The Nashville Predators shook the monkey off their collective back, beat the living tar out of him with a hockey stick, and blasted him into the net repeatedly in a 7-2 triumph tonight at Bridgestone Arena over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Nikolai Khabibulin started the game for Chicago and gave up the opening pair of goals to Nashville, before leaving with an injury late in the first period, giving way to Corey Crawford. Add in the late scratch for Marian Hossa, and all the breaks were heading in Nashville's direction early on. Twelve different Predators recorded at least one point, as Craig Smith led the way with a goal and two assists. Marek Mazanec turned in his best effort so far, making 39 saves to earn his first career NHL win.
The Predators (now 9-9-2) can't get too used to the home cooking, however, as they head back out for road games at Detroit & Toronto next week.
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- Patric Hornqvist once again drove the attack up front, with 6 shots and a tip of Roman Josi's shot for the 3rd goal. If there's a team MVP so far, he's definitely it.
- Once the video highlights are active, watch that Stalberg goal, then watch it again, and again. The pass from Bourque was the very definition of a saucer pass, and Stalberg's drive to the net and finish were sublime. Every bit as sensational as it was dramatic, given the Chicago goal scored moments earlier.
- My fear is that a game like this will encourage Barry Trotz to continue playing #grit guys over younger talent... so that's something to keep an eye on going forward.
- Can a game like this rinse off the stink of the 4-game losing streak? We'll see if any confidence carries over to Tuesday night.
- A big thumbs-down goes to the Preds for a gift card snafu my wife ran into in the pro shop tonight. I had used my Smashville Rewards from a previous season to get a $100 gift card, but she was told that it had expired. Lots of confusion followed as they went back and forth between the pro shop and Guest Services, and in the end they honored the card at half value. Quite the rude surprise, however.
Roll the video highlights...
More from On the Forecheck:
- Bridgestone Arena Bag Policy: Be Prepared
- Nashville Predators News: Filip Forsberg Recalled From Milwaukee, Taylor Beck Sent Down
- Who Gets the Blame? David Poile, or Barry Trotz?
- Buffalo Sabres Fire GM Darcy Regier & Head Coach Ron Rolston: Might Nashville's Paul Fenton Get His Chance?
- Nashville Predators Trade Rumors: Could Jonas Hiller Save the Preds?