ag||SOG +/-||Tot SF||Tot SA||Corsi|
Who is your Predator of the Game?
Matt Halischuk: GW goal (35 votes)
Pekka Rinne: 32 saves (107 votes)
Ryan Suter: goal, assist, shaking Rick Nash off like a rag doll (211 votes)
353 total votes