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.
- 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.
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