On a night where the Predators notch five goals and increase their lead on top of the NHL standings, Predators fans should be elated. Instead, they are left wondering about the state of their starting goal tender, who left tonight's action with a lower-body injury.
Rinne walked down the tunnel with the trainer after colliding into the boards in the third period. Before he left, the game was a pretty tightly contested, 2-1 affair. After, Nashville blew the doors open and pumped three goals past Eddie Lack. Mike Fisher, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and Craig Smith all found their names in the goal column, and Carter Hutton stopped all 10 shots he faced in relief.
- Nashville has the worst home power play conversion rate in the league, but you wouldn't have known it with the way that first opportunity looked. The Preds moved the puck with precision and maintained possession, and Craig Smith got himself in prime precision to pot his 13th of the year. Colin Wilson and Mike Ribeiro helped get him the puck. By the end of the night, they would convert on two of their six power plays.
- By the way, that was Ribeiro's 20th point in his last 20 games.
- Not to be outdone, Wilson notched his 13th just over 2 minutes later on a beautiful snipe on the rush coming down the right side. Wilson can do no wrong right now, and after a slow start to the season he's poised to break his career numbers.
- There could have been about a million goals scored in that period, all on one end of the ice. Eddie Lack did his best to keep his team in the game, especially knowing relief likely wasn't coming from the bench. He was mighty glad his friend I. Ron Post was backing him up though, or Roman Josi would have made it three-zilch before the game was even a third over.
- Even before Alexander Edler put his team on the board, the Canucks were mounting a rally. It wasn't a domination over the Preds, but they were certainly outplaying them. Vancouver has been snakebitten as of late, however, and that continued for the rest of the night. The Canucks have now scored only six goals in their last four games.
- Then the worst happened: Chris Higgin slid into Rinne and both of the careened into the end boards. Rinne was slow to get up, and eventually left the game. He didn't return. That article pretty much says it all, but I'll repeat: shitshitshitshitshit. Being taken out of the game could purely be precautionary, and it's a good sign that he was able to walk off and stretch under his own power. Still, it would be terrible for Rinne to miss any time
- Props to Carter Hutton, though. It's not easy to be thrust into a game that's halfway over and shut the door. He was shelled in his very first shift, and stood tall. That's what he needs to do going down the road. Alas, he didn't get the win. Rinne was still the goalie of record, and picks up his league-leading 29th win of the year.
- The Predators did exactly what they needed to once their star goaltender left the game: score tons of goals. Forsberg, Fisher and
SmithWilson all tallied in the third period to put this one on ice.
- Did you guys see any elephants or Shriners? The Canucks were putting on one hell of a parade to the penalty box tonight.
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Carter Hutton: He did what a capable backup needs to do, and did it very well.
- Craig Smith: Honey Badger does what a Honey Badger Wants
- Pekka Rinne: Lots of ice and rest. Hopefully it's not too bad.
Tweets of the Game
Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of the people of Nashville getting their torches and pitchforks ready to invade Vancouver.— Jen LC (@RegressedPDO) January 14, 2015
The Predators don't play again until Friday, which I'm sure you've heard is a pretty special game. That's plenty of time to let Rinne sit and recover and see how he feels, while simultaneously keeping the fans in the dark on his condition. Who really cares about whether he goes to the All-Star Game or not, Nashville is just hoping he'll be in good enough shape to not miss much (or any) time, so they can continue their dominance in the league.
Roll the video highlights...