Special teams played a huge role in tonight's Nashville Predators win at Vancouver, as the penalty kill shut out the Canucks for 10 minutes, while the power play delivered the winning goal in the third period. Nick Spaling played a role in both Nashville goals, and put in 4:54 of solid PK work, making a difference in all aspects of the game tonight.
Down 1-0 heading into the 3rd period, Craig Smith got Nashville on the board by firing home a feed from behind the net by Spaling. Later, Spaling worked the front of the net, tipping a point shot by Seth Jones to push the Predators ahead, after which they held on to close out the win. Carter Hutton made 33 saves to push his record to 11-7-2.
Next up, the 23-22-7 Predators move on to Calgary for a game tomorrow night.
First off, this rocks:
- The penalty killers moved swiftly into the post-Klein era by having to fend off six minutes of Vancouver power play in the first period, a test which they passed rather nicely (thanks in part to Dan Hamhuis .
- You can't fault Hutton much on the Higgens goal, it was a perfectly-executed tip from a sharp angle. Especially considering all the early PK work, Hutton had a strong night.
- Smith's goal was pretty slick, like many great snipers he eased his way out of the slot to find an open shooting position, and capitalized on Spaling's pass.
- Speaking of Spaling, he did fine work setting up Smith, as well as getting to the front of the net on the Jones shot to give Nashville the lead.
- I feel bad for Taylor Beck, who was scratched tonight after getting called up. Hopefully he'll play tomorrow.
- Michael Del Zotto seemed to fit in well in his Nashville debut, but all the penalty killing probably killed off the team's chances to roll the pairings as they would have liked.
Roll the video highlights...
- Nashville Predators @ Vancouver Canucks Preview: Preds make their first stop in swing through the Great White North
- Thursday's Dump & Chase: Welcome to Smashville, Michael Del Zotto!
- Kevin Klein's Greatest Hits: Saying goodbye to a longtime Nashville Predator
- Trade Analysis: Michael Del Zotto adds balance to Nashville Predators defense
- Nashville Predators recall Taylor Beck