Catfish Down. Undisciplined Play Drops Preds…Again
by Taylor Parks
After coming off a 2OT thriller in Nashville just a few days ago, the Predators traveled to Winnipeg looking to take back their home ice advantage. The Jets meanwhile looking to win to put all of the pressure in the series on the Predators.
The Predators got off to their hottest start of the post season, nearly running the Jets out of their own building in the first period. (emphasis on nearly) Mike Fisher would tally his first goal of this postseason at 4:53 and would be the first of three first period goals that Connor Hellebuyck would give up in the first frame. PK Subban would score on the power play after his slap shot trickled by Hellebuyck. Austin Watson would add the exclamation mark on a dominant first period at 17:35 to go up 3-0 and really silence the Winnipeg crowd. They would not stay quiet for long.
Winnipeg would strike early and often in the 2nd period, tallying four unanswered goals against the Predators. The Predators were on their heels the majority of the period, giving little resistance to a Jets team that seemed determined to take control of the game. Paul Stastny would get the scoring started just 2:38 into the period after a great deflection off of his skate (maybe a kicking motion but it was close). Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba would both score at 5:11 and 5:29 respectively, and less than 6 minutes into the second period, the Predator’s three goal lead would disappear. Byfuglien wasn’t done, as he would take the lead for the Jets at 19:15 and take the 4-3 lead into the locker room.
The pesky Predators, who have been resilient all year long, would not go quietly into the night. Filip Forsberg would score the game tying goal on the power play at 7:40 to get the Predators momentum and right back into the game. With under 10 minutes to play, the Predator’s biggest enemy during the season reared it’s ugly head once again, the penalty box. Kevin Fiala was called for tripping and after killing it off, PK Subban was called for high sticking to leave them a man down once again. Blake Wheeler would make the Predators pay for their undisciplined play, and the Predators would find themselves down once again. Pekka Rinne would then lose his cool just seconds later and get called for a slashing penalty to send the Predators on their third penalty kill in less than 5 minutes. The Jets would deliver the daggers on two empty net goals and take the game 7-4 and now lead the series 2-1.
Things We Learned
It’s really simple. STAY OUT OF THE BOX. The Predators worked so incredibly hard to climb back and tie the game back to only flush it away on three absolutely disquieting penalties. Were there consistency issues on the side of the referees? Absolutely, but you can not take those penalties at a moment like that. And of all people to get a penalty, Pekka Rinne was called for a slash and took away valuable time for the Predators to mount another comeback. The unspoken leader, the Vezina finalist, the beloved Pekka Rinne lost his cool, and possibly costed this team a chance to tie the game. I’m not often disgusted with the Predator’s play but that third period effort was far worse than the 2nd period in which they . The Predators are possibly one more undisciplined period of hockey away from seeing themselves not move on to the Western Conference Finals.
What else did I learn tonight? Nothing. Stay out of the box.