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Nashville Predators 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 1: Down with the Sickness

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It’ll take more than some bad chicken soup to slow down the Nashville Predators

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

No Rinne, Fisher, Sissons, and Smith, no problem. There were some new faces in the Predators lineup tonight as a case of food poisoning plagued several of the team’s usual starters.

Juuse Saros got his second career start in net, and boy did he put on a show. Saros stopped 34 of 35 shots and shut down the Penguins offense all game long. The only goal he gave up was early in the first period when he was left alone to face two Penguins and Scott Wilson made him pay.

Peter Laviolette and the rest of the team must have been tired of being asked how to fix their 5-on-5 goal drought, because they scored them in bunches tonight. Kevin Fiala scored his first two goals of the season and found some chemistry on the second line with Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro. The same can be said for Viktor Arvidsson, who also scored two goals on his new line with Ryan Johansen and James Neal.

This game was exactly what the Predators needed after losing three straight games to Chicago, Dallas, and Detroit. The power play was still effective, the 5-on-5 goal drought is over, and most importantly the Predators are back in the win column.

Random Observations

  • It’s safe to say that Pekka Rinne, Mike Fisher, Colton Sissons, and Craig Smith will be sticking with tomato soup the next time they have the flu.
  • Ekholm hung Saros out to dry on that first goal.
  • Despite being down five starters, the Preds played their best game of the season against Pittsburgh.
  • Juuse Saros looked fantastic. You could be looking at Pekka’s backup next season.
  • Kevin Fiala is finally on the score sheet folks! After no goals through four games, Fiala has two goals through two periods tonight.
  • You didn’t hear Evgeni Malkin’s name at all.
  • Whoa! Arvidsson is tearing it up. He definitely is thriving on that first line with Neal and Johansen.
  • Peter Laviolette may have found his optimal scoring lines. Just imagine Wilson-Fisher-Smith would give this team three - count them, three- legit scoring lines.
  • GOOD LORD, JUUSE SAROS IS LEGIT. He just shut out the Penguins for 59:08.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Juuse Saros - Saros was dynamite. He got stronger as the game progressed. He may take some criticism for only being 5-foot-10, but he plays way bigger than his frame. His stats were impressive though three AHL games, but he may have been even more impressive against NHL competition - the Stanley Cup Champions at that.
  2. Kevin Fiala - Fiala finally took those almost goals and turned them into pucks in nets tonight. He had the first multi-goal game of his NHL career, and he might just have found a home with Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro. It’s still hard to comprehend he just turned 20-years-old.
  3. Viktor Arvidsson - This guy is the energizer bunny, he does not stop. Arvidsson earned a much deserved promotion to the top line and rewarded coach Peter Laviolette with two goals. If you do not like watching this kid play then you don’t have a pulse.

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