The Nashville Predators beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 and that's just fine with me. The Preds dictated the game from the opening puck-drop and got the result everyone was expecting, though they maybe didn't have to wait so long for the first goal.
Through the 1st period, the frustration meter was rising quickly. A flurry of manageable shots were hurled towards Matt Hackett, and none of them were really close to going in. Then Craig Smith smashed the mess out of Jerry D'Amigo's mouth, sending the Preds on a double minor penalty-kill. The Preds killed it off and continued to dominate offensive play... but couldn't score. The 2nd period was somehow worse, with less shots and more turnovers. Until finally, on the power-play, Shea Weber slapped one through the slot and Taylor Beck redirected it home. Preds finally got a lead.
The flood gates didn't exactly open at that point, but the Predators did seem refreshed with a goal on the board. Craig Smith put up a second goal in the 3rd period, pouncing on a rebound after a Ryan Ellis shot. Mike Fisher also scored with about 5 minutes left, ripping one by Hackett from the slot.
With heavy hitters James Neal and Colin Wilson out of the lineup and with the Blues losing to the Wild earlier in the day, the Preds needed this one. And so help me if you complain about only winning this one by 3 goals, I will find you, tie you to a chair, and force you to watch the last 10 games back-to-back until you cry yourself silly.
- Unfortunately, we seem to be starting with more of the same. Passes are just slightly off, offensive attacks seem rushed, defense is having to press up too much (leading to an early penalty kill) and the shots are all being comfortably saved by
Patrick Roy Martin Brodeur Carey Price some guy, does it really even matter,Matt Hackett.
- Fortunately, the Preds are spending an awful lot of time in the offensive zone and lead in shots 17-6. If only leading in shots and setting the tone of the game led to wins, right?
- Craig Smith absolutely destroyed Jerry D'Amigo's teeth. Like, all of them. Hope he's ok.
- Ok, the Sabres are 20-44-7 and miserable, and yet they still routinely maneuver clean zone entries on the power-play. Why is this not a thing we get to see?
- I don't know if I can articulate how frustrating this is to watch. The Preds are desperately trying to score, yet they look as if they have no idea how to make that happen. Just more failed passing and routine glove saves for Hackett. Someone find the kryptonite buried under the ice and hurl it into outer space with great velocity.
- Viktor Arvidsson, making his debut tonight, looks fast and looks willing to shoot the puck. Good to see... now go put one in the net, son.
- Thank the heavens. A goal. Taylor Beck deflects a Weber slapper and the Predators have the lead at home over the worst team in the NHL.
- Craig Smith scores to make it 2-0! Some nice defensive play leads to a 3-on-2 breakout, with Ryan Ellis leading the play down the right side. His shot rebounded off of Hackett's pads, right onto the stick of Smith, who scored.
- The Sabres aren't going away, but they aren't really threatening the outcome of the game. Guys like Cody Hodgson and Matt Moulson are doing their best to make it competitive, but can't beat Rinne or his post.
- Mike Fisher can rip it, guys. Love to see that.
- Hey look! A Pekka Rinne shutout! Cool!
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne: 22 saves and don't ignore the opponent... Rinne came up with some nice saves in this one as he gets his 4th shutout.
- Taylor Beck: beautiful tip in! He continues his run of great play recently.
- Ryan Ellis: 2 assists on the night. A great play on the defensive end followed up by a great play on the offensive end led to the Smith goal.
Tweets Of The Night
The Sabres are going to score first and I'm going to load my brain inside a cannon and fire it against a wall— Link (@3DLink) March 22, 2015
The Preds are one goal allowed away from introducing a new kind of fear to Preds fans— Smashvillian (@Smashvillian_) March 22, 2015
Roll the video highlights...