Buffalo Sabres 1, Nashville Predators 2: Preds Pick Up Two Points Before the All-Star Break

I watched a talk show on Fox Sports TN, and a hockey game happened to break out in the background.

The Nashville Predators debuted the Winter Classic sweaters at home, and despite a boozy Kathie Lee Gifford rampaging throughout Bridgestone Arena, they woke up late in the third period with a game-winning Craig Smith power play goal.  Nashville gets their first win in a month at home on Saturday, and let’s go into how it all broke down.

What Happened?

  • A boozy Kathie Lee Gifford during pregame and it looks like Crispy is in love
  • Man, these Winter Classic sweaters are gorgeous
  • Nice start by Nashville - great puck movement
  • Austin Watson - on the first line for some reason - gets a wide open cross-ice pass from Ryan Johansen and completely whiffs on it.
  • To the penalty kill - please, please, please kill this
  • They did - great movement and structure,  I could get used to this
  • (in case you were wondering, yes, they are still talking to Kathie Lee, and yes, not about hockey)
  • Predators lead 9-0 in shots after the penalty kill, so that’s great/

Why have hockey commentary when you have THIS:

  • Buffalo finally applying some pressure, can Nashville hold on?
  • No.  Sam Reinhart gets the goal seconds before the crowd can thank Paul.
  • Well that will leave a gross taste in your mouth going into intermission - at some point “getting a lot of chances” isn’t enough
  • Back for the second period, and guess what guys!  Another guest commentator in the booth during play!  I feel like we should be paying extra for all this extra coverage!
  • Ah, he’s a musician in Music City and he likes the Predators - good, lets hear more from him
  • Unbeknownst to the Fox Sports Tennessee crew, there is hockey happening
  • Pekka Rinne is having a great night aside from the goal last period - he’s slowly righting the ship
  • Great chances and Ulmark has several unbelievable saves - he’s on fire
  • FINALLY - Roman Josi drives in like a bat out of hell, gets a couple chances and Ryan Johansen banks it home!  Preds 1 - Sabres 1
  • What an amazing save by Ulmark, again.  And a melee breaks out after, and somehow Calle Jarnkrok is the only person penalized.
  • Apparently the Grizzlies haven’t lost since the FS-TN crew did that cross-promotion thing about basketball.  The irony in this statement apparently lost on the crew.
  • Another strong penalty kill.  I’ll take that!
  • Can the Predators sustain offense finally?  A strong finish to this period should be the highest priority right now - a goal against just can’t happen - it would suck the life completely out of the team.
  • Jimmy Vesey BOOOOOOOOOO
  • The shot counter is all tied up after the fast start, and the transition game in the neutral zone looks much better
  • I don’ t know if it’s just me, but the last two weeks of broadcasts, Willy has said the words “On the forecheck” WAY more often than usual.  Glad to hear you’re a big fan, Willy!
  • Great chance by Matt Duchene, great save, then miss on a wide-open net.
  • This is great throwback hockey - Pekka Rinne standing on his head, and the rest of the team doing absolutely nothing
  • Join the PIN15 club, y’all (see tweet below)
  • Much stronger finish of the period than the first.  Feeling a little better going into intermission
  • After an intermission of more wine discussion, the Predators come out for the third looking to finish strong.
  • ...and Yannick Weber takes a penalty and they’re back to the PK.
  • Pekka Rinne gets four saves on the penalty kill, and then a massive one right after - and they’re looking to see if it’s a goal or not.
  • Great work by Kyle Turris pushed into PK duty
  • Tired: Getting the puck in the net with your stick.  Wired: Getting the goalie in the net.
  • Sabres outshooting Nashville 6-0 to start the period - not how you want to start/


  • Ryan Johansen gets a good rush into the zone, but nobody came with him
  • Nashville can’t sustain pressure, and we have a lot of continuous low-event hockey, and the Predators don’t have a single shot 8 minutes into the period.
  • “What a Saturday night in Smashville - special guests, and let’s get the two points”  - priorities, in order, for the night apparently.
  • Still a whole lot of nothing as nobody on the Preds can complete a pass or unblocked shot
  • Couple of shots from Matt Irwin a mile away from the net, but they were shots!  Small victories
  • What a fantastic sequence by Nick Bonino and Roman Josi
  • Follow that up by Viktor Arvidsson and Rocco Grimaldi and finally Matt Duchene draws a penalty, and folks, we have life in the building
  • Mister Twenty Goals Himself, Craig Smith on the power play!  Predators 2, Sabres 1 with 6:23 remaining
  • The atmosphere has COMPLETELY turned around, it’s special to finally see it.
  • A great chance by Forsberg to Duchene who airmails a pass back to Filip Forsberg, but no luck
  • The Nashville Predators, folks, have the lead and are turning up the pressure instead of turtling, force the icing call
  • I like what I’ve seen from Dante Fabbro tonight - he’s slowly making progress this season.
  • A somewhat weak slash by Rasmus Dahlin, but it was to stop Rocco Grimaldi’s great move to get a shot on net and Dahlin heads to the box with 2:30 left
  • Oh good, we’re back to 3 forwards, 2 defensemen on the power play
  • Buffalo gets a couple of good shots shorthanded, please not this again
  • The Predators have done it, a victory on Saturday night!
  • Predators 2, Sabres 1 and folks, it’s nice to see it for once.  /

Bryan’s Three Stars of the Game

  1. Pekka Rinne - Vintage Pekka Rinne, a performance like we’re used to seeing - the man bailing out a team asleep for half the game
  2. Linus Ullmark - I want to give this to Craig Smith, but Ullmark was insane all night with multiple unbelievable saves
  3. Craig Smith - he had a great night throughout and then finally got the game-winner on the power play

Tweets of the Night