Ladies and Gems, this weeks winner! (Apologies for the late arrival, worth the wait, I think.) Pekka Rinne from Kempele, Finland!
At last, we arrive at the coda of the 2011-12 NHL season, the NHL Awards. The National Hockey League will spend the next few hours cringing at terrible jokes, raising an eyebrow just what Steven Stamkos is wearing, and hoping a Real Housewife doesn’t butcher another poor hockey player’s name. (Seriously, “Mar-TEN Saint Louissss” still rings in my ears to this day.)
The NHL Awards will air on NBC Sports Network starting at 7pm ET/6pm CT, and I’ll be here, live blogging the entire thing.
So grab your drink and pull up a seat. It’s going to be another long night.
All times in the liveblog are listed in CT. Newest posts will be on top.
Hope everyone had a fantabulous Cinco de Mayo and got a little buddy-buddy with their spicy side. I know I spent mine with some nachos and Predators news! So let’s see what’s been happening in middle Tennessee.
Despite my being MIA for Friday’s action (Shout out to Melissa Andus for covering!), I most certainly made some observations about the turn out. Like me, you all probably noticed Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were absent from Friday’s game against Phoenix. And presumably you also noticed that our fav team was shut out. Guess that means it’s time to shuffle the lines again Trotz!
And a line shake up is quite likely come Monday, as Radulov and Kostitsyn are both expected to return for Game 5. As well, Colin Wilson may have another chance at playing the top line on Monday after playing well the last two games.
Both goalies were on top of their game tonight. Shane Doan scored in the first on a crazy fluke of a goal that appeared to bounce off defenseman Roman Josi (I linked to him because he is outrageously good-looking, how did I not know about him sooner), Rinne, and finally the goalpost. It didn’t faze Rinne, but that didn’t matter, because Mike Smith was on his game and did not let a single one through, no matter how many times every single Predator on the ice tried to dogpile him in the crease. The Preds had a few close calls, including one goal that was immediately waved off, but reviewed anyway. No dice.
As mentioned previously, Alexander “the Enigma” Radulov and Andrei “Big Tits” Kostitsyn were scratched again. This got some cheers from the Bridgestone crowd, which is bizarre because if there’s one thing the Preds could’ve used was offense, especially from the player that they, uh, shipped in from Russia purely for that reason.
There was a controversial hit in the first as Rusty Klesla shoved Keith Halischuk headfirst into the dasher in front of the Phoenix bench. Halischuk wasn’t hurt and Klesla received 2 mins for boarding. However, a similar hit on Niklas Kronwall in regular season netted Chris Stewart a 3 game suspension. So: suspensions are lighter in the postseason, but Klesla isn’t a superstar and Phoenix isn’t one of the marquee teams. I’ll concur with Harrison Mooney and guess at a 1 game suspension, which would still be a blow to the Yotes, as he’s one of their leaders in icetime on the blueline.
If Klesla isn’t Shana-banned and Trotz continues to be xenophobic (is there really a need to trot out the “enigmatic Russian” bullshit again?), the Coyotes have this in the bag. Mike Smith has gone on a hot streak and the breaks are going their way. They have a chance to close out the series in Glendale on Monday, and wouldn’t a series win on home ice be the perfect narrative conclusion?
A.K. Adams normally talks Washington Capitals over at VC Chillin’, but she can muster some begrudging affection for a Cinderella story, especially when they have the world’s nicest man, Shane Doan.
With Claire out for the night (who goes out on a Friday night during the playoffs???), it’s Melissa from Black and Blueshirts covering the Preds tonight
Tonight was the type of game I expected this series to be – tough, defensive, low scoring hockey. With two goalies who were battling to be the third nominee for the Vezina this year, a full series of 1-0 or 2-0 games wouldn’t have surprised me. And Game 3, it was 2-0 Preds. Tonight, 1-0 Yotes.
I would love to tell you how it was an exciting game of back and forth hockey with goalies making tremendous saves and guys on both teams being robbed. Actually, technically I could tell you that. But if you watched the game, you would think I didn’t. Now don’t mistake that as a sloppy game, as this was far from that. Both teams just kept missing their chances. Sure, the goalies were good (and honestly Mike Smith had no intention of letting a puck past him this evening) but neither really had to be great.
The worst part for the Preds – the only goal of the night was off a crazy bounce off the back boards. Puck thrown in, jumped out front, Shane Doan knocked down Hal Gill, got the puck to Mikkel Boedker who returned it to Doan so he could bounce it off everything possible around Rinne until it finally hit the back of the net. Game, set, match. I’ve never played hockey before, but from a fans point of view, it absolutely sucks to lose on a goal like that. I can only imagine how the players feel.
But because they were shut out, the story of this game from a Preds point of view will be simple – should Radulov and A. Kostitsyn have played? My honest opinion….not sure they would’ve made a difference. As I said, Smith was on his game tonight and no one knows what type of players would’ve showed up – two guys looking for vengeance like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk did for their teams or the two who played in Game 2? (Side note: I absolutely am against comparing the Russians in this league as the media has been doing. In this case, it was the only example I could come up with.)
So now the Preds backs are against the wall. Every game is a must-win from here on out. What happens in Game 5 on Monday night? Do Radulov and A. Kostitsyn play? Do the Preds keep the series alive and force the Yotes to come back to Nashville? Or do the Coyotes get their first trip to the West Conference Finals? Only one way to find out. Watch the game live at 10:00 pm EST on NBCSN or TSN. My prediction? I’m not ready to count the Preds out just yet….
Hey guys! You might recognize me as responsible for the Capitals coverage! And if you know anything about the Caps, you know they went to 3 OT last night. And that maybe fans of them might not be responsible for the choices they made during that game. ANYWAY, my point is that now I will provide you with Coyotes coverage, regardless of anything else that may have happened across the league. I love the Coyotes! I have a wild soft spot for the obscure, “shouldn’t win” southern market teams, and I hate all the O-6 teams except the Leafs (but I can’t admit that or else Kat will kill me)!
Point is: things were not admirable for the Yotes, unfortch. I was rooting for them 100% except for the parts of me that couldn’t be spared for the Caps game, but they completely failed to convert. They let David “1st ever draft pick” Legwand and Mike “Mr. Underwood” Fisher get up in the first period, and never got it back. What a shame. (Anyone think Sergei “Little Tits” Kostitsyn was annoyed his brother got suspended? That was his first playoff point this season.)
Well, it’s a shame in the sense that they lost, which sucks for the Coyotes faithful. On the other hand, Mike Smith let in only 2 goals in 3 periods, on the road, in front of a desperate home crowd that was down 0-2. Hell, that he only let in 2 goals is pretty astounding (.923sv% is still pretty goddamn good). I’d lay the blame on his team for being unable to retaliate, not than his shoulders. Nashville pretty much shut down the Coyotes after the first, which is admirable, seeing as how Pekka Rinne still faced 32 shots and Mike Smith only faced 26, despite Nashville having the world class D-pairing of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, who both had upwards of 27 minutes TOI.
Phoenix had 4 PP opportunities and Nashville had 5, but neither team managed to convert despite expending their best players on every opportunity. With both goals being scored so quickly by the Predators, this game felt more like a statement than anything: even if we suspend two players you may have considered key, we’re still a threat. Don’t get complacent. It’s a lesson that’s well to be learned around the league: there’s nothing assured in the playoffs. You can back in accidentally, or you can decimate your competition, but underneath it all, everyone’s the same. #Becauseit’sthecup!
The Coyotes lead 2-1 against the Predators. Game 4 is on Friday at 7:30 on NBCSports. Be there or be a northern market traditionalist skeptic!
A.K. Adams is the Washington Capitals reporter, which means she adores seeing rando southern teams succeed, right up until they challenge her Caps.
It is decided. The Predators need to score the first goal if they want to win. It happened with the Detroit series and it seems to be happening with Phoenix. Or maybe it was the absence of Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn. Whatever the case is, something lit a fire under the Preds tonight to go after a 2-0 win, making the series 2-1.
The first period saw Nashville dominating with pucks being shot at Mike Smith like nobody’s business. The magic all started eight minutes in when David Legwand sent home a beauty off of a pass from Bourque on a wide open net. Smith had gone to play the puck like he so often does, forcing himself to make a diving attempt to save the shot. No such luck boy! Just sixty-six seconds later, Mike Fisher attempted to pass the puck back to Sergei Kostitsyn, but hit Smith’s stick instead and redirected into the net for the second and last goal of the night.
What would have made this victory just a little sweeter: not having a “no goal” call. The puck had gone under an outstretched Smith and into the net, but the refs lost sight of the puck, and so, no goal.
(Phoenix leads best-of-seven series, 2-0)
9PM Start time CNBC, TSN, RDSI
Game 3 will be big game for the Nashville Predators as they are looking to win a game in the series and the Phoenix Coyotes are looking for the same results they played in Game 2. They will be trying to take a stranglehold series lead 3 games to none. Coyotes played their hearts in Game 2 and whenever they had the lead, they responded back when the Predators scored. Let’s take a look at the key players in the series shall we:
Pekka Rinne will be a key player Game 3 as he will try to motivate his Predators in their home building and try stop the Phoenix Coyotes from taking a lead into the series. He was a big reason why the Predators have gotten far into the playoffs. The Coyotes will look from motivation from their goalie Mike Smith who kept them in both Game 1 and 2. Other key players to watch will be Antoine Vermette and Ray Whitney as they each have four points in their last three games for Phoenix and will continue to be big factors into Game 3.
If you want a late night battle between these two teams, then look forward to Game 3 as they drop puck at 9 p.m. in Nashville on the CNBC Sports Network.
Phoenix Coyotes played a different game in Game 2 as they outshot and outplayed the Nashville Predators. The Coyotes won 5-3 in game 2 and take a commanding two to nothing series lead over the Predators. Coyotes got goals from Antoine Vermette, Martin Hanzal, Radim Vrbata, Taylor Pyatt, and their captain Shane Doan. Here are some of the highlights from Game 2: » Continue reading “Coyote Ugly: Coyotes Dominate Game 2, Win 5-3″
Phoenix leads series 1-0
8 p.m. NBC Sports Network, TSN
First game of the 2nd round is already done in the books and the Phoenix Coyotes won the game 4-3, despite being outshot and outplayed by the Nashville Predators. Ray Whitney led the Coyotes to the OT win; captain Shane Doan didn’t lead like Whitney, nor did Keith Yandle. Phoenix will look to continue to dominate the series, while the Predators attempt to even the score. The Coyotes have a few things to work on before their next match-up.
Five Improvements To Win Game 2
1. Winning in regulation: domination during the game is key to maintaining momentum.
2. Score reassurance goals and keep the lead. A one goal lead is never safe, the other series are proof.
3. Stop turning the puck over and work on not allowing too many goal-scoring chances on Smith. Spending more time in your zone is counterintuitive to gaining game momentum.
4. Mike Smith has to be on top of his game. He has been a key factor in the first round against the Blackhawks, where he showed his leadership abilities.
5. Shane Doan and other key Coyotes players like, Yandle, Vermette and Hanzal,need to pick up the scoring in order to win Game 5. Without secondary scoring in the playoffs, the Coyotes will only be keeping pace with the other team.
1. Martin Erat needs to keep his scoring momentum and pace for the Predators to win.
2. David Legwand and Mike Fisher need to making bigger statements in order for the Predators to achieve success.
1. Shane Doan, Keith Yandle and Antoine Vermette will have to start scoring more goals and assist when they need reassurance goals.
2. Mikkel Boedker must keep pace scoring for the Coyotes to become more of a threat, and advancement to the next round easier.
Dave Tippett is is looking to start Mike Smith for the Coyotes. Pekka Rinne will start for the Predators.
The Coyotes and Predators drop puck for Game 2 at 8 p.m. in Phoenix on the NBC Sports Network.