by Jas Faulkner, Nashville Correspondent
There were few actual fights during the meetup between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone on Thursday night. Still, by the time the final buzzer sounded, the feeling was one of watching two combatants swing at each other and mostly miss for sixty minutes.
By the numbers, it was a mix of heaven and hell for the Predators organisation. To get the hellish side out of the way: This game put them on the wrong side of their second shutout this week. Chicago seems ot have subscribed to the Gretzky principle and was not only everywhere the puck was going to be, they were everywhere the Predators even thought of being.
Efforts by David Legwand and Colin Wilson to get the puck to the back of the net were thwarted by Blackhawks and black-and-white shirted referees. In the face of an almost relentless Blackhawks defensive line, Joel Ward stood his ground and screened Chicago goalie Corey Crawford within an inch of what is permissible in the NHL rule book. Marcel Goc was boarded hard during one of the many scrums for the puck. The result of all of this was a pair of goals from Kopecky and Hossa, Goc has been put ouf of commission for the rest of the season and what felt like a goal was whistled down as a bad play for Nashville’s Colin Wilson in the third period.
The plus side of the coin proved to be cold comfort for fans but a compelling argument for the continued health of hockey in Music City. Thursday’s match was Nashville’s 11th sellout match this season. Games with Chicago have proven to be hot tickets, with the bowl often filling up with almost equal parts local sports fans and visitors from Chicago, who seem to find the relatively short commute and southern hospitality an appealing way to spend a game night.
During his postgame press conference, Nashville’s Head Coach, Barry Trotz was pragmatic, stating that the focus of the team would be on what was ahead rather than rehashing what didn’t work that night. “We have to think about Dallas on Saturday and Columbus again on Sunday. All we can do is look ahead.”
Following Trotz’s example and looking ahead… The rest of the week marks the return of Matt Halischuk and the regular season NHL debut of legacy player Blake Geoffrion. Geoffrion has been generating a lot of excitement since his initial signing with the Predators. This will be the first time a Nashvillian has appeared on the active roster in the regular season.
With that, Nashville has a busy season in store. The Predators will be in Dallas on Saturday night . For those of you staying at home, FS-TN will broadcast the game in HD and there will be play by play analysis on PredsRadio from Tom Callahan. The puck drops at 1pm Central. On Sunday, the Predators face off against the Columbus Bluejackets. The puck drops at two for that one and the broadcast will be handled exclusively by PredsRadio.