Saturday, February 27, 2016

Predators Blast the Blues 5-0 Behind Forsberg's Hat Trick

The Nashville Predators returned to Bridgestone Arena looking to continue the momentum they had built on the road as they faced off against the St. Louis Blues in their last meeting of the regular season.

They accomplished that task.

The Predators blasted the blues 5-0 as Pekka Rinne picked up his 4th shutout of the season and Filip Forsberg notched his second natural hat trick in three games.

Craig Smith opened the scoring for the Predators as he gathered in the rebound of a Forsberg shot and poked the rebound past Jake Allen for a 1-0 lead. that was the only goal of the first period, although the Predators were swarming the net and had several great scoring chances.

Forsberg would tally his first goal of the game just 54 seconds into the second period as he would pot a rebound of a Petter Granberg shot to make it 2-0.

Forsberg would make it 3-0 with a wicked shot to the far post off an assist from Craig Smith.

The hat trick goal would come from Forsberg on the power play to make it 4-0 to close out the seocnd period.

That goal would chase Allen and Pheonix Copley would man the pipes for the Blues in the third period.

Colin Wilson would tally the only goal of the third period for the final 5-0 margin for the Predators.

Some observations:

  • Forsberg has been on fire recently, and his second natural hat trick in 3 games gives him 26 goals for the season. Forsberg has been good at finding quiet space on the ice and using his wicked wrist shot to find the back of the net. His second goal was a perfectly placed shot to the far post past Allen and is indicative of his scoring touch. Forsberg is physically strong and will battle in the tough areas of the ice, but his ability to find open space is underrated. Getting to those open areas allows him to use his accurate shot to his advantage and he is definitely a finisher, something the Predators need.
  • Forsberg's second hat trick in a week is the first time in Predators history that a player has recorded two hat tricks in a season.Forsberg is tied for the NHL lead in goals in February with 12. It was also Forsberg's first career 4 point game.
  • My goodness, Rinne was solid again in net. He shut down the potent Blues attack, and as the game wore on, you could see the Blues slump, knowing they weren't going to get a puck past the big Finn. Rinne is playing with confidence and his play breeds confidence in the team in front of him. When Rinne is playing the way he has in his last 5 starts, the Predators are deadly confident and it shows in their play. It bodes well for the Predators that Rinne has found his mojo going into the stretch run.
  • Rinne's shutout was the 40th of his career and the 100th in Predators history. 
  • Welcome to the party, Colin Wilson. It has been a long time since the big forward has found the back of the net, and it was good to see him get a goal. He has been playing well on a line with Mike Fisher and Viktor Arvidsson, and was rewarded for his efforts with a nice goal.
  • The Predators have obviously made a commitment to driving the net and that has been essential to their recent success. They have capitalized on rebounds and the traffic they have brought to the net has created havoc for the opponent's defense and netminder. 
  • Shea Weber missed his third consecutive game with a lower body injury.
  • This was the Predators first win of the season over the Blues. They finished 1-3-1 against their Central Division rival.
  • The Predators needed to find some consistency. They have done just that, going 5-0-3 in the month of February.
This was a complete game against a quality opponent and one that should give the Predators some additional confidence going into the stretch run.

Continue to build on it, boys.

Good things await if you keep playing like this.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsberg

2. Pekka Rinne

3. Craig Smith

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