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

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