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Nashville Predators 3, New Jersey Devils 1: Preds escape Newark with uninspiring win

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The score doesn't tell the whole story, as the Predators were barely able to hang on against a potential lottery team.

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In their first excursion away from home, Nashville had the great fortune of not having to play against one of the better goaltenders in the league. Corey Schneider came down with a sudden case of becoming a father.

The Devils started the game winless in two tries, while the Predators wanted to pla... You know. 60 minutes. Consistency. Blah blah blah. Boy, three games in and it's already grating to say.

That didn't really happen. The Predators had some surprising struggles maintaining the flow of play against New Jersey, and leaned on Rinne to bail them out of another game. Roman Josi tallied two goals to help his team to victory, and Nashville tore out of Newark with a stolen two points.

Random Observations

  • Beautiful Person Roman Josi became the first defenseman to score a goal for Nashville this season. With Tuomo Ruttu in the box for tripping, Josi one-timed a pass from Shea Weber to tally on the power play. It marked the second time in six attempts that Nashville scored on the man advantage. It's looking like that success in the preseason wasn't just a fluke. *Crosses fingers*
  • Both Predators starts have been erratic, either starting slow, or zooming out of the gate before falling back a bit. It was more of the same this time out... sort of. Nashville took full control of the first period from the start, though the pace of the game started to wind down as the teams settled in. After Josi's goal at the 10:34 mark, the Preds only managed two more attempts the rest of the period. (Both of them shots on goal.) That has to stop happening.
  • Ah, the return of the Second Period Nap. The Predators only managed four shots on goal (with only seven attempts) through the entire frame. It was as if they couldn't (or decided not to) keep up with the play. At one point, Peter Laviolette was throwing out different line combinations trying to jump start the play.
  • The biggest offensive flurry came in the waning minutes by the third line. It resulted in Gabriel Bourque getting crosschecked on his rump and Calle Jarnkrok hit into the first row. Gotta break some bones to make a play, I guess.
  • Third period review: meh.
  • Pekka Rinne has been better than good to start this season, and hasn't allowed a single even strength goal yet. That's both incredible and frightening. While he's playing like he's one of the best goaltenders in the world (he is), it means the team is relying on him way too much (they are.) More offense would be preferable, as that streak isn't going to last forever.
  • Hey, Nashville allowed a goal with the goaltender pulled late in the game. Never seen that before.
  • Eric Nystrom earning his minutes by grabbing the empty net.
The Predators were damn near outplayed by a team that dresses Jordin Tootoo in their top six. That's three games against weak competition where the team was barely able to hang on.

There are two ways to look at it: either they are playing down to the competition, or they just aren't a very good team. Neither is especially inspiring to think about. They head to Brooklyn to play a much better Islanders team on Thursday, before going back to a mediocre/bad Ottawa team. Then the schedule really picks up.

Points are points, but the more this happen, the more worried we should be. Oh well. Bank 'em, and mark undefeated in your notebooks.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Pekka Rinne - The team has been giving him too much work in the early goings of this season. Thankfully he's been able to bail them out of their lackluster play. He even got an assist tonight!
  • Roman Josi - Dude was flying out there tonight. On top of scoring the goal, he was one of the most noticeable on the ice, flying around both zones and making some fantastic defensive plays. Add in the rare shorthanded empty net goal from the other end of the rink.
  • Keith Kinkaid - Sure, he didn't get as much work as he would have liked, but he was there. None of the other Predators really deserve it.

Was the Smashville App Correct?

Nooooope. Nice pick though, but the app falls to 0-3 this season.

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