Tag: James Neal

Colorado Avalanche v Arizona Coyotes

Coyotes drop eighth straight on home ice


The Arizona Coyotes have dropped eight straight on home ice and seven of their last eight overall following a 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators Thursday night.

Antoine Vermette opened the scoring with his seventh of the season just over four minutes into the first; however, it was all Nashville after that.

Mike Fisher, James Neal and Ryan Ellis scored first period goals to give the Preds a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Calle Jarnkrok and Olli Jokinen added third period goals for Nashville. The Predators have now won back to back games and both meetings with the Coyotes.

“We’ve done everything from practice hard to video to anything you can imagine trying to get us out of it,” said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett. “Ultimately, we have to get on the ice and get the job done if we’re going to get the results we want. Just 1-on-1 battles that we’re losing, and that’s unacceptable. We’ll just keep trying to find people to win those battles. We’re not finding the results we want so the frustration continues to build.

“But until we turn that frustration into mental resolve and getting the job done, more frustration will pile up.”

Mike Smith stopped 33 shots in the loss while Pekka Rinne picked up the win making 31 saves.

Avs drop fourth straight as Preds’ Rinne shuts them out

Nashville Predators v Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche lost netminder Semyon Varlamov again on Tuesday due to a lingering groin injury, but their goaltending wasn’t the reason they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Nashville on Tuesday.

Calvin Pickard did an admiral job filling in for Varlamov. He stopped 33 of 34 shots and Filip Forsberg’s game-winning goal would have been a tough one to stop.

Gabriel Bourque and James Neal padded the lead with empty-net goals in the final two minutes of the contest.

At the other end of the ice, Pekka Rinne earned a 26-save shutout. He’s emerged as an early contender for the Vezina Trophy with a 18-5-1 record, 1.81 GAA, and .934 save percentage in 24 games this season. Perhaps he’ll get some consideration for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy too given that he’s putting up these numbers after missing most of the 2013-14 campaign because of a hip injury.

Colorado has now lost four consecutive games to fall to 9-13-6 in 2014-15. The Avalanche have to overcome a nine-point deficit if they want to make the playoffs. The only silver lining is there’s still plenty of time for them to do that.

Video: Shaw sends Neal into Blackhawks bench

Andrew Shaw

It’s a battle of two teams in an early fight for the Central Division, so naturally it’s going to be physical. Just ask James Neal.

Neal, the Nashville Predators forward, was sent into the Chicago bench by Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw in the first period of Saturday’s game. Shaw isn’t the biggest guy, listed at only 5’11 tall. Meanwhile, Neal stands about 6’2″ tall. The hit sparked a brief melee near the bench.

How strong are the Predators, really?

Winnipeg Jets vs Nashville Predators

After eking out a 1-0 overtime win against the ailing Edmonton Oilers, the Nashville Predators wake up on Black Friday atop the Central Division and among the NHL’s top teams.

That’s quite the feat considering the mixed predictions this team brought into 2014-15, not to mention two straight seasons outside of the playoffs. So how seriously should this team be taken?

Let’s look at some key numbers to ponder that question.

1. They’re strong in possession, but have also been a little lucky – The Oilers carried a notable shot advantage last night, but Nashville won. The Predators have been a quality possession team, yet they’ve also been a little lucky this season.

Nashville’s PDO is 103.3, indicating that the Predators are enjoying more “puck luck” than any team in the NHL.

2. Pekka Rinne has been outstanding – Critics wondering if Rinne is worth $7 million per year are probably a little quieter today, as he’s been fantastic; in a way, his play last night symbolized the starkest difference between Edmonton and Nashville.

Rinne’s on a five-game winning streak and has won nine of his last 10 games. With a sparkling .932 save percentage, he’d be the easy choice if the Vezina was determined today.

3. The best against the West – Another glaring contrast between Edmonton and Nashville: records against the West. Plenty has been said about the Oilers’ inability to beat West teams, but it’s worth mentioning that Nashville has the best record against the best conference.

They are 12-3-2 against the West. Only one other team (Vancouver at 10-5-1) is in double-digits in victories versus West opponents so far in 2014-15.

That’s a fabulous head start, if nothing else.

4. Filip Forsberg could maintain some of his ridiculous momentum – Look, it’s probably unrealistic to expect the 20-year-old to maintain a point-per-game pace all season long.

Still, while his shooting percentage is high (15.4 percent), it’s not so over-the-top that he can’t keep up a nice scoring rate over the next five months. He’s averaging almost three shots per game (65 in 22) and has quality linemates in James Neal and Mike Ribeiro, so the Calder frontrunner has a chance to remain productive.

5. Nashville’s power play has been awful – While a lot of numbers scream “regression” for the Predators, their power play is almost bound to improve.

They’ve only converted on 12.9 percent of their power-play opportunities, which ranks 24th in the NHL. If they can merely bump that number up to “middle of the pack” – certainly not an outrageous thought with Peter Laviolette behind the bench and Shea Weber leading a slew of talented offensive defensemen – they could deal with some of the likely drop-offs they might face.


Overall, it’s tough to imagine Nashville being the cream of the crop in the brutal Central Division by the end of the season, as even today they’re only two points ahead of the St. Louis Blues. They’re stocking up on enough standings points that they could be a playoff team, however … and possibly a dangerous one, in that.

Video: Neal scores late as Predators stop Blues’ winning streak at seven games

James Neal, Filip Forsberg, Colin Wilson

The St. Louis Blues just kept on winning and winning. Then they ran into the Nashville Predators, off to a pretty formidable start to the season themselves, on Saturday night and suffered a loss.

James Neal scored with just over six minutes remaining in the third period to give the Predators a 2-1 victory over their Central Division rivals. The win improves Nashville’s record to 9-3-2 and stopped the Blues’ winning streak at seven games.

Neal beat St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott with a quick wrist shot, though it was one the puck stopper said after he wanted back.

“I lost it in the bodies in front for a split second there,” Elliott told NHL.com. “I definitely want it back, especially late in the third period in a tied game, but those are going to happen too.”