Thursday, October 29, 2015

Predators Stymie the Sharks to Start the Road Trip Right

The Nashville Predators begin their two week road trip with a stop in San Jose to face the Sharks in their first meeting of the season.

The Predators entered the contest with a 6-1-1 record while the Sharks checked in with a 5-3 record.

Pekka Rinne was in the net for the Predators, while the Sharks had  Martin Jones between the pipes.

A first period goal by Eric Nystrom off a nice assist from Roman Josi stood up for two periods as the Predators took a 1-0 lead going into the third period.

That lead evaporated just over a minute into the third period as Joe Pavelski fired a shot from the low slot that beat Rinne to tie the game at 1.

The Predators came right back on the attack and kept the pressure on the Sharks in all zones.

And it paid off.

Calle Jarnkrok gave the Predators a 2-1 lead off a 2 on 1 break with a snap shot over the glove of Jones. Gsbriel Bourque picked up the assist off a nice pass to Jarnkrok.

That goal stood up as the game winner as the Predators defeated the Sharks 2-1.

Some observations:

  • After missing the previous game against Pittsburgh due to illness, Calle Jarnkrok drew back into the line up. I liked the jump that Jarnkrok had in his game, but man, this third line has got to get going and start getting on the score sheet.
  • Well, speak of the third line getting going, Calle Jarnkrok finally gets on the board with a big goal in the third period to give the Predators a 2-1 lead. Hopefully this will open the door for Jarnkrok and his line mates to get it going.
  • Good to see Eric Nystrom finding the back of the net. He recorded his third goal of the season and the first goal of the game off a nice assist from Roman Josi. If  Nystrom and his line mates can contribute consistently for the Predators it makes them a much more dangerous team.
  • The Predators have scored the first goal in 8 of their 9 games this season.
  • The strong starts offensively have been good for the Predators, but their defensive effort in the first 20 minutes of games so far this season has been superb. Once again, they held an opponent off the scoreboard. Here's a blinding flash of the obvious: it is much easier to play with the lead than it is to play from behind. This Predators team is built for speed and is explosive, and making other teams have to work against that speed is tiring and is good for the way this team is constructed.
  • No second period nap for the Predators as they out shot the Sharks 9-4.
  • I really liked the push back from the Predators after the Pavelski goal. They had several good, attacking shifts and kept the pressure on the Sharks in the defensive zone. In times past, the Predators would often wilt under the push from their opponent. Not tonight. This was a full 60 minutes of attacking, up tempo hockey that the Sharks had a difficult time playing aginst.
  • Bourque and Jarnkrok really stood out to me in this game. They have lots of speed and played with good jump all game long and created some chances in the offensive zone.
  • Pekka Rinne faced 21 shots and made some good saves. He had no chance on the goal by Pavelski as the Sharks forward was lost by the Predators defense in prime scoring territory. Rinne is moving well and just looks poised in the net. More importantly, the team looks confident with him between the pipes.
  • The Predators were awful in the face off dot, winning just 16 of 53 draws. This has to get better as the season goes along.
  • The Predators PK was superb, killing all 4 of the Sharks power plays.
  • The Predators out shot the Sharks 24-21. 
A good start to the road trip by the Predators, winning in a barn that has historically been a house of horrors for the Predators. The response by the Predators was excellent and it is the kind of play tonight that they will need for the remainder of this roadie.

My three stars:

1. Calle Jarnkrok

2. Pekka Rinne

3. Eric Nystrom

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Predators Fall to the Penguins In OT 2-1

The Nashville Predators faced the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bridgestone Arena before heading out on a two week road trip. The Predators had not lost at home this season.

That changed as the Penguins claimed a 2-1 OT win. Phil Kessel notched the game winner just 41 seconds into the extra period as he got the rebound of his own shot and knocked it past Pekka Riine for the game winner.

The winning goal was not without controversy as Evgeni Malkin hooked down Filip Forsberg  at center ice to set up the 2 on 1 that lead to Kessel's game winning shot.

The teams got to overtime on a Chris Kunitz second period goal to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.

James Neal knotted the score at 1 with his 6th goal of the season to tie the game at 11:27 of the third period.

Both Pekka Rinne and Marc-Andre Fluery were solid in net for their teams. Fluery was the busier of the two goalies, turning aside 38 of 39 shots for the win. Rinne made 23 saves on 25 shots.

Some observations:

  • Trailing 1-0 going into the third period, the Predators turned up the intensity to force overtime. The Predators out shot the Penguins 17-5 in the final frame.
  • James Neal continues his torrid pace of play, tallying his 6th goal of the season and recording points in six straight games (6G-3A). How sweet it must have been to record that game tying goal against his former team. Neal is playing with serious jump and playing at the level that most expected and wanted when he was acquired two years ago.
  • The Predators still have not allowed a first period goal this season.
  • Mike Ribeiro picked up an assist and now has a 4 game point streak (1G-4A).
  • The third line of Cody Hodgson, Gabriel Bourque, and Viktor Arvidsson did not record a point. Arvidsson was recalled from Milwaukee and Calle Jarnkrok was scratched tonight due to illness. That line has one point on the season (a goal by Arvidsson in the first game of the season) and the Predators need that line to get going. The third line has generated a few chances but has not consistently pressured the net and in a long season, this line is going to have to get going and make some offensive contributions.
  • Barret Jackman had  a strong game. He picked up an assist, was a +1, and was a force in the defensive zone. Jackman has been a good add for the Predators and has logged some quality minutes. He had 18:51 in ice time and was strong in the defensive zone.
  • This was the first time this season that the Predators have surrendered the first goal of the game.
  • Roman Josi led the Predators in TOI with 22:46.
  • The Predators have now lost 4 straight games against the Penguins on home ice. Last season, the teams split their two games, with the Penguins winning in Nashville and the Predators winning in Pittsburgh.
  • The Predators PK was perfect tonight, including killing off a 5 minute boarding major against Austin Watson in the first period. On the major, the Predators allowed the Penguins just 2 shots on goal.
The Predators played an even game against the talented Penguins, but could not finish their chances and suffered the first loss on home ice. They did pick up a point and remain atop the Central Division.

They now go on a two week road trip while Bridgestone Arena is committed to the CMA festivities. It's time to regain the mojo that they have gained in the first two weeks of the season and continue to build on their solid play.

My three stars:

1. Marc-Andre Fluery

2. Phil Kessel

3. James Neal

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Predators Dominate the Ducks 5-1

The Nashville Predators continued their torrid start to the season, running their record to 6-1 with a 5-1 pounding of the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena.

After a scoreless first period that had the feel of two heavyweights getting a feel for each other, the Predators exploded for 3 second period goals to take a 3-0 lead going into the final frame.

Eric Nystrom was the beneficiary of strong play by Austin Watson to notch the first goal of the game. Nystrom took a pass from Watson and drove to the front of the net and beat Anton Khudobin to get the Predators on the board.

Ryan Ellis blasted a puck past Khudobin off a pass from Mike Ribeiro to make it 2-0. Ellis was able to fit the puck into a small opening as Khudobin was moving across his crease.

Mike Ribeiro made it 3-0 just after a Ducks power play had ended as Ribeiro's pass was blocked right back to him and he snuck the shot between the pad of Khudobin and the post.

The Predators didn't take their foot off the gas in the third period. ryan Ellis broke into the zone and slid a pass to Mattias Ekholm, who absolutely blew a shot past Khudobin to make it 4-0.

The Ducks scored on the power play as Jiri Sekac was left alone cruising down the slot and he beat Pekka Rinne to make it 4-1.

After the Ducks resorted to form and ran Rinne and go to the penalty kill, Colin Wilson roofed a laser under the crossbar to make it 5-1 and snuff out any possibility of the Ducks making a late ru n.

Some observations:

  • Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Mike Ribeiro, and Colin Wilson all tallied their first goal of the season. these guys, especially Wilson and Ribeiro, need to start finding the back of the net and hopefully this will be the start of a scoring run for them.
  • James Neal picked up an assist tonight. With that point, neal tied his longest point streak as a Predator (4 games). Neal has 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games.
  • The three point night by Ellis (1G-2A) was the second three point game of his career. The last came October 21, 2014 against Arizona.
  • Mike Ribeiro had a 3 point night with a goal and 2 assists. Ribeiro has dropped down to center the second line, while Mike Fisher has moved up to center the top line of Neal and Filip Forsberg. This move by the coaching staff has paid dividends for the Predators as both lines have really been going.
  • The Predators have scored the first goal of the game in all 7 contests this year.
  • The Predators have scored at least 3 goals in 5 straight games.
  • The Predators have not allowed a first period goal this season.
  • It was good to see the Predators play a full 60 minutes tonight. While the Ducks have struggled early this season, there is no doubt they are talented and can be explosive. The Predators kept the Ducks off balance throughout the game, and more importantly, kept up the pressure in the offensive zone and attacked the net. This is how this team has to play, especially as they get into their contests in the division.
  • Shea Weber led the Predators in TOI with 22:58. This is about 6 minutes less than his usual amount of ice time, and is a tribute to Barret Jackman and Seth Jones, who are eating up some ice time.
  • Austin Watson's assist on Nystrom's goal was his first assist of his career.
  • Mike Fisher is one point from tying Marek Zidlicky for 15th on the Predators all time point s list. Fisher has 174 points.
  • Pekka Rinne made 27 saves on the night, and shut the door on the Ducks any time they tried to mount a concerted attack. The lone goal by the Ducks was a defensive breakdown on the penalty kill as the Predators left Sekac alone in the slot, leaving Rinne with no chance to stop the shot.
  • The power play goal by Sekac was the Ducks first power play goal of the season.
The Predators showed that when they play a complete game, they are awfully hard to beat. It was good to see contributions from several players that needed to get going, ad if they can do that consistently, the Predators are going to challenge in the West.

My three stars:

1. Ryan Ellis

2. Mike Ribeiro

3. Pekka Rinne

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Predators Defeat the Senators 4-3 In A Shoot Out

The Nashville Predators wrapped up a three game road trip with a stop in Canada's capital to take on the Ottawa Senators.

Pekka Rinne got his first night off of the season and Carter Hutton was between the pipes for the Predators, while the Senators had Craig Anderson in net.

James Neal staked the Predators to a 1-0 first period lead on the power play as he took the puck from behind the net and beat Anderson to the far post.

That lead lasted all of 15 seconds of the second period as Mark Stone skated alone in the slot and beat Hutton with a backhand to tie the game at 1. A defensive breakdown left Stone by his lonesome in front of the net and he beat Hutton with a well placed shot.

Mike Hoffman made it 2-1 by beating Hutton with an unscreened shot from just inside the blue. This is a goal that Hutton cannot give up, one  that he has shown an annoying tendency to give up too frequently.

The Predators showed some life as Craig Smith tied the game at 2 with a snap shot from the slot that beat Anderson over the blocker.

James Neal broke the tie at 11:36 of the third period scoring again on the power play.

Mike Hoffman tied the game at 16:28 of the third period with a long shot from just inside of the blue line (again).

And so for the first time this season, the Predators would participate in 3 on 3 overtime.

After a scoreless overtime, the teams headed to a shootout.

In the shoot out, Bobby Ryan scored for the Senators, while Filip Forsberg and James Neal scored to seal the win for the Predators.

Some observations:

  • James Neal scored his second goal in as many games. Neal is a streaky scorer, and it would be good to see Neal get a hot streak going. Neal would add another power play goal midway of the third period.
  • Once again, the Predators had a second period nap. The Predators went almost 10 minutes with just one shot on net. This is something that plagued the Predators last season and appears to have carried over to this season as well. We have seen this type of play in every game this season except the Islanders game. It is inexplicable and more often than not, the good teams are going to make the Predators pay for their lapses.
  • Carter Hutton is consistent. Consistent in getting beaten by a long shot that is unscreened. Ugh.
  • Ryan Ellis took a shot off the inside of his knee halfway through the third period and did not return to the game.
  •  I gotta tell you, Hutton is frustrating. He battles and makes some very good saves but he also allows goals that never should occur, notably long shots from the blue line that are unscreened. 
  • Roman Josi is quietly proficient on the ice. He is so smooth with the puck but an underrated aspect of his game is his defensive presence. Josi logs big minutes with his partner, Shea Weber, against the best forwards of the opposition and is rarely caught out of position. Josi is deceptively strong and does a good job of winning puck and positional battles. Josi picked up 2 assists in the game.
  • The second period lapse really showed up in the shot totals, as the Sens out shot the Predators 41-25.
  • The Predators blocked 21 shots.
  • Josi led all Predators with 29:05 TOI.
  • It is good to see the Predators power play becoming more productive this season. The Predators were 2 for 6 with the man advantage, both goals coming from Neal.
  • The Predators penalty kill has been strong this season, and they were again tonight, killing both of the Sens power plays.
This was a big win for the Predators. Not their best game, but they kept battling and fought back to secure the win in the shoot out.

Sometimes (most of the time for this team) you have to win ugly.

But win nevertheless.

My three stars:

1. James Neal

2. Mike Hoffman

3. Roman Josi

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Predators Blow 2 Goal Lead, Fall to the Islanders 4-3

The Nashville Predators made their first visit to the Barclays Center to take on the New York Islanders in the second game of a three game road trip.

The Predators would face the most talented team that they have encountered in this young season, and jumped out to a two goal lead before falling 4-3.

Austin Watson picked up his first goal of the season in the first period as he threw the puck into the crease from a bad angle and Marek Zidlicky knocked the puck into the net while trying to clear it.

Filip Forsberg banged a puck past Thomas Greiss from the blue paint off a nice drive to the net by James Neal early in the second period to give the Predators a 2-0 lead.

Anders Lee cut the deficit to 2-1 as he beat Pekka Rinne between the pads on a wrap around attempt. Lee's goal came just 41 seconds after the Predators had scored their second goal.

Kyle Okposo tied the game at 2 with a wrist shot on a breakaway that beat Rinne over his shoulder.

The Isles rally in the second period made this a 20 minute game. The team that wanted it more would get the win.

Nikolay Kulemin gave the Isles a 3-2 lead as he took a puck that came hot off the end boards and was able to sneak it under Rinne before he could get into position.

John Tavares scored just after the Predators had killed off a penalty to make it 4-2.

Filip Forsberg launched a shot from the blue line that was tipped over the shoulder of Greiss by James Neal to cut the deficit to 4-3. The Islanders challenged the call, saying that Greiss was interfered with but the call stood.

Despite great pressure from the Predators in the final minutes with Rinne pulled and out shooting the Islanders 47-28, the Predators dropped the game 4-3

Some observations:

  • The Islanders have implemented a policy that prohibits fans (both home and visiting fans) from watching the pre-skate on the glass unless you have a ticket for lower bowl seats. Obviously, there are some growing pains with the Islanders move to their new home as this has irked many long time Isles fans, who were able to watch the warm up from the lower bowl glass regardless of where they were sitting.
  • More line changes as Mike Fisher centered Filip Forsberg and James Neal. Mike Ribeiro dropped down to the second line and centered Colin Wilson and Craig Smith.
  • Good to see Austin Watson get his first goal of the season. Watson has paid his dues and is getting time on the 4th line with Paul Gaustad and Eric Nystrom. Watson is a big body that has the tools but has seemed slow to adjust to the speed of the NHL. Hopefully some consistent playing time will get him settled into a productive role for the team.
  • Great jump and energy by the Predators in the first period as they out shot the Islanders 17-7. The real challenge for the Predators would be to play the final 40 minutes the same way they played the first 20 minutes.
  • You can't say the Predators let down in the second period. They matched their first period total of 17 shots in the second frame and created some good chances in front of Greiss. Forsberg's goal from the tough area in front of the net was his second of the season and his third point in as many games.
  • Although the Predators kept pressuring the Isles net, the Islanders had the better scoring chances and it showed, as the Predators blew a 2 goal lead and gave up 4 straight goals. The Islanders amped up their effort and the pressure in the offensive zone and the Predators didn't match the intensity of the home team.
  • Rinne didn't play a bad game, but he wasn't excellent either. And this Predators team has shown early in the season that they need Rinne to be excellent to win games.
  • The coaches challenge of the Neal goal by Islanders Coach Jack Capuano was the first challenge that the Predators have faced this season.
  • I liked the play of James Neal tonight. He went hard to the net and battled in front all night. That is the kind of play that the Predators need consistently from Neal. He had a goal and an assist tonight in a superb effort.
  • How about the hustle from Filip Forsberg to prevent the empty net goal? That is a heart and character play. 
  • The Islanders have defeated the Predators 4 straight games.
The Predators didn't play a bad game. In fact, this was probably the first complete game that the Predators played all season. Yet when the Islanders turned up the pressure in the second and early in the third, the Predators didn't match the effort of the talented opponent form the East.

No doubt the Islanders are a very talented team, but the Predators can't blow two goal leads. They must develop the killer instinct and lock teams down.

A learning experience.

Not fun, but a learning experience nevertheless.

My three stars:

1.John Tavares

2. James Neal

3.Anders Lee

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Josi Scores Twice to Lead the Predators Over the Devils

The Nashville Predators embarked upon their first road trip of the season, traveling to New Jersey to take on the Devils at the Prudential Center.

Special teams were the difference for the Predators as Roman Josi scored on the power play and shorthanded on the penalty kill (a 6 on 4 empty netter).

Kyle Palmieri redirected an Andy Greene slap shot on the power play for the Devils lone goal at 18:20 of the third period to make it 2-1

Eric Nystrom added an empty net goal on the penalty kill for the Predators final goal at 19:08

Pekka Rinne picked up his third win of the season, having allowed only 2 goals in 3 games.

The Devils were without Cory Schneider in net, as his wife gave birth early this morning.

Keith Kincaid was in net for the Devils.

Some observations:

  • The great effort in the previous game by Gabriel Bourque earned him a promotion to the third line; Austin Watson got his first start of the season on the 4th line with Eric Nystrom and Paul Gaustad. The Aardvark- Viktor Arvidsson was the odd man out and scratched for tonight's game. While he didn't find the scoresheet, Bourque continues to play with hustle and drives the play when he is on the ice.
  • The Predators power play has shown some signs of life through the first three games of the season. Better puck and player movement have generated more quality scoring chances. Roman Josi's power play goal was a direct result of good puck movement and working to a quiet area for a quality shot.
  • Once again, the Predators had a flat stretch that saw them go 9:54 of the second period before they got their first shot on net. I understand it is early in the season and the team is still trying to gel and get chemistry right, but good teams are going to make the Predators pay for these kinds of droughts. The Predators mustered only 4 shots in the second period.
  • Give kudos to the defense, though. While the Predators struggled to get 4 shots on goal in the second, the Devils had only 6.
  • Coach Peter Laviolette put the lines in a blender tonight, and it showed. The Predators have some very good offensive talent but the chemistry is just not there with all the line juggling.
  • The Predators started 3-0 for only the second time in franchise history.
  • The Devils out shot the Predators 23-20.
  • Eric Nystrom is not going to be a prolific scorer for the Predators, but what he brings to the team is invaluable. he is a strong leader on and off the ice, and his grit and hustle are needed in the line up.
  • While he did not get a lot of work, Pekka Rinne had to make some good saves. He has been solid in net and the team has reverted back to the mode of falling back on the strong play of Rinne while nursing a 1 goal lead. I'm certain that Rinne would like to see more goal support, but fortunately he thrives under the workload and pressure.
  • Filip Forsberg picked up an assist, his second point in the last 2 games.
  • The Predators faced former teammate Jordin Tootoo, now a forward for the Devils. Good to see Tootoo find a home and settle in to the Devils line up. He played some quality minutes for the Devils and was very involved in the offensive zone. Tootoo, and his game, have matured in New Jersey.
Another ugly win, but you know what?

Wins are not graded on style points.

It will get tougher for the Predators on Thursday night as they face the explosive and talented New York Islanders in their new home at the Barclays Center.

It will be interesting to see if the Predators can elevate their game.

My three stars:

1. Roman Josi

2. Pekka Rinne

3. Eric Nystrom

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rinne, Predators Shut Out the Oilers

The Nashville Predators faced the Edmonton McDavids Oilers at the Bridgestone Arena and came away with a 2-0 victory in front of a sellout crowd. The Predators used goals by Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg and a stellar game by goaltender Pekka Rinne to secure the win.

Craig Smith opened the scoring on a 2 on 1 rush with Colin Wilson. Wilson was able to steal the puck and fed a nice saucer pass to Smith who roofed the puck over a sprawling Cam Talbot at 18:32 of the second period.

Forsberg was the beneficiary of a steal by Mike Ribeiro at the side of the Oilers net. Ribeiro found Forsberg streaking down the slot and he fired the puck under the crossbar for his first goal of the season and breathing room for the Predators.

The Oilers had what appeared to be the tying goal waved off. Ryan Nugent Hopkins got the puck past Rinne but after a lengthy review it was judged to have been kicked into the goal.

Some observations:

  • Rinne was outstanding tonight, making 31 saves and cleaning up some turnovers by the Predators defense and stopping some very good scoring chances by the Oilers. Rinne recorded his 37th career shutout (a Predators record) and tied Tomas Vokoun for most games played by a Predators netminder (383 games). 
  • Once again, the Predators faced an opponent that controlled the puck for lengthy stretches in the the defensive zone. Rinne made some good saves, but it is troubling to see the Predators get hemmed in their own zone so often. Give the Oilkers credit- they have some talented forwards and they put lots of pressure on the the defense and forced some turnovers that led to lots of possession time. The Predators had 9 giveaways, mostly in the defensive zone.
  • Colin Wilson had a very strong game. he drove possession, had some good scoring chances, and was instrumental in Smith getting the first goal of the game. Wilson drew the defense to him on the breakaway and got a nice pass to Smith in a shooting position. Wilson has been skating well and is creative with the puck on his stick and was the best skater on the ice for the Predators.
  • Craig Smith scored a beauty of a goal, putting the shot off the pass from Wilson just under the crossbar. Smith has two goals in the first two games of the season and has been a force on the ice. Good to see the Honey Badger get off to a strong start.
  • Great vision by Ribeiro on the pass to Forsberg and a superb finish by Filip. That is a goal scorer's goal and Forsberg made no mistake with his scoring chance.
  • Cam Talbot played an excellent game in net for the Oilers. If Talbot had some quality blue liners in front of him, his job would be a lot easier. Talbot kept the Oilers in the game and gave them a chance to win.
  • 17 years ago tonight was the first game in Predators history against the Florida Panthers.
  • Cody Hodgson was 78% in the faceoff circle. Mike Ribeiro was a miserable 21%.
  • The Predators out hit the Oilers 27-13.
  • Shea Weber led the team in TOI with 22:57.
  • The Oilers have scored 1 goal in their first two games of the season.
It's good to start the season 2-0. It's also apparent that this team is still a work in progress and has much to improve upon. Nevertheless, I would rather be 2-0 while working on those deficiencies than 0-2.

The Predators now go on the road for a three game swing in the Eastern Conference.

Time to keep working and build on the momentum of these first two games.

My three stars:

1. Pekka Rinne

2. Craig Smith

3. Filip Forsberg

Honorable mention: Colin Wilson

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Predators Use High Energy First Period to Defeat the Hurricanes

The Nashville Predators opened their season with a dominant first period highlighted by goals from Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in front of a sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena.

Eric Staal scored the Canes lone goal at 18:20 of the third period when his shot toward the net caromed off the skate of Shea Weber and into the net.

Pekka Rinne was solid and made some good saves, stopping 25 of 26 shots. Cam Ward took the loss for the Hurricanes as he stopped 23 of 25 shots.

The Predators out skated and out worked the Hurricanes in the first period, dominating offensive zone time and shots, out shooting the visitors 14-5.

With the Predators on the power play, Craig Smith took a slap pass from Ryan Ellis and redirected the puck between the pads of Ward for a 1-0 lead.

Viktor Arvidsson went to the front of the net and deflected a shot from Seth Jones for his first NHL goal and a 2-0 Predators lead.

The Predators got some push back from the Canes in the second and third period as Carolina started to control the puck and pinned the Predators in the defensive zone for long stretches at a time. Rinne made some good saves to keep Carolina off the board until the deflected Stall shot late in the third period.

Some observations:

  • Viktor Arvidsson went to the hard area in front of the net to get the deflection and his first goal. I really liked the way Arvidsson played, and although a smaller player, did not shy away from contact, was strong on the wall, and showed a willingness to go to the front of the net. And how about that celebration after his goal? I loved the enthusiasm and exuberance.
  • Craig Smith played with his usual hustle and energy. He just looks more mature and confident on the ice. He scored the first goal tonight, and for you trivia fans, also scored the first goal of the season last year.
  • Seth Jones had a strong game, picking up 2 assists. Last season, Jones did not have a multi assist game all year. Jones made some good decisions with the puck and was positionally sound in the defensive zone.
  • What Barret Jackman brings to this team can be summarized in one play. A shot went to the net and Rinne was trying to cover the puck. Eric Staal was poking around for the puck when Jackman cleaned him out of the front of the net and pinned him to the ice. He was paired with Seth Jones and Jones seemed very comfortable with Jackman as his D partner. Jackman is not flashy, but he is solid and tough and takes care of the defensive end very well. He was a good pick up by David Poile in the off season.
  • Pekka Rinne is looking like his usual solid self. Good glove, great positioning, and amazing reflexes. He did a good job of thwarting the Canes when they were pressing in the last 40 minutes, and this team is going to need that kind of play from him this season.
  • I have to say that the eye test shows this team has lots of talent and speed. The eye test also reveals that this team cannot let off the gas, because good teams will make the Predators pay for not playing for a full 60 minutes. The Hurricanes out shot the Predators 21-11 over the final 40 minutes, a trend that cannot continue throughout the season.
  • The Predators are 4-1-1 in their last 6 home openers.
  • Shea Weber led the Predators in TOI with 23:07, showing no ill effects after off season surgery
  • Roman Josi led the team with 5 blocked shots.
The Predators showed flashes of how good they can be in this opener. There is lots of talent on this team. Now they need to put it together for 60 minutes.

My three stars:

1. Viktor Arvidsson

2. Pekka Rinne

3. Seth Jones