Saturday, September 24, 2011

Preds get by Winnipeg; Debut home golds

Preds' fans got their first taste of hockey for the 2011-12 season as the Winnipeg Jets came into Bridgestone Arena to take on the Preds. Nashville improved to 4-1 on the pre-season with the 4-3 victory over the Jets. The new home gold uniforms also made their game debut in Smashville.

Winnipeg got on the board first at 5:48 of the first period when Spencer Machacek beat Chet Pickard in a scramble in front of the net. Paul Postma added another goal for Winnipeg at 10:27 of the period to give them a 2-0 lead. A weak shot from the point trickled past Pickard, and into the back of the net.

The Preds got on the board early in the second period when Jordin Tootoo put one past Chris Mason. It was a bit of an odd play. The puck hit the referee on a previous shot and nobody seemed to know where the puck was. Tootoo came from behind the net and cut the lead to 2-1.

However, the Jets struck on the power-play shortly after when Derek Meech fired a shot that deflected off of Predators defenseman Jack Hillen and into the net.

Nashville would respond with a fury. They scored three straight power-play goals in the second period. Goals by Sergei Kostitsyn, Martin Erat and Patric Hornqvist gave the Preds the lead. The Preds were moving the puck very well on the power-play. At the end of the 2nd period, the Preds led the game 4-3.

Pekka Rinne left the game during the period with what appeared to be a cut on his head. He later returned to the bench and seemed to be ok. According to Rinne, he received 12 stitches.

Nashville held on during the 3rd period and escaped with the victory. Zack Stortini, a player who was added to the Predators organization this offseason from Edmonton, played a strong game. He squared off with Chris Thorburn in the first period, and provided the opportunity for the Preds to take the lead in the second period.

Stortini laid a feroceous hit in the period, and was attacked by Winnipeg's Troy Bodie after the play. Bodie was assessed a double minor for roughing, and the Preds tallied with two power-play goals. Stortini's physical play played a pivotal role in the outcome of the game.

"That's his game. He loves to crash and bang, and he's great on the forecheck,' said Predators forward Jerred Smithson. 'He sparked our team when we needed and he's part of the reason why we got things turned around tonight."

The new home uniforms for the Nashville Predators made it's debut tonight, and seemed to be popular with fans and players alike.

"I think they look good. I'm a big fan. I think the white ones look really sharp. I'm still adjusting to the yellow but they look good, though. I can only imagine what it will look like when we get the fans out there with all their towels and just yellowed out. I like how they turned out and I think it looks sharp," Smithson said.

On Wednesday, September 28, the Preds will host the Washington Capitals. It will be the second home game of the pre-season, and the possible return of former Predator Joel Ward.

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