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Predators 4, Kings 3: A Shootout In Smashville

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The Predators and Kings met in an early season match-up that had all the makings of a playoff series. The Predators won 4-3 on a shootout goal by James Neal, and the Kings left town with more than just a few bruises.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

From the initial puck-drop, it became clear that the Nashville Predators had something to prove against the defending Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. And the Kings wanted to kindly remind the Predators of what it takes to be considered a favorite. The matchup did not disappoint.

After the Preds and Kings traded leads in regulation, the Predators nearly won the game in overtime several times. Unable to convert a 4-3 power-play winner, the Predators took it to a half-marathon shootout where the NEW GUY, Heel James Neal, netted the only goal for either team. WIN FOR THE GOOD GUYS!

For the Predators, Colin Wilson, Taylor Beck, Shea Weber, Craig Smith, and Calle Jarnkrok all had standout games. The top line Neal-Forsberg-Ribeiro got shutout again in regulation, but that's ok... we need to have a balanced attack if we expect this team to really succeed.

Random Observations

  • The Kings are a perennially physical team, but my-oh-my are the Preds bringing it right to them in the 1st. Intense pressure, great fore-checking, fun hockey to watch if you are a Preds fan. Craig Smith scores and for a moment it looked like smooth sailing, but an unfortunate deflection provides the tying goal for the Kings.
  • By the way, Craig Smith with the speed and the finish, Colin Wilson with the setup... what is this, 2011?
  • Important penalty-kill in the 1st with Shea Weber in the box, just after the Kings tied it up.
  • As Marian Gaborik chased down the bouncing puck past Ryan Ellis and sent the go-ahead goal over Rinne's glove, I thought "Hey, you know, the Kings are still good."
  • As if we needed to pick apart the power-play any further, it always seems like left-handed shooters are in right-handed shooting positions and vice-versa. Could just be a result of cycling the puck, but too often guys seem in bad position to shoot simply because of their handedness.
  • Rich Clune is still up to no good, y'all.
  • Jarrett Stoll can't check like Eric Nystrom, apparently, so he decided to just try and mash his head in. Can't do that, I'm afraid.
  • The Human Rocketship lands the tying goal! But Wilson's assist was a huge one as he came off the bench like a Human Puck Magnet and made that score happen.
  • Eric Nystrom/Taylor Beck with the go ahead goal! Beautiful spin-o-rama from Beck and Nystrom just got a piece of it. So this is what it feels like to have deep forward lines... Huzzah!
  • #YesWeStand
  • Wow, that Drew Doughty goal hurts. Preds had all the momentum and then let a defensemen who plays 30 minutes a night skate through the entire D and send a simple shot along the ice through Rinne's legs to tie it up.
  • Yes, I know it is reeeaaaally early, but boy... wouldn't this be a hell of a playoff matchup? That was a humdinger of a 3rd period.
  • Filip Forsberg, James Neal, and Shea Weber all scored during OT, but they really didn't. But it REALLY looked like they did. But they didn't.
  • SHOOTOUT: Roy stopped, Forsberg stopped, Ellis stopped, Smith stopped, Josi stopped... JAMES NEAL SCORES!
  • Preds win, Kings lose.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Colin Wilson, fo sho. Money in the bank tonight.
  • Craig Smith, who is becoming an important scoring threat for the Preds (now 3rd on the team in goals with 7).
  • Nature Boy, Heel James Neal

Tweets of the Night

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - War-on-Ice - HockeyStats - Natural Stat Trick

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