We had a feeling this was gonna be a great game, and that was the case until the Pens started running away with it. The Predators looked like a team at the end of a 7-game road trip that just wanted to go home.
The Pens did what they needed to do in this game, but overall it was a bit sloppy. Pens were able to get four past the chair the Predators had in goal and broke their 3-game skid, and that’s all that matters.
The big takeaway from this game is gonna be Tanner Glass' TKO of Eric Nystrom. Remember, it was Nystrom who hurt Letang a few years ago when he played for Dallas. The whole concussion/fight narrative will be turned on again. Luckily, the Pens have two games in the next three nights.
What a difference Paul Martin makes, by the way. He brings immense calm to the blue line.
– Slow start to the game. Both teams looked disinterested. Pens were giving up a lot of pucks. Ended up having 10 giveaways on the night.
–Nashville got the first break of the game. A puck hit off Malkin's stick and then a Pred. Pens defense was asleep on the shift. 1-0.
– The Penguins offense looked stale, but the Preds helped jump-start that by taking a too-many-men penalty. The Pens’ powerplay was an utter disaster, though. Right after it expired, Dupuis sniped one off the face-off while being paired with the third line.
– Kris Letang was very good in the first. Very patient. He hit Bennett in front of the net with a great pass, but Bennett couldn’t get a handle on it. Hard to gauge whether Bennett is close to breaking through or if he’s always gonna be like a half-step off.
– Hard work and a great defensive play by Paul Martin put the Pens on their second power play of the period. Martin stood a Pred up in the neutral zone and flicked a pass up to Beau Bennett. Bennett took it to the net, and Sutter got interfered with.
On that power play, we were getting ready to bitch and moan about why the two best players in the game were so far from the net on the power play:
Great low shot by Malkin and good stick by Neal. 2-1.
Preds looked like they gave up after that.
– The Pens killed off an early penalty. MAF wasn’t even tested.
– The Preds goalie, whatever his name was, kept Nashville in it with a few highlight saves, including a nasty diddy on James Neal. But he wasn’t gonna hold on for much longer.
– Malkin abused Seth Jones for the Pens’ third goal. He found Letang, who came out of nowhere. The referee didn’t signal a goal on the ice, and we thought the Pens were gonna be screwed over by an intent-to-blow.
– The Pens got another goal toward the end of the second. Usually, the Pens would just dump it in. Instead, Jokinen will probably be in Bylsma’s doghouse because he carried it into the zone. He dropped it to Sutter, who went bar down. 4-1.
– The play from this game everyone is going to talk about. This fight:
– Honestly, the first reaction was, why are they fighting? Then it made more sense after thinking about this:
– No clue if this fight was Nystrom trying to spark stuff (not a fighter) or Glass policing. Either way, wow. Nystrom was basically destroyed. Fighting blah blah blah.
THIRD PERIOD SUCKED
– Seth Jones was underwhelming this game, but still he is going to be an awesome player. Can't believe he fell to the Preds.
– The Predators are one elite scorer away from being the real deal. They had a brutal road schedule, but they have a good team.
– Paul Gaustad didn't score.
– Again, the Preds just wanted to go home. There were long stretches during the third that looked that claymation with frequent whistles.
– Maybe Olli Maatta's worst game yet.
– Letang and Sutter turned in their best games of the season.
– Gotta wonder where the Pens would be without Jokinen.