Saturday, January 16, 2016

Predators Get Back In the Win Column, Defeat the Wild 3-0

to say the Nashville Predators needed a win is a gross understatement. Playing against the Minnesota Wild, who commit to the horribly boring trap game, meant that the Predators were going to have to play with energy and get to the net.

They did just that as they shut out the Wild 3-0 at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators scored on their first shot of the game as Eric Nystrom re-directed a point shot from Shea Weber past Devan Dubnyk to give the good guys a 1-0 lead.

Carter Hutton got the start in net and he had to be sharp as the Wild at one point in the first period out shot the Predators 9-1. The Predators rallied back, getting out shot 12-11 at the end of the first period and leading 1-0 going into the intermission.

After a scoreless second period, the Predators did a good job of getting traffic to the net and it paid off on the power play as Roman Josi cashed in on a rebound of a Ryan Johansen shot to give the Predators a 2-0 lead.

Filip Forsberg iced the game with an empty net goal to give the Predators their final margin of 3-0.

Some observations:

  • Carter Hutton was outstanding tonight. He made some very good saves and was positionally sound all night. Hutton is often scrambling around in the crease, and although he had a few frenetic moments, was solid in his positioning and appeared to be calm and in control of the play around his crease. Big ups to Hutton for his play tonight. Hutton recorded his third career shut out.
  • The much maligned penalty kill of the Predators was very good tonight. They killed off all 3 man advantage chances by the Wild and gave them very few good looks. This is the kind of effort the Predators needed and they definitely need to build on their play tonight.
  • I questioned Eric Nystrom moving to the third line, but two goals in two nights shows that he can contribute and be effective. Nystrom is not shy about going to the net and his efforts have been rewarded. His re-direct of Shea Weber's shot was perfectly placed to the far post where Dubnyk had no chance.
  • This was the last game of the regular season with the Wild. The Predators captured the season series by a 3-1 margin.
  • Anthony Bitetto got the start again on the third pairing with Barrett Jackman and played a solid game. Bitetto is looking more comfortable and brings a solid physical presence on the ice.
  • The Predators power play got back on track, going 1 for 2 tonight. The addition of Ryan Johansen has been a big plus to this unit. He is dangerous with his passes and his shot, and Roman Josi was the beneficiary of Johansen's ability to find the shooting lanes. Having an elite center has been a plus for this unit and for the team. Johansen has 7 points in 4 games with the team. Johansen also recorded his 200th career point.
  • Calle Jarnkrok was very good in the face off circle. He led the the team, winning 6 of 9 faceoffs, good for 67%.
  • I like the hustle and effort of Craig Smith. Now if he could just bury some shots.
  • Paul Gaustad played in his 700th NHL game tonight.
No doubt this was a much needed win for the Predators, and it was a solid team effort. After a slow start, the Predators got their feet moving and played a complete game.

Now the Preds need to build on this win and start stringing together some victories.

My three stars:

1. Carter Hutton

2. Roman Josi

3. Eric Nystrom

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