The Nashville Predators gave up a pretty nice package to acquire two-way center Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators, but they’ll be glad they did it if Mr. Carrie Underwood keeps belting out great tunes. Fisher scored two goals and one assist while Pekka Rinne stopped 27 out of 28 shots to power the Predators to a dominant Game 1 road win against the Anaheim Ducks.
Nashville 4, Anaheim 1; Predators lead 1-0
As red-hot as the Ducks came into the playoffs, the Predators seem like an especially tough matchup for Anaheim. Nashville has strong goaltending, a stingy defense and a nice group of low-profile, versatile forwards.
Even if this win was somewhat predictable, the actual one-sided nature of the outcome was a bit startling.
Shea Weber began the scoring, Steve Sullivan made it 2-0 and then Fisher took over with two more goals. Teemu Selanne did what he does best by scoring on the power play midway through the third period, but by then it was just about preserving some dignity.
Dan Ellis had a rough game against his former team, getting pulled early in the third period after allowing four goals on only 24 shots. Ray Emery actually filled in for Ellis, stopping all six shots in relief. Is this a sign Emery could step in full-time if needed?
Rinne didn’t get a shutout like Marc-Andre Fleury or Roberto Luongo tonight, but he was still impressive against the Ducks. It was a relatively “easy” win for Nashville, but chances are good that they haven’t seen the best of Anaheim just yet.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi ranks among the NHL’s most outspoken executives. Even so, his discussion of what he calls Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.” (Bold claim: the production part was probably the bigger sticking point.)
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the Lombardi and the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.