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

No comments:

Post a Comment