NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 06: Dustin Brown #23 and Justin Williams #14 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate a goal against the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on March 6, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Well, that was weird. The Nashville Predators needed two points tonight to keep pace with the St. Louis Blues, but fell just short, as they couldn't quite complete the comeback against the Los Angeles Kings despite Patric Hornqvist reaching the 20 goal plateau for the 3rd straight year with two tonight.
Hornqvist said during the first intermission that (paraphrasing) there "were no fluky goals", and to some extent, he has a point - but there were definitely some odd ones. Let's recount:
- Justin Williams scored from nearly behind the net when he flung it toward Pekka Rinne. It slipped through Rinne's five hole and was kicked in by his pad. Oops.
- Williams picked up a second when the puck came out of a scrum, off his foot, and in. Needless to say, it wasn't Pekka's night.
- Finally, Hornqvist had a semi-breakaway late in the third, and his deke didn't work, but putting it off Jonathan Quick's pad, back off the toe of Hornqvist's skate, and over Quick's shoulder to bring the Preds within one did. Like I said, weird game.
Granted, it's difficult for Nashville to win when Rinne has a bad game and gets pulled, but the skaters were extra sloppy in all zones tonight, allowing the Kings the time and space necessary to get the chances needed. The Erat/Fisher/Kostitsyn line played well, however, accounting for two goals, while Ryan Ellis looked fairly solid in his return from illness.
Shane O'Brien and the Avs come to town Thursday night, in a game which the Preds can ill-afford to lose with Detroit waiting on Saturday.
Yeah, tonight's score was close, but it really shouldn't have been. Let's hope Nashville learned their lesson and can employ changes against Colorado.
One more thing - some fans have been clamoring for Jordin Tootoo to watch a game or two from the press box. After tonight, they may get their wish - Tootoo shoved the linesman in the back after an altercation with Matt Greene, and I wouldn't be surprised if he is at least fined by the league. You simply do not touch an official.