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

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