Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Tale Of Two Islands: Preds 1-0-1 in New York

Readership,

So ends Day 3 of the SeePuckCity Manhattan Getaway 2010 - perhaps this might begin an annual trip? I guess it depends on the Preds schedule.

We seemed to have brought the snow with us though - it began in Nashville the day we left and began here in the Big Apple in the wee hours of this morning, but this isn't about snow days.  It's about the Nashville Predators and how they act and react against easy and/or Eastern conference teams, and with two games after two nights, the team has shown me its Jekyll & Hyde in a span of 24 hours.

The Islanders game wasn't viewed live - I knew we'd be able to make 2 of these 3 games this week and when it came to Islanders or Devils, what with their new star forward, I had to pick the Devils.  Also, it's the Islanders, an easy win, right?  [insert eye-rolling here]

The Islanders, losing more than their share in a row (7), came out strong, making it an even game before notching one first.  The Preds responded as they normally do, scoring 2 within a minute and a half, and as they normally do, they quit playing with fire once ahead.  Mirroring the San Jose game, the Islanders caught back up, we'd score a goal to stay ahead...then make the worst move possible in the last minute or so...to allow the opposing team to tie the game aaaaand win.  Note, we did take it to OT unlike against San Jose...but again, this is the Islanders!!!  I've said it before and I'll say it again: we play crap against crap teams, which is funny because fans of the top teams think we're a crap team, yet we tend to play very well against them.  Perhaps the coaches should print out bogus standings to hand out to the team?  Regardless, Erat must have felt like a tool after that game (and by tool, I mean Hamhuis) - boarding once again in the last few moments to allow a 6-on-4.  *le sigh*  You all know how it happened...on to better things.

Tonight was a different story.  They went from Long Island to Manhattan, from dry to covered in snow and slush - perhaps the snow brought the game with them? MSG had little to offer, sparse crowd (2/3rds full at best), drunk crowd ("Wettttt's goooo Raaanggguuuurzz!" Repeat x 30), and a crowd that loved to boo their own team if they didn't get the puck out of the zone.  The Preds came out and didn't really let up.  The goals came from Tootoo (though we, and many others, swore it was Klein) and Colin Wilson (always great to see a Bostonian give it to these New Yorkies) and the only gripe I had with this game, Capt'n Arnott seemed slow as all get out and once again, the discipline seemed to disappear when NYR had a 5-on-3 that earned their only goal of the night.  As the least penalized team in the league, I've been having a difficult time believing it as of late.  After Wilson's goal, however, we played that disciplined game and had very good chances of our own - the Rangers were hanging Lundqvist out to dry tonight and it obviously showed (especially based on what I heard from Rangers' "fans").  If they take what they did tonight and add just a bit more discipline (I know, I'm overusing the word like a hockey coach would), we have a good chance against New Jersey.  The Flyers did beat them tonight, however, so they will be pissed off and looking for an easy win (and that's where our boys step in and show them that the team from Nashville should never be considered a crap team).  As for Nashville fans, there were a handful of Preds jerseys in the crowd (at least 2 white aways, one personalized for our top player #27; 3 new thirds; 2 homes and me wearing the old "musthird" jersey)  - ran into a pair that sit in 302 and they informed me there were plenty of others that came up to catch these games to boot.  I also ran into the friendliest New Yorker / Ranger fan ever - gave us directions to MSG while we were trying to figure it out under Penn Station.  Apparently she loves country music, loves hockey, loves when we play the Rangers and wants to move to Nashville cos it feels like home to her, and she's from Brooklyn!  It was a breath of fresh air in this cold, stale and often impolite New York climate.

Two more games left on this New England tour: New Jersey and Pittsburgh.  Not the easiest teams to beat, but they've been showing weaknesses of their own as of late.  Let's try to exploit them before they can exploit ours!

Go Preds!

These photos were from my phone - left my camera cord back in Nashville.  There will be some sight-seeing 303 pics up next week!!! Just you wait!!! Here's a hint: Who you gonna call?

Cheers.

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