It wasn't pretty but the result is all that counts. The Nashville Predators defeated the Atlanta Thrashers by a score of 2-1 on Monday night to wrap up the home portion of the pre-season. The Preds still have two more games left in the pre-season and then the regular season begins for the Predators on October 9th against the Ducks. Here's a few things to take away from tonight's game:
Shea played great tonight. He was positionally sound and he had a good offensive night. He had a great slap-pass to Sergei Kostitsyn for the first goal, and then he ripped one on the power-play for a goal. The most impressive thing that I took away from the game, however, is when he stood up for his teammate. Dustin Byfuglien had a violent hit on Jerred Smithson towards the end of the game that apparently injured Smithson. Shea took exception to that and went straight after "Buff". It's that kind of thing that reaffirms the validity of his captaincy. It's that kind of thing that other players on the team look at and say "Hey, that's our guy. That's our leader. We're going to play like him every night and we're going to stick up for each other." And it's that kind of leadership that builds great teams.
The power-play looked a little better tonight. They consistenly got more pressure in the offensive zone and ended up scoring on the blast by Weber. However, they're still doing too much dumping and chasing into the zone which is causing them to lose possession of the puck way too often. We need somebody (Suter) who can just take it in the zone. Overall, there was improvement though.
Kostitsyn looked a little better tonight. He was wide open in the slot on his goal(and I mean wide open). The guys on the post-game show brought up a good point though. If Kostitsyn doesn't prove to be a top 6 forward, what do you do with the guy? His style of play simply does not fit the style of a 3rd or 4th line guy. So these last two pre-season games could be an ultimatum for Kostitsyn as to whether or not the Preds are going to keep him. It could also be the same for Cal O'Reilly.
Opening Night is on October 9th against the Anaheim Ducks. In the post previous to this one, I told you about my idea for as many people who possibly can to show up early for the Predators warm-ups just to show them that we're behind them 100% this year. I also said bring rally towels if you have them. Well, you can still bring them if you really want to but I didn't realize that they'd be giving away t-shirts that night to all fans. So, bring your rally towels if you want to. But you could really just use the t-shirts to save some hassel.