The Nashville Predators have come under a great deal of criticism in these parts for their season-long struggles to win the Shots For & Against battle, so tonight's 2-1 win in Edmonton was a sight for sore eyes. After some early moments that had me thinking "here we go again", the Preds turned it on after falling behind 1-0. They outshot Edmonton 25-14 over the final two periods, and put an end to a 4-game losing streak.
Anders Lindback turned aside 17 shots (including one that looked like it hurt, off his right knee) to earn his first win of the season.
Video highlights and reaction after the jump...
First the video (might have to wait until 45 minutes post-game for them to work):
Not-so-random observations from this one:
- When you're looking for a team to reverse a recent stretch of poor play, that opening goal by Eberle was particularly discouraging. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins earned himself a spot on the highlight reel at Mike Fisher's expense, then Eberle enjoyed way too much time and space with the puck, easily getting off both the initial shot and his own rebound to score the goal.
- I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's nice to be excited about some of Nashville's young forwards and their potential to develop into NHL regulars, but outside of Craig Smith, the rest of the 1st- and 2nd-year guys don't appear to have Top 6 potential. You watch the Oilers, however, and those kids bring a "wow" moment just about every game.
- That stretch of penalties in the second period was just plain odd. To me, the Ryan Jones hit on Blake Geoffrion looked shoulder-to-shoulder, so the major for Elbowing raised eyebrows. Tootoo's flop shortly afterward was a bit embarrassing, but no more so than the trip called on Roman Josi when Eberle got out of control trying to drive the net.
- Obviously, we'll all be tuned to injury updates on Boomer - if he can't go tomorrow night at Calgary, they can either dress McGrattan, or call a forward up from Milwaukee. Given the fact that it's the Flames, McGrattan might get the call.
- Go figure - after Copper & Blue detailed the Predators' woeful Shots For & Against issues earlier today, Nashville out-shoots Edmonton in each period tonight. Outside of Sergei Kostitsyn and Geoffrion (who only played 5:30 before getting hurt), all the Nashville forwards put a shot on goal.
- Perhaps the most encouraging thing from tonight's game is that the Preds got the win from Lindback - might this build a bit of confidence to give him more regular starts? I'd rather not see Rinne start 70 games and hit the playoffs mentally and physically exhausted.