The Predators (and an absolute mob of Smashville fans) invaded Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday night, looking to keep pace in the Western Division against the Golden Knights. The biggest story line coming to this game was no doubt the return of Ryan Ellis and how he would fare in his first outing of the season.
The Predators came out sluggish, only tallying a handful of shots in the first frame. The score remained tight throughout the 2nd period until Reilly Smith open the scoring at 12:10. While the Knights were on a power play, Smith walked down the left slot, and was able to bounce the puck off Rinne’s back to gain a 1-0 advantage. Only a minute and a half later, Vegas scored again off the stick of Shea Theodore after Fiala was caught on the ice (with a tired defense) without a stick.
The Predators came out buzzing in the 3rd period, really putting pressure on the Knights defense. Despite the pressure, the Knights delivered the dagger in the final minutes with an empty net goal from Marchessault. Preds fell 3-0.
Three Things We Learned
Smashville Earns Frequent Flyer Miles
Good on you Nashville. The Predator fans were out in full force in Vegas in impressive fashion. Often during the game, you could hear roars from the Smashville faithful, and in those moments, you can really see how much hockey has grown in Middle Tennessee. It’s really something special.
General Ellis Reports For Duty
He was definitely rusty, but didn’t look out of place on the ice. He played sound defensively, but didn’t show much of his offensive side. Now with that being said, I’m going to need to know why he was thrown in to top minutes immediately. When I look at these defensive pairings, I see absolutely no reason why he couldn’t play on the 3rd line for the first weeks, especially with how soundly the defense has played. I’m not a hockey coach, and won’t pretend to be, but I’m going to politely have to disagree with that decision.
It was bound to happen, and honestly I would rather it be now than after the All-Star break, but the Preds have had a rough ride lately. With tonight’s loss, the Predators have lost five of their last seven games. The Predators travel the Arizona to face the Coyotes on Thursday. I can only hope the Predators pull out a victory, because if not, it might be time to remove nearby, sharp objects from Predator fans.
Photo Credit- (Dec. 7, 2017 – Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America)