Praying To A New Goc: Nashville Pays A Visit To Hockey Valhalla

Old habits die hard and it is difficult not to assume that any time the Preds visit Calgary, it’s going to be a game of inches. Iginla, who is usually a powerhouse, was a mathematic promise to break his long dry spell. There would be the fearsome presence of Ollie “Crazy Eyes” Jokinen, who looks like he spends his free time uprooting radio towers. Let’s not forget the barn at Calgary. Even on TV it looks like the Flames’ fans are throwing their own version of Bonaroo, the best block party ever and Ragnaroc all at the same time. With Tootoo a foot behind, and Arnott and Rinne scratched and sniffling, the Predsnation looked to the rest of the crew to continue the momentum that was started in Edmonton.

So what happened? Four minutes and change into the first period, Smithson drew first blood with an assist from Goc. This was followed eight minutes later with another netter from David Legwand with assists from Hornqvist and Erat. The period was then rounded out with a goal made by Phaneuf. Geshundeit! So far, so good. The guys who brought the grit in the past were bringing it and Erat was still being the reliable delivery man. Still, one question remained, would Iginla break his eight game scoreless streak?

We didn’t have long to wait. The next two goals would be delivered to the pipes at Nashville’s end courtesy the Iginla line. Insult to injury was added when Calgary’s McGrattan decided that Wade Belak was the other white meat. That particular dance resulted in his and his majors for fighting. Second period ended with Nashville’s fans breathing just a little easier and thanking Goc for the goal with assists from Ward and Franson, but not for long. There were still twenty minutes to be played and no one in the stands had even blown an air horn yet. It looked like things were just getting warmed up at Saddleback.

Third period was tense, the score was tied, the natives were restless and Jokinen looked like he wanted to be fed. The monkeyshines from the previous two periods were over. No hookin’ and a-roughing and a-fightin’ this period. It was all about getting the puck to that sweet spot between the pretty circles on the ice and hitting paydirt behind the big padded guys between the pipes. Four minutes into third, Franson, Ward and Goc let the Flames know they meant business. A mere twenty-six seconds before the final buzzer sounded, Scatchard drove the point home with the Preds fifth and final goal that night.

And so the march through Western Canada continues. Coming up is the final leg with Erat and company facing off against the Sedins and Super Roberto. Will we find out how much puck and Canuck can chuck or will the people of Vancouver be gasping at the jumbotron? Stay tuned.

Jas Faulkner



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