Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rinne Pitches A Shutout, Predators Defeat the Bruins 2-0

The Nashville Predators made first period goals by Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg all the scoring they would need as they defeated the Boston Bruins 2-0 at Bridgestone Arena.

Pekka Rinne was outstanding, making 29 saves to record the shutout.

Smith was able to bang home a rebound of a Forsberg shot to give the Predators a 1-0 lead. Smith was parked at the side of the crease and roofed the shot under the crossbar past Tuukka Rask.

Forsberg gathered in a rebound of a Mattias Ekholm shot from the slot and slid the puck under the pads of Rask for his 20th goal of the season and a 2-0 lead.

That would be all the offense the Predators would need as Rinne locked down the net for the Predators and made some excellent saves, including stopping Brad Marchand on a Bruins 2 on 1 break in the second period.

Mike Ribeiro also picked up 2 assists for the Predators.

Some observations:

  • The Bruins are a very physical team, but the Predators matched the physicality of the visitors. The Predators did a good job of winning puck battles, clearing the slot, and winning control of the puck on the boards. In particular, the Predators defense did a very good job of not allowing many scoring chances from dangerous areas on the ice. This is the way the Predators have to play in front of Rinne or Hutton, and tonight they did a good job of taking the body and clearing the front.
  • Rinne was very good tonight. He moved well and was in control of the crease all night. he did an exceptional job of tracking the puck through traffic and looked like the Pekka of old in making some key saves. His play seemed to infuse the team in front of him with confidence, and this is the kind of game Rinne can build upon. 
  • Tonight was Rinne's 39th career shutout.
  • I continue to like the play of Craig Smith. His energy and hustle are starting to pay off in scoring chances and goals. Smith has been driving the net and he has been rewarded for that play. Smith has now recorded back to back games with a goal. The last time he did this was December 10 and 12th.
  • Filip Forsberg has elevated his level of play recently. He now has goals in 6 consecutive games and his offensive dynamism is creating scoring opportunities. More importantly, he is now finishing those chances.
  • Roman Josi and Shea Weber chewed up some minutes tonight. Josi recorded 29:43 TOI and Weber had 28:42. And these are tough minutes against the top line of the opposition and on the penalty kill. these two guys really stood out for their play on the blue line.
  • By contrast, Mattias Ekholm logged 20:55; Ryan Ellis had 21:05: Barret Jackman had 10:32; and Anthony Bitetto had 9:29.
  • Matty Ek picked up an assist but also recorded 2 penalties.
  • The Predators PK was superb, killing off all 4 Bruins power play opportunities
  • The Predators power play was awful, going 0-2 and never threatening Rask. This unit has to improve and get back on track for this team to have success.
  • The Predators are 18-1-2 when leading after 2 periods. They are 22-3-3 when holding an opponent to 2 goals or less.
 This was a complete and solid game by the Predators from the net out. Outstanding goal tending; solid D, and an opportunistic offense combined to put two points on the score sheet.

Now they need to continue this level of play and build positive momentum.

Play like they did tonight, and they will.

My three stars:

1. Pekka Rinne

2. Craig Smith

3. Filip Forsberg

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