I'll begin with a quick note, I was at work the whole time Sunday's early game against the Kings was going on so I only had our lovely Preds Tweeting Choir to go by. If I had been witness to it, I would've written a blog with a title something along the lines of "Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick, and If He Is Quick Then He Don't Know Jack" or something that nearly resembles a half-ass'd attempt at being clever. But again...I wasn't a witness, so that's my excuse for missing that one.
Once again, the first two periods showed a cool and confident team. Sure, we had to climb the hill at first (Anyone else think "Get Carter" after that first goal?), but after 2 solid periods of play, Sullivan and Erat scored on Leighton and Smithson made it 3-1 after scoring from the first face-off of Bouchard's game (Leighton fell back and injured his ankle on what looked like bad ice throughout the whole game thanks to the SEC-ness from last weekend). So...a similar song and dance - we enter the 3rd up with a two-goal lead, Pekka is on his game like flies on a Philadelphian, Capt'n Arnott gets tripped and falls while the refs don't catch it or don't call it, the crowd reacts, the Flyers score in a swarm at the goal. Momentum swiftly decreases. Another flurry in the Preds' zone, and although Rinne's got it under wraps, Hamhuis decides to handle the goal post like a handicapped bathroom rail in order to dismantle it. The refs didn't like that very much and the crowd didn't like that they didn't call the Flyers on anything, but called Hammer on that...which lead to a Flyers PP goal.
Look at that...it's a tie game.
And look at that...nothing else is called for the rest of the game, and sadly, the Flyers picked up on that waaaay before the Preds did. They're not just dirty cos they're from Philly - they're dirty cos they're the Flyers. Tootoo got a stick to the face. I forgot who looked like he was nearly boarded. This went on through the OT period. Intensity was flowing throughout a near sell-out crowd, complete with various high school hockey teams throughout the state, newbies sitting behind me wondering what Tootoo's first name was and what happened if "no body won the shoot-out" and old favorites like the lady with the voice that sounds like she's choking on a dying cat that thinks it can survive if it scratches a chalkboard repeatedly (and with vigor; always a blast).
Hopes were met when Erat was able to make it past the Flyers' 2nd back-up goalie while none of the skating pumpkins could put one past our 6'5" Finnotype.
It was a good game, then a stressful game, then an exciting game, then a damn fine game. The officiating was awful, but in the end, that's just another bump the team has to overcome, especially on this final stretch to get to the latter half of April. To that, I say this:
Keep winning in front of the tried and the true,
Keep winning in front of the young or the new,
Keep winning them at home where you know we are loud,
Keep winning on the road and you'll shut up their crowd,
Keep winning any way and every way that you can,
Keep winning with dirty goals as long as you win,
Keep winning and you will win over the doubters,
Keep winning and force local media to focus,
Keep winning cos the playoffs are just up ahead,
And whatever happens will happen, you are Ours - you're the Preds.
(yes, I just wrote that - first poem I've written since the 10th grade - who says hockey doesn't bring out the sensitive side?)
Hockeytown South, folks - you SEC kats need to re-visit Nashville for a hockey game and we'll soon know your faces and names. See ya Thursday.