Coming off the first road trip of the year, the Predators played
three out of four games at home and were off again -- this time on
the longest road trip of the year. This was not really considered
a bad thing. The Predators had already proved they could win at
home (2-1 so far), but had yet to win their first away from the
friendly confines of Nashville Arena. Before they left, however,
the team had some business to take care of.
A two-game home stand would give the Preds a chance to face some of
the marquee players in the league as well as some future legends.
Mark Messier brought his 600 goals in with the Canucks and made it
601, scoring the first of three goals in the first period. However
it was not enough, with Nashville doubling Vancouver with tallies
from Jeff Daniels and Sergei Krivokrasov. As has been their way
this year, Nashville took a two-goal lead into the third period,
picking up two goals for Vancouver's one in the second period as
Unfortunately, it has also been the Predators' way to let leads slip
away, and 2:30 into the third all was tied. Messier's second assist
and third point of the game pulled the Canucks even and set the stage
for a hero.
With just 11 seconds remaining on Dave Satchard's elbowing penalty
and 1:26 left in the game, Krivokrasov added his second of the
night and sixth of the year, poking in a rebound that slid under
Garth Snow's back into the crease. Goaltender Mike Dunham fought
back the final wave of Vancouver shots and the victory was
On Halloween night, the Predators hosted the Colorado Avalanche, in
the battle for almost last place in the league. Scary things were
definitely lurking in the shadows, and it looked as though the Avs
were ready to go trick-or-treating -- dressed up as a hockey team.
The team formerly known as artists somehow got 41 shots, all but
two turned away by the unintimidated Mike Dunham, but their play
was uninspired. Goals by Sebastien Bordeleau, Greg Johnson and the
game-winner by Andrew Brunette gave Nashville a great send- off and
Nashville had it first-ever win streak.
Unfortunately, win streaks die fast deaths. The Oilers wasted no
time in welcoming the Predators to Western Canada, scoring :26 into
the first period, and while the good sign was Nashville would some
back to within one, the bad sign was that this didn't happen until
the last minute of play. The Preds could not put together what was
needed to win on the road.
On a personnel note, this game was the first for newly acquired
Cliff Ronning, brought on from Phoenix to spread out the scoring a
After one night off, the Flames were hosts at the Saddledome in
Alberta. In case you had forgotten, Calgary had already visited
Nashville, and had defeated the Predators. Hoping to return the
favor, Jan Vopat and Patrik Kjellberg notched goals for Nashville
and led the way in the first road victory of the year. The
Predators played exactly 60:00 of hockey, which is luckily just
enough time to win a game -- the Flames put one past Dunham one
second after the green light went on signaling the end of the
game. However desperately the Predators tried, they could not give
this one away.
In the second meeting of the road trip, Nashville headed to the
beautiful GM Place in the Pacific Northwest. Mark Messier was once
again whining...I mean waiting...for the Predators, and scored what
proved to be the game-winner, on a shorthanded feed from Alexander
Mogilny in the third period. The Nashville squad looked dead tired
for this game and could not provide backup Tomas Vokoun the support
needed to win. Heck, even Vancouver goon Donald Brashear had a
goal! Where's Patrick Cote when you need him.
Three games down, three to go. It's a tough life on the road, and
it ain't getting any easier.
Notes: Denny Lambert returned to play...it was still Kirk
Maltby's fault...Nashville Arena has not yet had the pre-game
anthems performed by anyone not on a major record label, and it's
not just country acts -- Barenaked Ladies are in town on the 17th
to open for the Chicago game...Sergei Krivokrasov's left his point-
scoring streak at home, ended in Edmonton.