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Nashville Predators 3, New Jersey Devils 0: All-Star Captain P.K. Subban Earns his Title

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Subban scored the first goal, and the Predators never looked back. Arvi and Rinne earned the primary assists.

NHL: Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Recap

Though the Predators lost their most recent game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they had earned at least a point in seven straight. That streak continued with a subtly dominating performance in all phases of the game.

The first period was slow. Arguably, the Devils had more scoring chances, but it was a lackluster affair. With the All-Star break coming up, it looked a bit like the Predators were looking forward, instead of focusing on the depleted Devils. Halfway through the game, very little had happened. Perhaps to a more experienced eye, impressive, nuanced play was occurring, but I don’t think so.

Just over midway through the second period, Subban changed that. Ekholm took a win off a face-off, passed to Subban, who then used Arvi as a shield, and bombed one past the surprisingly stout Ken Appleby, making his first career start. The rest of the second was quiet, other than a great save by the post, preserving the one goal lead.

The third period got exciting. Arvi hustled (as he is wont to do), passed the puck off the back wall, then got in position in front of the net, obscuring Appleby’s view so that Ekholm could blast one by. A failed PP attempt and a penalty by Watson opened the door for a Devils comeback, but a slick interception by Subban and an odd man rush led to an Arvi shorthanded goal and a 3-0 lead, which would be the final score.

The Preds go into the All-Star break riding an eight game point streak. Though the Devils were beset by injuries, every win is essential in the hyper-competitive Central. A great win by a great team.

Now we get to sit back and enjoy the All-Star break. No doubt P.K. will do something noteworthy. I can’t wait.

Random Observations

  • Taylor Hall, Marcus Johansson and Cory Schneider out tonight for the Devils. Ouch. That’s the list of Devils players an average NHL fan would likely be able to name (“hmm... does Brodeur still play?”).
  • Devils are second in the Metropolitan (56 pts). They would be second-to-last in the Central.
  • Ken Who? Do we ever do well against NHL goalies in their first ever start?
  • Bonino, Fiala, and Jarnkrok start us off. Josi and Ellis. Rinne in net.
  • Appleby nearly Rick Perry’s (oops!) the puck less than a minute into the game. Could’ve been a big mistake.
  • Inadvertent horn. No explanation. Play stops. Okay...
  • Arvi beautifully picks off a pass in the neutral zone, but was headed for a shift change, so nothing doing.
  • Our defense leads the league in goals, points, power play goals and power play points. And Ellis only came back in January. And they are all locked up for at least another year. #giddy
  • Halfway through the first period - no real scoring chances either way
  • And then Arvidsson is in Appleby’s pocket (not literally, though he could probably fit) and tries to go high and Appleby eats it up.
  • Huge save by Rinne on a Moore shot from the slot. According to CMace, Rinne did a great job “squeezing the wickets.”
  • 2v1 for the Devils, Irwin with the diving block. Crikey!
  • Devils appear to score on an odd man rush... but clear goaltender interference and the Preds are... On. The. Power Play.
  • Nothing doing, and the Devils have a great opportunity with a man coming out of the box. Johansen breaks up with the anticipatory slide. Better than anything the Preds had on the PP.
  • Crap. Emelin (the new McLeod?) needlessly flings one into the stands. Delay of game.
  • Bonino, Fiala, and Jarnkrok with some fancy passing that nearly leads to a scoring chance. Definitely the most impressive line so far tonight (though that’s not saying much).
  • Pernellllllllllllllllllll! The “Arvi Leap” screens Appleby and Subban scores. Norris much?
  • I like Chili’s better.
  • Devils hit a post. Phew.
  • If the observations stop here, it is because I threw my laptop at my TV during the Farm Bureau commercial. No kid is that excited about insurance. And why do both women answer when he asks his mom????? Totally illogical. Ugh.
  • Rinne went to see if Palmieri was okay after a brutal slide into the boards. What a dreamboat.
  • Bonino had won 9 straight face-offs to start this game. Just lost one.
  • Devils hit the post again. It’s played a great defensive game for us so far.
  • Nobody tosses an Arvi. His hustle creates the chance, then the Arvi Leap screen allows Ekholm’s blast to go in. 2-0.
  • Hooking is only legal in Nevada, Devils... a bad penalty puts the Preds... On. The. Power Play. They’ll seek to stick a (pitch)fork in the Devils.
  • Watson with some tremendous plays on a delayed penalty... but it was his foul... Preds on the penalty kill with 5:45 to play.
  • Well. Arvi. Holy crap. A shorthanded BLAST puts the Preds up 3-0. P.K. Subban picked off a cross ice pass and created the 2v1.
  • Couple dicey chances for the Devils as time expired, but Rinne shuts the door. He blanked ‘em.

Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Subban: I’m putting him here after he opened the scoring. Someone needed to step up offensively with Forsberg down, and Subban has done that and then some.
  2. Rinne: The Juuuuuuuuus chants need to go. Saros is a great back-up and our future starter. But Pekka is the present - let’s treat him so. Great game, even if he wasn’t overly taxed.
  3. Arvidsson: Had a hand in all three goals. As is seemingly always the case, he was the most noticeable player on the ice.

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