By Jim Diamond
When all else fails, they tried the broken down Zamboni trick on them, and it worked.
After 60 minutes of regulation and another five minutes of the 4-on-4 overtime were not enough to decide Sunday night’s game between the Nashville Predators and the Washington Capitals, the game headed to a decisive shootout.
As per the NHL’s protocol, the Zamboni’s came out onto the ice to do a dry scrape of the middle of the Bridgestone Arena ice prior to the commencement of the tiebreaker.
There was just one problem. One of the Zambonis got stuck just inside the Nashville blue line, the end where the Capitals were to take their attempts on Carter Hutton, Nashville’s goaltender in the game.
The ice crew quickly got the stalled ice resurfacer started, but the malfunction left a large pile of snow in the breakdown spot. Crew members armed with shovels and large garbage pails took to the small mountain of ice that was close to being big enough to send patrons scrambling for their nearest Publix or Kroger looking for sufficient supplies of bread and milk in order to make it through the perceived emergency.
“That’s John Holmes and Scooter,” Predators head coach Barry Trotz said about members of the ice crew with a laugh after the game. “Delay, delay, delay, dump snow all over the place.”
The Predators have had almost no luck in shootouts this season, winning just one and losing the eight others they had participated in prior to Sunday night.
Whether or not the Zamboni stall was a planned tactic or not, it worked. All three Capitals shootout participants came up empty on their attempts. Evgeny Kuznetsov went first and missed wide with his shot. Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom both had their shots stopped by Hutton.
Craig Smith scored the lone goal in the shootout, conveniently enough at the end of the ice that did not have Zamboni problems.
And good news concerned Zamboni fans, both were working fine after the game as the crew cleaned the ice before leaving for the evening.