While dealing with the sadness of the passing of Prince, I turn my attention to the wide world of sports, and hockey in particular, as tonight is the pivotal Game 4 in the playoff series between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks.
The Predators surprised the hockey world when they were the road team to leave town with a two game advantage to begin the series, but then arrived home and played one of their most disappointing games of the season at Bridgestone Arena, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Ducks.
Very little in the “Good” column on Tuesday, but the “Bad” and “Ugly” columns were littered with virtually every player wearing a Predators uniform. The usually spectacular Filip Forsberg, inexplicably voted by the media as the #3 star, was a -3 and part of a failed power play that had five opportunities, and squandered much of those ten minutes. Rookie defenseman Tony Bitetto was the victim of the first Ducks goal, putting the puck directly on the stick of Anaheim’s Chris Stewart, who transitioned it to Shaun Horcoff, who passed it to trade deadline acquisition Jamie McGinn, and within scant seconds of the Preds seemingly ready to clear the puck out of harm’s way, found it behind Pekka Rinne, and the Ducks never looked back.
Anaheim made the goalie switch from John Gibson to Freddie Andersen, and Coach Bruce Boudreau’s hunch paid off in the form of a shutout. Though Andersen was barely tested (he faced 27 shots but very few seemed to be in the high percentage category.) it was a Duck defense that played a simpler game, and appeared to appreciate Andersen’s calm style of play, in contrast to Gibson, who occasionally makes the routine look spectacular with his animated motions, etc.
On the other side of the ice, Rinne was fine. Hard to fault him on the three goals he surrendered, and that’s why the goaltending matchup remains the same tonight.
Up front, however, another story is about to unfold. As the Ducks had lost a player (Josh Manson, defenseman) in game one, it was the Preds who lost the services of forward Craig Smith early in the first period of game three. Smith took just two shifts and tweaked something below the belt and is now listed as day-to-day. Expect to see Colton Sissons draw into the lineup on the fourth line, and Colin Wilson, who’s been playing on line three with Arvidsson and Fisher, moving up to play within the top 6. Pray Wilson’s output is better than it was on Tuesday, after all the press was aflutter, fawning all over his “resurgence” in Anaheim.
Time to head off to the arena, and time to say a prayer that the Preds proctologist has unearthed some heads. So much bickering in the Facebook world as to whether it’s ok to be down on your team, and honestly, I think the fans who pay the kind of money they do to show their support have EVERY right to express displeasure when the team looks inept. I enjoy objectivity far more than I enjoy that kind of myopic stupidity. I find a lot of myopic stupidity among sports fans, so I boo privately (although some fans around my in Sec. 207 have admitted they’ve laughed long and hard when I scream THANK GOD, while most scream THANKS, PAUL!@
THANKS for reading. See ya when it’s over 🙂 Go Preds!