Jordin Tootoo’s goal and 4 assists in six games during Nashville’s Western Conference Quarter Finals series against the Anaheim Ducks is considered by many to be a key turning point of the series in the Predators favor.
Tootoo assisted on Jerred Smithson’s overtime winning goal in Game 5, as well as both of Nick Spalings goals in the series clinching Game 6 last Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.
As a result of his slick play-making abilities, Tootoo has been attracting national attention.
Wednesday, Tootoo was named the National Hockey League Players Association’s (NHLPA) player of the week for his role during the quarter finals.
In previewing the upcoming Western Conference semi-final between the Predators and Canucks, Radio Team 1040′s Jeff Paterson points out that in the last month, from March 24th, Tootoo (5 goals, 7 assists) has more points than last year’s Hart Trophy winner, and Canucks captain, Henrik Sedin (1 goal, 11 assists).
A year ago to the day, the Nashville Predators had the lead in a pivotal game 5 Western Conference Quarter Final against Chicago with under a minute to play. Nashville went on the power play, but then surrendered a shorthanded goal, tying the game. As all Predators fans remember so well, Nashville went on to lose the game and the series in game six at home.
- Legwand’s empty-net goal was insurance for Nashville, who defeated the Ducks 4-2
Sunday night, history was made, but not repeated when the Predators went into the final minute of game 6 against the Ducks with a one-goal lead, and on the power play.
Instead of giving up a goal, David Legwand scored in the empty net.
The first ever player to be drafted by the Nashville Predators added the insurance giving the Predators the two-goal lead with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
“It’s a huge thing for us to move on and get to continue playing. It means a bit. We get to play in round two. There are only going to be 8 teams playing, so that’s exciting for us to get a chance to do,” Legwand said when asked what it meant for him personally to be moving on to the next round.
The Nashville Predators put their six-game winning streak on the line tonight when they host Vancouver at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville’s recent success seems to fall on the number three, three goals for the Predators. Nashville’s 4-2 win against Dallas on Saturday was the 17th consecutive time Nashville won when scoring three or more goals. The Predator’s season record for scoring three or more goals in a game is 38-4-1.
While the numbers are pretty clear, Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz says contributions from all four lines have been key. “I give a lot of credit right through out lineup,” Trotz said, adding “Go back through the six games — every line has contributed over this stretch.”
Forward Jordin Tootoo agrees, “We got dynamic players in this dressing room that can change the pace of the game and can change things around. We count on each other to get the job done, night in and night out.”
Predators sign/call-up Mueller as Tootoo voluntarily enters substance abuse and behavioral health program
Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo checked himself into a substance abuse and behavioral health program, the NHL announced on Monday afternoon.
Here is the NHL’s announcement:
NEW YORK/TORONTO (December 27, 2010) — The National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League announced today that forward Jordin Tootoo of the Nashville Predators has voluntarily entered in-patient care as part of the Joint NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH).
Tootoo’s care will be administered by SABH Program Doctors Dave Lewis (NHL) and Brian Shaw (NHLPA). Tootoo will continue to receive his full salary and benefits and will have no penalty imposed, provided he complies with his prescribed treatment and follow-up care program.
There will be no further comment.
The Tennessean reports that Tootoo will receive his full salary and benefits. There is no timetable for his return.
In addition to Tootoo, the Predators are playing without forwards Martin Erat, Steve Sullivan, David Legwand, and Matthew Lombardi. There is speculation that Legwand is probable to return to the lineup on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars.
This year marks Jordin Tootoo’s 7th campaign in the National Hockey League. At the start of the season, Tootoo was on the Predators’ fourth line, used as an agitator, the spark of the energy line. Tootoo played 9:18 in the home opener against the Anaheim Ducks, 10:59 against Chicago on the road and then 8:32 against the Blues back home in Nashville.
During the fourth game of the season, Marcel Goc got injured against the Washington Capitals. Goc suffered a separated shoulder on a hit by Niklas Backstrom. With Goc out, the lines had to be reshuffled, especially with other injuries at the position of forward plaguing Nashville. Center Matthew Lombardi has been out since after the Chicago game and Martin Erat was just returning to action after missing a couple games with back spasms.
First it was Pekka Rinne who had to leave the third period of Nashville’s season opener. Marty Erat was next, out with back spasms and placed on injured reserve. Matthew Lombardi then suffered a concussion against Chicago last Wednesday. And during Saturday’s OT loss to the Washington Capitals, the Predators lost Marcel Goc to a nasty hit from behind by Niklas Backstrom. Goc is expected to miss the next 2-4 weeks.
These are not minor losses for the Predators. Rinne is Nashville’s starting goaltender. Erat and Lombardi are two thirds of the Predators’ top line. And Goc is a defensive forward with an offensive upswing with two goals in four games. While injuries can prove to be devastating for a team, they also provide an opportunity for other, less prominent players to step up their game or, in some cases, to just get in it.