Saturday, February 6, 2016

Predators Swamp the Sharks 6-2

The first 10 minutes of the first period of the Nashville Predators game against the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena was all Sharks and saw the Predators register just 2 shots on goal. Pekka Rinne was outstanding, keeping the Sharks off the board with some great saves, but the Predators offense needed to get going.

It finally did on their third shot of the period.

Ryan Johansen sent a spinning backhand pass from behind the net to James Neal in the slot, and Neal unleashed that wickedly quick wrister to beat Martin Jones five hole to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.

That goal opened the door for the Predators as they cruised to a 6-2 victory.

Viktor Arvidsson scored twice. Calle Jarnkrok scored from the slot with a shot that just overpowered Martin Jones, glancing off his glove and into the net. Filip Forsberg added a shorthanded goal and Shea Weber finished the scoring for the Predators with an empty netter.

The Sharks got power play goals from Joe Thornton and Logan Couture for their goals.

Some observations:

  • Pekka Rinne was outstanding tonight. The first 12 minutes of the first period saw the Predators get out skated and trapped in their zone. Rinne made some great saves to keep the Sharks off the board and from seizing momentum. The Predators were outshot 9-1 in the first 10 minutes and had some quality scoring chances, but Rinne made some athletic saves and his work in net seemed to settle down the Predators as they started to geneerate some offense. If Rinne had not been sharp the Predators would have been blown out of the barn. The two power play goals he gave up were just on great plays by the Sharks and there was really nothing more he could do after making some good saves. Credit this win to the effort of Rinne.
  • Calle Jarnkrok drew first line action on a wing with Johansen and Neal, and he had a a strong game. Head Coach Peter Laviolette  has been searching for a winger that can slot in on that first line and Jarnkrok has made a strong case to be that player. His shot from the slot was gloved by Jones but was so strong it bounced out and trickled over the goal line. Hopefully Jarnkrok is that player that can solidify the first line wing spot that has been in flux. He made a solid case for that tonight.
  • Viktor Arvidsson spent a lot of time getting knocked on his ass tonight. I commented to a friend at the game that the Aardvark has to get stronger to play consistently at this level. But wow, when he gets some open ice he can be very dangerous. He showed that as the game went on, first with a beautiful top shelf goal and then with a move that turned Jones inside out. The aardvark has shown some signs of explosiveness and he needs some space to be a difference maker. His hustle and effort are exemplary, and it was good to see him find the back of the net. This was Arvidsson's first multi point game of his career.
  • Filip Forsberg recorded 2 assists and a shorthanded goal for his 102 points for his career. Forsberg plays a lot of quality minutes as well as time on the PK and has shown that he is going to be an elite player in this League. Forsberg recorded his second 3 point game of the season. Of the 2012 draft class, Forsberg, Nail Yakupov, and Alex Galchenyuk have recorded 100 points.
  • Mike Ribeiro played in his 1000th NHL game tonight. Ribeiro celebrated by picking up 2 assists.
  • The Predators are 9-2-2 against the Pacific Division this season.
  • Ryan Johansen's 2 assists gives him 13 points in 13 games with the Predators.
  • Weber's empty net goal was his 14th goal of the season.
This was a quality win against a very good Sharks team. The Sharks have 17 road wins this season and lead the NHL in road victories, so the Predators captured a much need and quality win against a very competitive opponent.

The Predators started very slowly, and this is the kind of start that the Predators cannot have.  Fortunately, Rinne kept them in the game until the team got its skating legs going.

The Predators have shown they can compete against some of the best teams in the League.

Now they need to do it consistently.

My three stars:

1. Viktor Arvidsson

2. Filip Forsberg

3. Ryan Johansen

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