“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven...
It’s All Hallow’s Eve: a time to celebrate the afterlife’s convergence with our living world. It’s a time when the spirits of the past roam the Earth, cursed to haunt this world in vengeance of their life’s regrets...
Or... it’s a time to wear fun costumes and eat lots of candy. You know... whatever floats your boat.
Since everyone’s breaking out the horror movies and ghost stories, the On The Forecheck crew started to ponder the most “haunting” moment in Nashville Predators history. This is a moment that deserves to remain fettered in the past, much like the Sanderson Sisters’ spellbook.
We’re limiting these to on-ice moments (sorry, Ryan Suter and Jim Balsillie, your pictures aren’t on our ofrenda, so you can’t cross over) and out of respect, no injuries or anything of the like.
These are simply game-related horrors... awful... AWFUL... game-related horrors.
So read on... if you dare.
5. Legwand Assists on Radim Vrbata’s Goal (2012)
This was like Captain Dallas deciding to hunt for the Xenomorph by himself in Alien. Dude... why are you making this easy for the bad guys?
This happened during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. The Coyotes already had a 1-0 series lead. Pekka Rinne had just made a big save on the rush, and after a deflection off the boards, the puck landed in David Legwand’s hand. Instead of batting it down behind the goal, Legwand held it for a good two seconds (which should have been a penalty in its own right) and then — for reasons still unbeknownst to anyone— decided to gently toss it straight to Radim Vrbata.
Vrbata, by the way, played for the Coyotes at the time.
Legwand’s mistake resulted in an easy goal, and helped seal the momentum for Phoenix’s Game 2 win. Sure, it didn’t directly cost the Preds a win, but had the Preds scored the next goal and tied things up at 2-2, who knows how that game may have shifted.
By the way, watch the clip and look at the reaction from every other Predator on the ice. Classic.
4. The Curse of the Backup Begins... (2015)
Michael Myers may be the most indestructible horror villains. The dude doesn’t go away. Even after getting shot six times and falling off a balcony in Halloween, he survived, and came back to reign more terror upon Haddonfield.
Scott Darling was the Michael Myers of the 2015 Western Conference Quarterfinals.
He first snuck in during Game One. The Predators were up 3-0 on the Blackhawks in the first period. Corey Crawford was pulled, and in came Darling. He was Chicago’s third-stringer for most of the season. Preds fans thought they were in the driver’s seat.
(Cue Michael Myers Theme Music)
Darling stopped all 42 shots he’d face throughout the rest of Game One, backstopping Chicago to a 4-3 comeback win in double-OT. After another rough game from Crawford in Game Two, Darling would start Game Three. From there, he would go on to steal the series. He stopped 35 of 37 shots in Game Three, then 50 of 52 in Chicago’s Triple Overtime win in Game Four (at the time, the longest game in Preds history.) The Blackhawks wound up winning the series in six games.
What stings about this is that Nashville outplayed Chicago in virtually every game of the series. Darling simply stole three wins. The Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup, and Preds fans were left wondering “what if?”
The curse of the backup begins.
3. Radulov’s Celebration (2008)
Haha... aw man.
Each game of the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Preds and Red Wings was its own entry into the Scary Movie franchise. We had a Dominik Hasek meltdown, a J.P. Dumont turnover that led to Johan Franzen’s Game 5 overtime winner, and maybe one of the worst goals ever conceded in Predators’ history.
But there’s one play that stands out; this one’s like the chase scene in I Know What You Did Last Summer... YOU WERE SAFE HELEN! ALL YOU NEEDED TO DO WAS TO NOT DO ANYTHING STUPID FOR LITERALLY TWO SECONDS.
Captain Jason Arnott had just scored to essentially clinch an improbable come-from-behind win against Detroit. Then came the celebration.
Sigh... the celebration.
Alexander Radulov skated in like a freight train and leaped into an unknowing Arnott with the grace of a cat trying to reach the kitchen table from the back of the couch. We know what the result was: Arnott wound up with a concussion and missed the last two games of the series. The Preds only scored once in those final two games. In a tight series, one can’t help but wonder if things would have been different had Nashville’s leading scorer been on the ice.
Luckily, Radulov never caused any more drama in Nashville after that.......
2. The Blackhawks’ Game 5 Rally (2010)
In every horror movie, there’s that one moment in which a character does something so dumb, it defies logic. Creepy basement door opens on its own? Let’s go down and investigate! Hear disembodied voices threatening you in an empty house? Stay put, and call out “Hello? Is anyone there?” Freddie Krueger can only kill you if you sleep? Turn on some relaxing music, down some Nyquil, and watch replays of the Predators’ 2018-2019 power play!
Martin Erat was that guy in this game.
The Preds didn’t just have the lead in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarters, they had the game WON. They were up 4-3 with a minute left AND were in the middle of a five-minute power play. With a minute of mistake-free hockey and the Preds would have been at home with a 3-2 lead and a chance to win their first ever playoff series in front of a wild Smashville home crowd. All they needed to do was play keep-away, hold the puck in the Blackhawks’ zone, and don’t try anything risky.
Erat, on the other hand, decided “this would be a good time for a no-look backhand pass to absolutely no one.”
His pass deflected off the net, past the stick of Arnott, and right to Jonathan Toews, who promptly started a last-second rush up ice. With just 13 seconds left in regulation, Patrick Kane would get the game-tying goal. The game went to overtime. The Predators couldn’t even get a shot on goal in their remaining power play time. Moments later, Marian Hossa, the guy who was in the box for that major penalty, scored the winning goal his first shift out of the box.
Sigh... Just. Possess. The. Puck.
1. “No Goal” (2017)
This is it. This is Samara crawling out of the TV in The Ring. It’s the blood pouring from the elevator in The Shining or Carrie’s rampage. It’s a moment so haunting, the mere mention of two words is enough to send chills down the neck of Preds fans everywhere...
Stanley Cup Finals Game 6: Matt Murray can’t control the loose puck, and it sits tantalizingly in the crease. Sissons pokes it in for an easy goal, and the Preds go up 1-0 in a critical game.
Except... that’s not what happened.
You can clearly hear referee Kevin Pollock blow the whistle right before Sissons taps the puck in. He immediately waved off the goal, keeping the Preds off the board. Despite the pleas from the Predators’ bench, the refs didn’t go to replay. The call was non-reviewable.
Or was it?
The Tennessean pointed out this portion of section 38.4 in the NHL Rulebook, detailing when officials can review a goal.
This would also include situations whereby the Referee stops play or is in the process of stopping the play because he has lost sight of the puck and it is subsequently determined by video review that the puck crosses (or has crossed) the goal line and enters the net as the culmination of a continuous play where the result was unaffected by the whistle (i.e., the timing of the whistle was irrelevant to the puck entering the net at the end of a continuous play).
That certainly seems like what happened, doesn’t it?
What makes this the most “horrifying” moment on our list is that there’s nothing the Preds could do. They were at the mercy of a perfect storm of ineptitude. This wasn’t a dumb character botching an escape en route to a tragic end; this was Final Destination — your fate is sealed.
And it haunts us all to this day.
Any moments we missed? Let us know in the comments, and tell us what Predators moment still haunts you to this day.