The Nashville Predators fought their way through a regulation tie, a 3-on-3 tie (!!) and went on to a 2-1 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens. In a rather crazy finish, Craig Smith got the game winning shootout goal only minutes after missing another wide open net after his own stick blocked his shot. Pekka Rinne was big in this one, putting together another nice performance in net.
The Predators started fine, getting a rebound goal by Viktor Arvidsson to get things going. From there the Canadiens would slowly climb back into the game, eventually getting a game-tying goal from Brendan Gallagher. What followed was a series of half-chances by both teams, with neither team getting much of an upper hand. Both goaltenders played well in regulation, but really didn't have to do much.
The 3-on-3 appeared to be leading to the same result we have gotten used to, but the Predators somehow survived. And then after "the Craig Smith block" at the end of the 5 minute extra frame, the shootout is decided by Craig Smith himself. Hooray!
Survive regulation? Check. Survive 3-on-3? Check. Survive a soul crushing bizarro play that will never happen again in a million years? Check.
On to Toronto.
- "Canadiens going with safe goaltending tonight, putting a Condon in net" -Pete Weber
- Arvidsson pounces on a rebound! Predators take advantage of a delayed penalty call on the Canadiens and take an early 1-0 lead. How about these young guys stepping up? Now the 1st line needs to get back to dominating like they were a couple weeks ago.
- Preds were playing well early, but we saw some familiar demons appear late in the 1st. Awful turnovers in the defensive zone and some lazy defending overall leads to the game-tying goal by Brendan Gallagher. Defense absolutely left Rinne out to dry on that one. He made 2-3 stops but the defense still couldn't rein in the puck.
- Poor play continues into the 2nd. The Habs are playing pretty loose and getting great pressure in the Preds zone. Meanwhile the Preds can't really get anything going and are having to rely on their 4th line for scoring chances. Preds led shots 8-1 early, now the Habs lead 16-14.
- This is not the best game that Shea Weber's ever played.
- So I guess we are back to "defense lets down Rinne, but Rinne bails them out" era, huh? Circa 2011-12? Not sure that's gonna work out anymore.
- This is the most snooze-worthy 1-1 hockey game I've seen in a while. Maybe Lavy and Therrien will energize the crowd by busting out a game of Backgammon.
- The Habs are desperately trying to give the Preds scoring chances and the Preds are desperately trying to pass their way out of them. This game is so aggravating to watch.
- Pekka Rinne earned the Preds the first point tonight. Another solid game.
- The only thing more aggravating than this game's first 60 minutes is this OT. The strategy remains the same. Kill the penalty, treat possession like a power-play. Who would be shocked if, with the same strategy in place, we see the same result? Not me.
- Craig Smith just missed the open net after his shot bounced off of his own stick. His own stick made the save. I don't have words for this stuff any more.
- Shootout: Andrighetto-stopped, Johansen-crossbar, Galchenyuk-misses the net, Forsberg-stopped, Pacioretty-misses the shot, Smith-SCOREEEEEESSSSSSSSS AND HE IS REDEEMED!
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne: 28 saves to help lead the Preds to 2 huge points. Keep stringing these performances together, big guy.
- Craig Smith: Again, I have no words for what happened in OT. But heck of a job to go out there and win the game after all that. Nice game.
- Viktor Arvidsson: The guy energizes every line he is on. 1 goal to go with 3 shots.
Tweets of the Night
what a graphic pic.twitter.com/9hYmZCcu2I— Stephanie (@myregularface) February 23, 2016
I rate that celly a 4/10 on the Arvidsson Celly Scale. He's capable of so much more.— Admirals Roundtable (@adsroundtable) February 23, 2016
To give you an idea of what kind of game this is, Lessio got one of the biggest cheers of the night for sitting on a puck #Habs #Preds— Rob Elbaz (@RobElbaz) February 23, 2016
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