I don't care what your opinion of the shootout is, that was one entertaining hockey game in Nashville Thursday night that saw the Blues play one of their more gutsy games and easily best shootout effort of the season. It was redemption for a lackluster and sloppy defeat at home to the Boston Bruins just the night before.
If the Blues and Predators finish the season in fourth and fifth place as it stands now, that first round playoff matchup will be bloody, bruising and fought over every inch of the ice between here and Music City. I'm actually looking forward to and dreading it at the same time. That's what a tight 3-2 shutout win will do to your outlook after two poor games.
We give the Predators and their fans crap for being dumb, redneck, country bumpkins -- and make no mistake, we mean it -- but they have built a nice atmosphere down there at whatever the arena is called now. It used to be Gaylord. And then it was a French word and now I think it's a brand of rubber. Tires, I mean. Whatever. The only beef: the damn whistles when Jordin Tootoo is on the ice. That guy is a punk and should not be encouraged and when he's on the ice, it sounds like dozens of rape whistles going off at once. Like I said, great atmosphere.
I am not Barney Fife. Sheriff lets me carry more than one bullet.
- That game tonight was for determined men and not the faint of heart. There was no open ice on either end tonight. You could feel the intensity through the television. But best of all, it was a damn clean game. Very few penalties. Better yet, very few obviously missed penalties (an early goalie interference call on the Blues notwithstanding).
- Hey, Chris Stewart is getting so good at scoring (two in two games), he doesn't even need to touch the puck with his stick and it still goes in. As he was close to the net in a scrum, the puck bounced off his skates and in. It wasn't a kicking motion because Stewart continued looking for the puck while it was in the net. Best defense ever right there.
- Vladimir Sobotka needs to shoot the puck more. The backhand he scored against giant goaltender and Blues nemesis Pekka Rinne was absolutely wicked. It was top shelf and still rising with some mustard on it. Pretty effort right there.
- If the Predators cannot afford to keep Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, they should keep Weber. Heart and soul of the team, leads by example. Will earn a shitload of money in the not too distant future.
- Maybe Jaroslav Halak will use this shootout to go on a run. He looked confident and comfortable most of the night, but you could tell he was committed on the two attempts he stopped to win the game.
- The Red Wings' home winning streak is over. Now it's been relegated to home point streak by the poor people who follow the team. Pity. I thought Wings fans had higher standards. Guess not.
Now that's how you bounce back and start a six-game road trip that goes from Nashville to Western Canada to Northern California. Almost 9,000 miles. Hopefully the Blues have some more happy flights ahead of them.
So if this was a playoff preview, what do you think? Let us know down below.