Central Division: Blues Shut Down Preds, Chicago Wins Again

After four games the Nashville Predators are 1-1-2 and sitting in third place in the NHL’s Central Division, and there’s really not a lot to celebrate at the moment. After playing a solid game against Minnesota and picking up its first win, the team looked pretty awful against St. Louis last night in the second game of a seven-game road trip.

The Preds’ only saving grace at the moment is that one of the worst rules in hockey – the extra point in the standings for losing in overtime – is propping them up in the standings. They’ll take the points – there’s not exactly a refund policy on them – but this isn’t how they really want to go about earning half their points in the long term.

It’ a sad state of affairs, I know. I won’t tell anybody if you want to take a few sips from that flask you keep in the desk drawer specifically for hockey season. Who says it’s too early to drink? I mean, besides your boss…on second thought, hold that flask, OK?

Around The Central Division: January 25, 2013

YESTERDAY

Nashville sits third in the Central Division

Nashville’s two points from shootouts are its saving grace right now. (PHOTO: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Blues 3, Nashville Predators 0

The Nashville Predators finally played a game where the winner scored first. Too bad it wasn’t them. Last night they looked bad against a very good team and got their butts handed to them. Jaroslav Halak got the shutout on just 13 Nashville shots, actually one shot less than he had to turn away in his shutout against Detroit on Opening Night. It is not good news when the best takeaway from the game is, “Well, at least they didn’t score as much against us as they did against Detroit.

I asked Predlines readers earlier this week how many points they thought Nashville would earn over the course of their seven-game road trip:

How many points will Nashville earn on its seven-game road trip?

  • 7-9 (63%, 10 Votes)
  • 10-14 (25%, 4 Votes)
  • 4-6 (13%, 2 Votes)
  • 0-3 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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Right now the Preds have earned two points in two games. That leaves them five more contests in which to pick up the extra five points it’ll take to meet your expectations. The good news: they can just lose the rest of the road trip in overtime and come away with seven points.

Bleedin’ Blue has the view from enemy territory. I survived the carnage and lived to tell the tale, but I’m still feeling a little queasy.

Central Division leaders, the Chicago Blackhawks

They’re so cute when they’re happy. (PHOTO: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago Blackhawks 3, Dallas Stars 2 (OT)

Dallas had a 2-0 lead working against Chicago after 35 minutes of hockey, but they took one too many penalties and it cost them. Patrick Sharp scored on the power play at 15:57 of the second period before assisting on Jonathan Toews’ game-tying goal and Marian Hossa’s game-winner. Corey Crawford got the win, Kari Lehtonen took the loss, and Chicago maintained its lead in the Central Division.

Blackhawk Up has the wrap. Blackout Dallas presents the case for the defense (or lack thereof).

Columbus is slipping toward the bottom of the Central Division

That GAA is starting to rise for Sergei Bobrovsky. (PHOTO: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

Colorado Avalanche 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 0

In a duel of young Russian goalies, Sergei Bobrovsky gave up four goals on 28 shots, while Semyon Varlamov picked up his first shutout of the year by stopping 33. Colorado’s win came without Steve Downie, who is out for the year with a torn ACL. It’s already starting to look like the wheels on Columbus’ cart were designed to stay on exactly long enough to get three points splitting shootouts with Detroit and Nashville, and no more. I bet Scott Howson is reading his warranty paperwork right now, trying to find a way he can get the team fixed without having to pay for it out of pocket. Even Exuberant Blue Jackets Fan has to be coming down off the first two games of the season by this point.

Transactions

Columbus assigned D Patrick Cullity from Springfield (AHL) to Idaho (ECHL).

Detroit reassigned RW Andrej Nestrasil and RW Trevor Parkes from Grand Rapids (AHL) to Toledo (ECHL).

St. Louis assigned D Jeff Woywitka to Peoria (AHL).

Standings

Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (CHI) – 7
Goals: Marian Hossa (CHI) – 5
Assists: Kevin Shattenkirk (STL), Patrick Kane (CHI) – 5
PIM: Derek Dorsett (CBJ) – 17
Wins: Corey Crawford (CHI) – 3
GAA: Chris Mason (NSH) – 1.00
SV%: Chris Mason (NSH) – .967

TODAY

After taking one day off the Detroit Red Wings are back in action tonight in the Central Division’s only scheduled game.

The Central Division's Detroit Red Wings are having a rough year.

“Tell me again, what’s the name of the defenseman who passed me the puck?” (PHOTO: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings
6:30 p.m. CST

Minnesota won its first two games before losing to the Predators on Wednesday, while Detroit got smashed by St. Louis before topping Columbus in a shootout and then losing to Dallas. The Wings are reeling from a confounding series of injuries to players like Todd Bertuzzi, Ian White, and Carlo Colaiacovo, leaving them in the position of having to call up multiple fill-ins from the AHL. Zach Parise, Dany Heatley, and Ryan Suter lead the way for Minnesota.

Topics: Central Division, Nashville Predators

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