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Mully's Musings: vs. Buffalo

by Bryan Mullen / Nashville Predators
At times like this, it’s a go-to phrase for Nashville coach Barry Trotz. The hockey gods, he likes to say, even up everything.

Buffalo came to town and skated off with a 3-2 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 17,133 at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators outplayed the Sabres on almost every front but couldn’t pull out the win. Two days earlier at Vancouver, Nashville played poorly for long stretches but came out with a 6-5 victory.

So, Nashville shouldn’t have won at Vancouver and should have beaten Buffalo. And the end result is the same. The Preds are 1-1-0 in their last two games.

Trotz was not overly upset following the Buffalo loss. His team outshot the Sabres by a large number, the intensity was evident despite Nashville coming off a long trip, and the Preds went with their backup goaltender. As Trotz said, Nashville only made about six mistakes on Saturday, but three of them ended up in the back of the net.

On to the musings…

Lindback is back: After being the main reason why Nashville stole two points at Vancouver, No. 2 goaltender Anders Lindback got the start against the Sabres. Entering Saturday, he was 2-1-0 with a 2.37 goals against average and .918 save percentage. If Lindback were to be graded on Saturday’s performance, he likely would receive a C+ or B-. Lindback stopped only 11 of 14 shots, and as Trotz said afterward, the Preds needed just one more save from the youngster. Don’t expect Saturday’s performance to hurt his confidence. Ask the coaches, and they will tell you that one of Lindback’s greatest strengths is putting things behind him. He will be called on again soon, and the loss to Buffalo will be well in his past.

Weird sequence: A wild scene took place in the final minutes of the second period. Preds forward Jordin Tootoo made a move to the net, was slightly nudged from behind by the Sabres’ Christian Ehrhoff, and collided with Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller. Tootoo launched himself in the air to try and avoid the collision but contact was made. As soon as Tootoo hit the ice, Miller jumped on Tootoo and threw several punches. Both teams converged and it took a few minutes before everyone was dislodged. Tootoo received a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. It will be interesting to see if the NHL doles out any more punishment on Tootoo, who looked like he would have been able to avoid the collision had he not been nudged. But with Miller just returning from a concussion, the NHL may be sensitive to the fact and hit Tootoo with some added discipline.

Shooting the puck: It’s an eye-catching stat. The Predators outshot Buffalo 34-14. Nashville hasn’t been known to outshoot its opponents very often, and even when they do, it’s rarely by 20 shots. Ryan Suter led all players with seven shots, followed by David Legwand (six). Rookie Craig Smith, who is never shy shooting the puck, had only three shots but did score a power play goal. The problem for Nashville was Miller being in net. Miller stopped 32 of 34 shots and had some highlight-reel saves.

F Jordin Tootoo on the collision with Miller: “The last thing I wanted to do was run the goalie over and put our team in a bad situation. There was no intent to charge at him.”

F Craig Smith on preparing for the next game: “We just have to make sure we take care of our bodies. We’re coming off a long trip. We have to get good rest and get ready to push it this week.”

Coach Barry Trotz on Tootoo’s collision: “I know it wasn’t intentional. It was a hockey play that sort of went awry a little bit.”

G Ryan Miller, Buffalo: Stopped 32 of 34 shots
F Luke Adam, Buffalo: 1 goal, 1 assist, +2
F David Legwand, Nashville: 1 goal, 1 assist

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