Well this preview took an unexpected turn... Christopher Meloni was going to make an appearance to investigate the heinous first 2.5 periods of Tuesday’s game against the Blues.
In terms of how they look on the ice? Worst game of the year, right here.— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) February 14, 2018
Get it out of the way now, I suppose.
But, absurdly, the Preds came back. After
Patrick Roy Carter Hutton minded the net flawlessly through the vast majority of the game, the Preds dropped three goals on the unsuspecting Blues in the waning minutes of the game, and Prince Fil won the game with the rarely seen OT penalty shot. It was a thing of beauty. It was the most exciting game I’ve seen live in quite awhile. It felt playoff like. The crowd was absolutely electric.
And now they play the Flames, who aren’t bad. They are holding on to a playoff spot in the crowded Pacific, if only by a solitary point. But they aren’t the Blues - the same Blues that broke Kevin Fiala’s femur. The Preds need to be certain to play with the same fire they showcased in the final minutes of Tuesday’s game or else they could be looking at a letdown. Bridgestone Arena is going to be rocking - hopefully the Preds can match their intensity.
The Calgary Flames
Yeah, I’m disappointed too. Jagr is gone. He’s playing for HC Kladno (the team he also owns). But the Flames have plenty of excitement elsewhere, particularly the face of the their franchise - Johnny Gaudreau (Freddy Hockey took over that sobriquet after his stunning Stanley Cup run last year). He’s second in the league in points with 67 and is extremely dangerous every time he touches the puck. Gaudreau’s offense is most significantly supported by Sean Monahan, who has an impressive 50 points to his name. A couple of 20-goal scorers in Matthew Tkachuk and Micheal Ferland round out this potent, but not especially scary, offensive group.
The defensive group is led by T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano, who have been solid, but unspectacular. Something similar can be said of Mike Smith, who must be thrilled to be out of Arizona. The weather is nicer than Calgary, for sure, but the team most certainly is not.
Calgary has scored 161 goals to 164 given up. Timely scoring has kept this team in playoff contention, even if its underlying stats don’t quite match many of the other teams in the hunt. That being said, any team with Johnny Gaudreau and a solid backstop in Mike Smith cannot be underestimated. Besides, they have much to play for.
No, Mike Fisher won’t be back tonight. It’s disappointing, but Poile did give us a bit of an update this week about this impending return.
#Preds GM David Poile says he thinks Mike Fisher will return to the lineup "probably closer to March 1."— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) February 13, 2018
Let the countdown begin. In the meantime, let PK Subban, Filip Forsberg, Pekka Rinne, Roman Josi and company titillate you, for they are extremely titillating (don’t believe me? Check out the Handsomeness/60 rankings posted earlier this week). They continue to lead this team, and their success (particularly Pekka’s) have led this team to the top of the Central (for the time being). Pekka is a game away from tying the Predators franchise record for games with a point (10-0-1 in his last 11). Though we may see Saros tonight, Pekka is keeping us in every game, no matter how poorly the team plays (and over the last four games, it has played pretty poorly).
Perhaps the best thing to come out of Tuesday’s game was the fact that secondary scoring was in large part responsible for the victory. Calle Jarnkrok being in the perfect place set up the first goal, and Watson’s hustle led to goals two and three. Fil did win it in OT, but he never would’ve had the chance without the help of these oft unheralded supporting players. If they can continue to add some offensive punch, watch out. This team is already pretty dangerous...
Reasons to Watch
Watching is really your only option, because if you have any voice left from Tuesday’s thriller, you’re lying (or comatose). Don’t you want to replicate that joy? There’s only one way to, folks, and it is to go out and support these players.
You matter to this team. I genuinely believe that. And they deserve your support, because the product they have put out these past few years has been downright awesome. After Jarnkrok’s goal Tuesday night, the crowd helped will the team to victory. And we can do that again tonight.
Preds-Flames WWE Feud Equivalent
Did I want to include Future Mayor Kane in this feud? Not necessarily. But given the team name involved, I didn’t really have a choice. Luckily with Kane I have decades of feuds to choose from. I decided to go with his Corporate Kane angle, as it seemed like he lost every single match while a member of the Authority (and I want the Flames to fall in similar fashion). Hopefully the Preds can be shouting the same thing as Ryback after their game tonight - Feed. Me. More.
Where to Watch
Your typical 7pm drop on FS-TN. Your typical 102.5 The Game for your radio call. Or live at Bridgestone. Your call.