Nashville Predators captain Jason Arnott broke out of a long scoring slump with a goal and three assists tonight, as the Preds beat Colorado 5-3 before a sellout crowd of 17,113 at the Sommet Center. Both of his 2nd-period assists came as long slapshots were tipped by Patric Hornqvist for the score, giving Hornqvist a team-leading 23 goals on the season.
Check the NHL widget down there in the right sidebar for the video highlights, and follow after the jump for reaction and the advanced even-strength stats...
The first period in this one appeared eerily like Tuesday's shootout loss to Phoenix; the Preds played solid defensively and created a few chances, but couldn't beat Craig Anderson in the Colorado net. The Avalanche got on the board first as Chris Stewart chipped a puck past Francis Bouillon at the blueline and finished off a 2-on-1 by feeding Cody McLeod for the score.
Alexander Sulzer, in his first game back with the Preds after Cody Franson's injury, got beat on that 2-on-1, and was involved in another unfortunate episode in the 1st period when he collided with linesman Steve Barton, who slammed hard on the ice and had to leave the game.
In the 2nd, the Preds got a 5-on-3 power play opportunity, and Barry Trotz called a timeout, sensing a big opportunity to finally get the offense rolling. While the 5-on-3 went horribly, just a few seconds after it expired Arnott cut loose with a long slapper that Hornqvist tipped in to tie the game.
Just a minute later, Joel Ward put Nashville ahead, batting a rebound out of mid-air, and the Preds were finally back in business. While Matt Duchene tied it up for Colorado on the power play (next job for Nashville is to fix that awful PK), the offensive pressure and the goals kept coming for the Preds. Steve Sullivan had a phenomenal shift where he held onto the puck for an extended period and set up a few different shots on net, and later on he fed Arnott for a slam-dunk goal from just outside the goal crease. In the final minute, Hornqvist tipped another Arnott slapshot home, and the Predators had some breathing room heading into the 3rd.
Sully got rewarded for his hard work with a power play goal midway through the final period, giving Nashville a much-needed successful night with the man advantage (3 goals on 5 opportunities). Pekka Rinne was generally solid in net, you couldn't really pin any of the Colorado goals on him.
All in all, it was a good performance by the Predators; they outshot the Avs 36-26 overall, got some momentum going on the power play, and the goaltending was good. On the other hand, there were some bad defensive lapses which led to the Avalanche goals, which need to get patched up pretty quickly.
Oh, and the "Brothers O'Reilly" battle? They did get to face off against each other one time, which Ryan won. Neither played a role in the scoring, and each finished a -1 with no shots on net.
The Predators conclude the pre-Olympic portion of the home schedule Saturday night vs. the San Jose Sharks. For a great deal on tickets to this, or any Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".
Looking at the even-strength advanced stats, the real standout line was Erat-Goc-Tootoo, which seemed to get pressure consistently. Jordin Tootoo seems to be making some good, quick decisions with the puck these days, either firing it on net or making crisp passes that lead to shots. As he rounds back into game shape, I really like what I'm seeing out him.
Francis Bouillon got caught flat-footed on a couple occasions and couldn't catch up with the play, that's going to happen sometimes.
|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|
|J P Dumont||R||6:06||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||3||4||-1|