Hornqvist arrives and Ellis makes statement in Nashville win…

In case you missed it, Patric Hornqvist threw a coming out party with 15,000 of his closest friends.

In dramatic fashion, the Nashville Predators came from behind and beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 inside a packed Sommet Center tonight.

In a game they probably should’ve lost, the Preds found a way to get the W. Fans were treated to only sporadic consistent play by the home team until Nashville was actually given a blessing in disguise. Hornqvist broke in alone on Colorado goalie Craig Anderson. With an amazing toe save (read: borderline lucky), Hornqvist was denied but, on the follow-up attempt, Jason Arnott whiffed on the puck while trying to bang it home but his skate picked up the slack. The Nashville captain had inadvertently kicked the puck in while crashing the crease. The goal was disallowed on the ice and that call was upheld when the officials went upstairs.

But, unlike previous years, the misfortune seemed to energize the Preds, as opposed to deflate them. They came out guns a-blazin’ after the review and looked like a completely different team than the one that had skated around the previous 47+ minutes.

Apparently the “no-goal” woke a sleeping giant because there was no stopping them after that.

The top line kept battling, almost insistent on getting that disallowed goal back, and eventually they did.

“We got a little lucky today,” Hornqvist said. “We went to the hard areas in front of the net. Sometimes the puck goes in and sometimes it doesn’t. It was good day to park in front of the net, two times right to my stick.”

Hornqvist finished the contest with three points, also tallying an assist on the first Nashville goal, scored by Arnott.

Starting goaltender Dan Ellis was also a story. Until the goal review, he was literally the only reason why this wasn’t a blow out in Colorado’s favor. He may have only faced 24 shots but at least 10 would fall into the “tough save” category, and at least three or four of them should make the highlight reel on NHL Network’s On the Fly show tonight.

While Pekka Rinne is slated to start against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, Ellis made an absolute statement between the pipes tonight. The only blemish on Ellis’s resume so far this season is the giveaway to James Neal of the Dallas Stars. Beyond that, he’s been nothing short of spectacular. Tonight, he gave Trotz 60-minutes worth of reasons why he should be the starting goalie.

Ellis has allowed two goals in each game he’s played in this season, stopping a combined 60 shots.

 

GAME NOTES:
* In his first game as a Nashville Predator, and his first NHL game in nearly three years, Triston Grant was called up this morning due to a rash of injuries to depth players like Jordin Tootoo and Joel Ward. He made sure his friends and family back home knew he played. Seeing NHL ice for the first time since November 18, 2006, Grant put himself on the scoresheet twice – both for interference - amassing four penalty minutes. The first penalty led to Colorado’s first goal of the game while the second was just plain unnecessary and quite blatant. Grant finished with a shade under 9:00 of ice time on 15 shifts and an even rating.
* Tootoo was the only injured player not present in the bench area during Opening Night Introductions.
* Rookie Colin Wilson remains on the shelf with a groin injury but, according to The Tennessean’s John Glennon, he skated today.
* The second line of Mike Sanotrelli, David Legwand and Martin Erat did next to nothing tonight. Santorelli was the lone bright spot on a line that otherwise was forgettable. One fan, during the second intermission, went so far as to say that Legwand and Erat were “dead weight to Santorelli’s talent and determination” tonight. Pretty strong words from a knowledgeable fan.
* All top line players, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Arnott, Sullivan and Hornqvist finished with a plus-3 rating. Everyone else in a Nashville sweater finished even.
* Both Colorado goals came on the power play. Kyle Qunicey and Marek Svatos each tallied their first goals of the season.
* Arnott was 13-of-21 in the faceoff dot tonight for a much-improved over last game 62% success rate.
* Dan Hamhuis led all skaters (both teams) with 25:38 of ice time. Weber was 2nd by a second (literally).
* Coming into tonight, there were roughly 1,000 tickets remaining for the Buffalo game on Saturday.