Three Central Division teams played in two games last night in the NHL. The only one that really matters here in Nashville is the Predators’ first shootout victory of the season. There’s still a long way for this team to go but getting that monkey off their back means they’re officially cleared for launch. Whether they make it into orbit remains to be seen. For now, just knowing there’s a launch scheduled feels good.
Around The Central Division: February 1, 2013
Nashville Predators 2, Los Angeles Kings 1 (SO)
The Nashville Predators were in danger of falling into sole possession of last place in the Central Division going into last night. The Columbus Blue Jackets’ regulation loss to St. Louis killed that possibility, but after Anze Kopitar beat Pekka Rinne in the shootout the Preds were staring down the possibility of their fourth loss in four tries at the shootout this season. Then Gabriel Bourque saved the team with a sweet little move, the Kings missed two chances, and Sergei Kostitsyn kind-of-sort-of made up for playing like a goof most of this season so far:
When you see him make moves like that you can’t help but wish he’d use them before the Gary Bettman Post-Game Skills Competition. But hey, two points are two points, and in this case we have SK74 to thank for them. Thanks, Sergei!
(And thanks, too, to Distractions From Tedium for the GIF!)
St. Louis Blues 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Columbus has been in a spoil-y mood lately, but they were overrun in the first period by a St. Louis Blues team that only seems to be getting stronger. Vladimir Tarasenko scored his fifth goal of the season to move into a tie with Patrick Kane for the Central Division lead in goals. Then the Jackets started fighting back and actually outshot St. Louis in the second and third periods. Bleedin’ Blue looks at how the Blues held on to win.
Chicago traded F Peter LeBlanc to the Washington Capitals for future considerations, and acquired F Mathieu Beaudoin from Hershey (AHL) for future considerations.
Detroit reassigned RW Trevor Parkes and G Jordan Pearce from Grand Rapids (AHL) to Toledo (ECHL).
Points: Patrick Kane (CHI) – 10
Goals: Marian Hossa (CHI), Vladimir Tarasenko (STL) – 5
Assists: Patrick Kane, Kevin Shattenkirk (STL) – 8
PIM: Jared Boll (CBJ) – 40
Wins: Corey Crawford – 5
GAA: Chris Mason (NSH) – 1.00
SV%: Chris Mason (NSH) – .967
After 65 minutes of hockey and eight rounds of the shootout, the Nashville Predators have earned a day’s rest before heading north to face the unbeaten San Jose Sharks. Three of their Central Division opponents will take to the ice tonight, including an intradivisional game on NHL Network that will be worth tuning in for.
St. Louis Blues (6-1-0) at Detroit Red Wings (3-2-1)
6:30 p.m. CST
Detroit has been better at home this season than it has been on the road, but St. Louis has been good everywhere – including at home against the Red Wings, where they won 6-0 to kick off the season. Still, Joe Louis Arena is not an easy place to play. After two weeks of play the quality of NHL games is beginning to go up so I expect this one will probably be much closer than their first meeting. Head over to Octopus Thrower for the Red Wing take on things, but be sure to wash your hands before you leave.
Chicago Blackhawks (6-0-1) at Vancouver Canucks (3-2-2)
9:00 p.m. CST
While Preds fans are still on a high from the shootout, Blackhawks fans had their first down note of the season thanks to a shootout loss in Chicago’s last game. The Blackhawks will face another tough test at Vancouver, where Roberto Luongo looks like he’ll be starting his third straight game after winning the last two. Chicago, meanwhile, has seen its offense slow down the last five games after bursting out of the gate with 11 in the first two games. These two teams really don’t like each other, as Blackhawk Up lets us know.