The Gallatin News
The Predators and Raining Catfish
It was raining catfish on Broadway Wednesday night.
The Predators were buying into addition by subtraction.
This was a wounded Predators team honed in on saving the season, fighting for every puck in hopes of
extending the Western Conference semifinals series against Phoenix.
This was the real Nashville Predators team, down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, returning to the formula
that made them successful in the regular season.
They scored two early goals, spaced only 66 seconds apart to put the Preds up 2-0, a score that would
stand up and set up Game 4 Friday night. Both goals came off Phoenix turnovers.
“Our offense piggybacks off our defense,’’ Preds coach Barry Trotz noted during the first intermission.
The Predators took the ice Wednesday without two of its most potent offensive players — Andrei
Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov.
Despite losing the first two games in Phoenix, Predators General Manager David Poile and Trotz were in
lockstep Tuesday when they announced the two players would be suspended for Game 3 of the Western
If losing the first two games of the series wasn’t bad enough, they had to play their biggest game of the
season without a full deck.
Now the biggest game of the season becomes Game 4 Friday night. It will take another Herculean effort to
even the series.
If I’m Trotz, I stick with the players who deserve to be there, the ones that obeyed the rules. Let Radulov
and Kostitsyn cool their heels again. Don’t mess with the chemistry that was all too evident in Game 3.
“We got back to playing Predators hockey,’’ Predators goalie Pekka Rinne said after winning its first game
of the series.
They did so despite two of their best offensive threats being forced to take a seat after reportedly breaking
a team curfew rule the night before Game 2.
Instead of concentrating on evening the series in Phoenix, Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn chose to think
only of themselves, putting their selfish interests ahead of the team. It was a case of blatant disregard for
The two players weren’t missed at all Wednesday night. The raucous sellout home crowd did its part to lift
“They cut out the cancer. … they played the best period of hockey they have played in the playoffs,’’ NBC
commentator Jeremy Roenick said after watching the opening period in Game 3.
Defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber led the charge to keep the Coyotes off the scoreboard. And what
can you say about the play of Rinne? He turned into Spiderman during a Phoenix 5-on-3 advantage late in the
final period and the game still up for grabs.
“The Nashville Predators are a team that expects certain behaviors and rules to be followed,’’ Trotz said
about the suspensions Tuesday.
It’s the most bizarre incident in the history of the organization. It couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Now the goal is to even the series and make it a best two-of-three event.
If they should overcome the two-game disadvantage and go on to play in the Western Conference finals,
it will bring back memories of the 1980 Team USA that won the Winter Olympics gold medal over what had
been for years a dominant USSR hockey team.
The Nashville Predators can make its own Miracle on Ice.