Monday night's game was anything but pretty for the Preds. The inconsistent scoring is starting to hurt this team. One game you get 6 goals, the next you get none, then you get 3 and the next you get 1 (no particular order but games vs CGY, VAN, ANA and SJ).
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To make matters worse, Captain Jason Arnott left the game after colliding with Sharks forward Joe Pavelski and eventually the net. Yep, that wasn't pretty either. There were a few fights too so...
Forget the game, lets focus on the fights!
No real order here
Fight #1: Joe Thornton vs Scott NicholIf you're a Preds fan, you do and you don't want to see this matchup. You do want to see it because you know that Big Joe will have to sit out 5 minutes in the box which obviously means 5 minutes not on the ice. You don't want to see this because you know that Nichol is gonna get his a$$ whooped. Oh, we all know Nichol is a gamer and will fight his fights if he has to. His nickname is "Ball full of hate"...according to Terry Crisp. Prior to the fight actualyl occurring, Thornton and Nichol take the faceoff and after the draw is won by Nichol, Scooter puts his body in front of Thornton to keep him from moving forward. Thornton gives Scooter some cross checks and slashes with his stick. Scooter retaliates with the same. Its clear that something will happen out of this. The gloves come off and there they go. Scooter throws 5 right hands, none of which are even close to the head of Thornton. Then they exchange punches with Scooter landing maybe 1 of them and Thornton landing all. Thornton gets a last punch away and with most of his weight leanign forward he is vulnerable and Scooter takes advantage by bringing Thornton down hard.
Comments: No real chance here for Scooter but kudos for trying. He's made a lot of poor on-ice decisions over his time as a Predator (spear to McLaren in 3rd period of Game 5 of 2007 Quarterfinals, punch to Spacek, etc.) and this wasn't quite one of them
Result: Jim Van Horne's moustache (or for the American audience, Barry Melrose's mullet) gives this one to Joe Thornton.
Altercation #1: Jordin Tootoo vs Brad Staubitz
Tootoo has the puck skating into his own zone with the puck along the boards and gets a clean hit from Staubitz. Tootoo doesn't like the hit and they appear to square off. Its VERY clear that these two want to dance right then and there. Tootoo wants to start it quick so he whips off his gloves quickly and throws a right. Staubitz could've done the same but Toots was much quicker and Staubitz goes down like a pansy.
Comments: This is NOT a cheap shot, Sharks fans, so stop your Ron Wilson-like whining!
Result: Another fight!
Fight #2: Greg deVries vs Jody Shelley Round 1
We all know Shelley is a vet when it comes to fighting and he can really dish out the punches when he wants to. Somewhat similar to former Pred Darcy Hordichuk. DeVries never really gets a good punch away in this one. This starts off with each player grappling for position right by the Sharks bench and Shelley starts it off with some good small punches. Greg comes back with one small punch and Shelley gets ready for a big one. The one good thing Greg does here (and really the one good thing he's done all year) is make a quick duck to avoid a big haymaker from Shelley. Each player gets off another punch with Jody clearly wanting more. Refs step in.
Comments: Kudos to Greg for standing up to a heavyweight like Shelley. Unfortunately, he doesn't do much and I'm surprised he didn't get pounded on in this scrap.
Result: We'll give the edge to Jody on this one.
Fight #3: Greg deVries vs Jody Shelley Round 2
In the 3rd period, off a faceoff draw, deVries puts a shot on net with Shelley coming at him trying to block it. The shot gets through and Boucher stops it. Shelley and deVries tangle once again and Shelley pretty much owns deVries in this one. Greg managed to get a punch away as both exchanged punches at the start but it was all Shelley to the end. Greg managed to get a tiny little punch at the end just as the refs stepped in.
Comments: Its great that Greg is stepping up to these challenges but I don't think thats why he's on this team. He has to provide the leadership and solid D that they want out of him. We haven't seen to much solid D at all though and he looks even slower skating-wise than last year. I've been on the "Trade deVries" wagon since mid way through last season. Kevin Klein keeps sitting on his a$$ in the press box because of this guy. Shelley takes an easy win in the rematch.
Result: Shelley takes it and owns deVries (as if I haven't said that enough already)
Fight #3: Jordin Tootoo vs Brad Staubitz
This actually happened after the Nichol-Thornton fight so this might be out of place. In any case, you could tell that these two were gonna tangle from the start of the puckdrop to the left of Boucher. Staubitz actually wants to go early and get his revenge for the Tootoo punch earlier so Staubitz actually drops one of his gloves prematurely before the faceoff and skates aroudn to pick it up. The faceoff is taken and Toots and Staubitz drop the gloves. This starts off with a LOT of waiting. Each man waiting and waiting until Toots tries to throw himself at Staubitz almost like a football tackle and Staubitz gets some good punches in there. Toots picks himself up and they both exchange. Wow, this is a good one with both giving clean shots and Toots even using both hands (one after the other) in the exchange. They grapple for a bit and Stuabitz gets some good left handers at Toots with Toots countering with some hands of his own. Toots manages to barely take Staubitz down and before Brad could get back in, the refs step in themselves.
Comments: One of the better fought fights, I've seen Jordin in in awhile. A very even tilt with Staubitz possibly making a name for himself? We'll have to wait and see. You can definitely tell that the fans are pumped after this fight with the loud roars echoing out throughout Sommet.
Result: We'll give this one a draw.
Well what a night for fights! Hopefully deVries never gets in a fight again and we see more of Kevin Klein on the ice sooner rather than later. How bout calling up Triston Grant or Josh Gratton sometime soon? Tarnasky really is a waste of ice time when he isn't being scratched on the game card. Next game is T-Bay I believe and it'll be interesting how they play out after the Melrose meltdown that occurred over the weekend.
Take care, HockeyBuzz nation.
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