The loss to the Calgary Flames didn't sit very well with the Nashville Predators. As they opened their first road trip in the unfriendly confines of Manitoba, the Preds wanted to erase that feeling and get back to their winning ways.
Thanks to a 31-save shutout by Pekka Rinne, Nashville did just that. They dispatched the Winnipeg Jets, and head into Chicago tomorrow night sporting an unblemished (regulation) record. While they were outshot on the scoreboard, the Predators outplayed the Jets at 5v5, giving fans a little more belief in Peter Laviolette's system.
Mark Scheifele turned Roman Josi inside-out early in the first period. It wasn't a very good play by Josi, but give some credit to the move of the second-year Jet. He's very good.
Laviolette did some tinkering with the lines tonight. Most noticeably kicking Gabriel Bourque off the top line (in favor of Filip Forsberg) and injecting Viktor Stalberg into his first game of the season. With the second line previously playing so well, what was that going to do for the chemistry? Well...
First off, Bourque was wrecking ball tonight. As if he were Rogue, he absorbed the fourth-liner's powers and assimilated well. Most notably bowling over a Jets' defender in the neutral zone to collect the puck and set up Paul Gaustad for a glorious scoring chance.
The second line was not a great as it was, but it was still good. Given it was their first time together, and Stalberg's first time on the ice all season, much worse could have happened. Each player ended the night with a CF% of 55 or above.
Then there's that top line. The eye test said they dominated all night. The stats sheet backs that up. Each player recorded a point tonight. Speaking of...
Welcome to Nashville, James Neal! #18 picked up his first as a Pred tonight, getting the proverbial monkey off his back. Did you see how happy he was? Let's hope there's more of that to come.
- Major props to Colin Wilson on Ribeiro's goal. Even though Wilson didn't get an assist on the play, the goal would not have happened without his hard work down low against the boards. Statistically speaking, he was one of the best players tonight. *pushes up glasses with index finger*
Nashville should have had a 5-on-3 during their third power play of the night. Not that it really would have done much. The extra-man unit hasn't looked good all season, clicking at only 12.5% coming into tonight. Considering they put up a big, fat zero tonight, that most likely went down. If the Predators have any chance of competing in the division, that needs to change.
- #PrinceFilip4Calder. Dude has five points in four games.
- Pekka was on point all night. Pavelec was pretty good, too.
TWO POINTS! Against a division rival! Let's stock them up, eh? But the fun isn't over yet. In less than 24 hours, the Preds enter the Madhouse on Madison for the first meeting between the Blackhawks this year (and the first of two in less than a week.) The schedule thus far has been rather lax (sorry, Dallas) but if there's any team that's going to push Nashville to the limit, it's Chicago.
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne's glove
- HEEL JAMES NEEL
Roll the video highlights...