Wow. That seems to be the general reaction after that game. The Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at the Bridge. Cal O'Reilly scored the game-winner in the shootout and Pekka Rinne was marvelous stopping all three Blackhawk attempts. Here's some key points from the game:
This game was the most entertaining game and the best game so far this season by a landslide. Sold out crowd. Physicality. Lead Changes. Goals. Saves. Controversy. This game had it all and it was truly a treat to watch. The crowd was into the game from the very beginning. One problem, however, is that there were a hell of a lot of Hawks fans in the building. But, in some ways, that made the game that much better. People in the crowd yelling at each other(me)and two teams that don't like each other are what this game is all about. In section 302, some fans were even thrown out of the game. It was a great night and a great atmosphere.
This was a very physical contest between these two teams. There were some bone-crushing checks laid out by both teams. And, IT FINALLY HAPPENED! Late in the second period, Patric Hornqvist took a shot from Bryan Bickell. By my account, it was a legal hit. Very very hard. But legal. However, Shea Weber took exception to it and came in wailing on Bickell. I loved it. Finally we stood up for each other and let somebody know that they're not going to push us around. Now, the question is why did Weber get a 4 minute roughing call while Bickell only got two, and what was the difference in that play and Boynton's tussle with Bouillon?
The Preds were behind for a significant period of the game but fought back and found a way to get it done tonight. They fell behind 1-0 and 3-2 and came back both times.
PLAY OF DEFENSEMEN
Nashville had 3 goals in regulation tonight and all of them came from the defense. Shane O'Brien scored the first goal on a marvelous pass from Marcel Goc. Shea Weber got the second goal on the power-play when he ripped a shot right through Mary Turco. Cody Franson got the third goal to tie the game at 3 in the 3rd period. Ryan Suter made his return to the line-up tonight and played well. You can really tell how much of a difference he makes on the power-play. They moved a lot better and got a lot of good chances on the power-play tonight with Suter in the line-up.
Martin Erat also made his return to the line-up and played pretty well. He had an assist on Weber's goal.
Patric Hornqvist got a goal disallowed tonight because of a "distinct kicking motion." After looking at the replay on the jumbo-tron, the refs made the right call to disallow the goal. Hornqvist also played a vital role on the game-tying goal in the 3rd period when he screened Turco from seeing Franson's shot.
Pekka Rinne didn't have his best game but came up big in key situations. He was absolutely brilliant in the shootout.
Toews, Kane, Hossa, and Keith all went without a point tonight. Usually, that will result in a win for whoever is playing Chicago.
The Preds play again on Tuesday night at 6:00 in Toronto.