Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blues at Preds: Game Day Preview

The Nashville Predators take the ice for the final time of the regular season tonight, facing off against the rival St Louis Blues.  A quick perusal of Twitter this morning finds that it's abuzz with excited\frustrated\disappointed fans either celebrating or lamenting the fact that tickets to this one are virtually impossible to come by, at least at a reasonable price.  As a season ticket holder, from my perspective, this is fantastic news.  While the game's outcome may have no bearing on whether or not we're in the playoffs, it is nonetheless important for a few reasons.  First, the Predators were reportedly not happy with their showing in Phoenix, last time out.  There's quite a bit to be said for momentum, going into the playoffs, and Nashville will want to make sure that all cylinders are firing heading in.  Secondly,  there is still the all-important question of seeding to be answered.  The Blue Jackets nearly did us a sizable favor last night, but ultimately lost to the Red Wings in the shootout.  Likewise, the Avalanche continued their freefall to the postseason, losing to the Blackhawks.  This was the worst possible scenario for the Predators.  Detroit positioned themselves to only require 1 point from their final game of the season to clinch a spot no lower than sixth, and assure that we can't finish higher than sixth.  Meanwhile, Chicago regained the top spot in the Western Conference, bumping San Jose back down to second, where we have a good chance of meeting them in the playoffs, should things not go our way.  I don't mean to sound pessimistic or otherwise negative when I repeatedly state my misgivings about a first-round meeting with the Sharks--but I'd like to see the Preds in the best possible position to advance, and I don't think San Jose represents that position.  No matter what the Kings or Red Wings do, the Predators have to focus on the task at hand:  beat the Blues, tonight.

Keith Tkachuk has confirmed his retirement, and also that last night's home game was his last.  He will not be in the lineup tonight.  Ty Conklin has also been confirmed as the starter.  I was a big Chis Mason fan when he was here in town, but have come to dread seeing him in net when we face the Blues.  For some reason, he seems to become superhuman, even though we have gotten the best of him recently.  You never see him let in easy wraparounds or "lay eggs"(as my family calls the phenomenon of pucks trickling underneath the goaltender's pads undetected, and on into the net) the way he was prone to doing while here.  So that at least is some good news, going in.

For the Predators, I've not seen a starter confirmed yet, but I do suspect that it will be Peks, who likely wants to atone for a game that he admits wasn't his best, last time out.  Hornqvist and Grebs remain sidelined, and if practice lines are any indicator, Spaling will be re-inserted into the lineup in place of Horns.  The complete lines were as follows, with a hat tip to John Glennon:

  • Wilson-Arnott-Erat
  • Sullivan-Goc-Ward
  • Spaling-Legwand-Smithson
  • Dumont-Boyd-Tootoo (Cal O’Reilly rota­ted at cen­ter here)

*Feed off the crowd

It was against these same St Louis Blues that the first chilling, unprovoked 3 minute TV timeout ovation occurred, helping to carry the Preds to the playoffs back in 07-08.  The Preds can gain a huge advantage from that same sort of energy in the crowd.  Consider this a playoff warmup for both the team and fans!

* Take the shot

The Preds have fallen back into old habits when it comes to trying to be too "cute."  Those tendencies cost the Predators any chance of getting back into the game, last time out.  In addition, Ty Conklin's reputation as a rebound-machine is well-known, so a high amount of shots is key here.

Finally, congratulations to Brentwood's Blake Geoffrion for winning the Hobey Baker.  Colin Wilson finished second to teammate Matt Gilroy last season. Geoffrion becomes the third person to have played in the Preds organization to win the award, preceded by Tony "The Circus" Hrkac and Paul Kariya. Interestingly enough, Tennessee has now produced a Hobey Baker Trophy winner, but has NEVER produced a Heisman winner(thanks to cellblock303 for that greatinfo)  Geoffrion looks to complete his NCAA career tonight with a national championship against the Boston College Eagles.

No comments:

Post a Comment