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A Dream for Some, a Nightmare for Others

Saturday night's astounding comeback victory over the Montreal Canadiens has drawn some strong reaction from around the hockey world. In Nashville, however, the Tennessean chose to stick the game recap on page 9 of the sports section. Apparently not even consecutive heart-stopping victories over two of the Eastern Conference's top teams can rouse the local daily into action. Here's some of the juicy bits from around the Montreal-oriented portions of the web this morning;

"Know something? The better team from start to finish won last night, despite trailing badly in the game." - Red Fisher, Montreal Gazette

Christobal Huet, who kept the Predators at bay through the first two periods, had some harsh words for his squad; "We're a fragile team. We're a little weak between the ears."

And this, from the wonderfully wordy Theory of Ice:

"See? I was right. The game in New Jersey last night wasn’t the worst thing ever. This game, however, was. Because they had it. They &%!$ing [ed] had this game, they had it tied up, duct taped, and bolted to the floor; they had it wrapped up like a Christmas gift from an OCD grandmother. Up 3-0 with all the momentum, they were flying- good energy, good offense, good defense, good goaltending, the works. And then it turned out that they’d only wrapped it up so neatly in the first half so that they could give it away in the second. Welcome back, Radek, have two points and twenty-one thousand peoples’ collective will to live. Hope you like it."

What gets lost on the drama of an outstanding comeback (Nashville was down 4-1 with 9:19 left in the 3rd and tied the game in the final minute) is a series of horrible lapses on the Predators' part, ones that I'm sure head coach Barry Trotz will address so that his charges don't get complacent during the early stages of games, on the presumption that they can always make it up later.

Chris Mason got off to a horrid start, and can hopefully put it behind him prior to Tuesday's game in Toronto. Shea Weber continues to look a bit out of sorts; his decision-making still appears tentative at times, but hopefully that's something that gets worked out over the next couple weeks. Scott Nichol's double-minor for high-sticking in the 2nd period, however, is the kind of selfish, retaliatory cheap shot that cost this team so severely in the playoffs last year. Captain Jason Arnott took at least one unnecessary penalty as well, which made Nashville's comeback even more remarkable. Toss in the multiple prime scoring chances that were blown in the first period, and coach Trotz should have plenty of material with which to keep his team focused on how to avoid 3-goal deficits in the first place.

That said, it's amazing how this team continues to work the gameplan down to the bitter end. A quick check at this morning shows the Predators have outscored the opposition 34-25 in the 3rd period, the fifth best record in the NHL so far, and I'd bet that would look even better if I screened for the amazing run (9-2-2) they've been on since November 1st. More things are right than wrong with this team, but there's certainly potential for better.

So on Tuesday, when the Predators take on the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre, can we just a have a nice, boring, 3-1 victory for a change?

Further reaction to last night's game can be found at Eyes on the Prize, Pred Joe, and Four Habs Fans.