The second installment of TW2 gets to follow a more traditional Monday-to-Sunday form – though it still wasn’t a traditional week for the Nashville Predators with three days off between a Monday home game and a Friday-Saturday back-to-back in western Canada.
And we got a few things we didn’t expect, too.
Let’s dive in.
The Fast Money Round
Monday, Oct. 15: Predators 3, Minnesota Wild 2
Four different goal scorers found the net in the finale of the opening homestand, including Mattias Ekholm, who might be playing the best of the horsemen right now. He’s the forgotten horseman, but his play is speaking for itself. Pekka Rinne is still trying for his first goal, and one of these days he’s going to get it. What a day that will be. Filip Forsberg is continuing his hot start and Craig Smith reminded us why Craignog is a good thing.
Friday, Oct. 19: Predators 5, Calgary Flames 3
Mike Smith brought back some bad memories in the Preds’ home opener, but in this rematch, it was Smith who was victimized. Calgary’s power play scored again, but it wasn’t enough this time. Forsberg and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist. Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith also added goals, but it was – wait for it – Zac Rinaldo who had the game-winning goal in this one. Somebody called that one, right?
The bad news was that Rinne had to leave the game after Fiala collided with him early in the third period. He was placed on injured reserve Saturday and will miss at least three games.
Enter Juuse Saros, who stopped all nine shots in relief and collected the win as a result.
Saturday, Oct. 20: Predators 3, Edmonton Oilers 0
The Oilers’ landlord showed up on Saturday and like any good tenant, they paid the rent without complaints. That’s 13 straight for the Preds over Edmonton.
Anyway, it was another game where no Predator had multiple goals, but hey, as long as you get it done. P.K. Subban channeled his inner Bobby Orr with a shorthanded thing of beauty and played one of his best defensive games so far (improvement was inevitable). Saros got his regularly scheduled start and shone again, collecting his fifth career shutout and second clean sheet in Edmonton.
Also, apparently there was a little bet between the players and Peter Laviolette. More on that in a bit.
Player of the Week
Kyle Turris’ line had a good week. Mattias Ekholm had a good week. Forsberg, the reigning PotW, had a good week. But for his services in both a tough spot and his planned start, it’s gotta be Juuse Saros. He’s going to get several more starts in the next week and to see him playing well right now is a massive boost in what could have been a very bad situation. It’s a good chance for him to handle a starter’s workload for a little bit and everyone will be watching to see how he handles it.
Favorite Thing of the Week
Peter Laviolette should really stop making bets with his players about sweeping Western Canadian road trips.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) October 21, 2018
Last season, the coaching staff had to wear Christmas suits on the bench. This season... pic.twitter.com/L3JlIefRk7
Concern of the Week
Piggybacking off Saros’ opportunity, the big worry is Rinne’s injury and how long he’ll be out. As confident as the team is that Juuse will be able to roll with it, a long-term injury to Rinne would still be detrimental.
Scheduling Quirk of the Week
A Monday home game (that isn’t a holiday) followed by a three-day break? No, thanks.
Taking the good with the bad from the previous week:
Plus: A tribute video to Paul Fenton
Minus: Matt Dumba changing numbers from 55 to 24
Plus: Smooth finisher Mattias Ekholm from smooth passer Ryan Johansen
Plus: A long stretch pass from Kyle Turris to set up Forsberg doing his thing
Plus: The easiest goal Salomaki will ever score in his life
Plus: I see you, Yannick Weber:
You know what's absurd? Yannick Weber has a 91.67% CF right now. 11 chances for, ONE against.— Kristopher Martel (@kmartel_sports) October 16, 2018
Nearly 92 percent. Jeez.
Minus: Friday night games during football season
Plus: Going more than 30 minutes without a penalty to begin a game
Minus: Fiala taking Rinne down and out
Plus: Saros kills it in relief
Plus: Jordin Tootoo getting a good ovation from the crowd.
Minus: Milan Lucic
Minus: That first period in Edmonton probably put a few folks to sleep
Plus: Subban getting his first career shorthanded goal
Minus: Dan Hamhuis going into the boards hard after catching an edge
Plus: Saros and that sparkling .945 save percentage in four games (well, 3 1/3, but it counts for four)
Plus: Eight games in and 14 different Preds skaters have scored
This week’s grade
This should count as a perfect week, right? Well, it would have been if not for Rinne’s injury. That does bump the final grade down a bit, but when you’ve won five in a row and remain perfect on the road, it’s still a very good week. Final grade for the week: A
Your turn: Hit us with your best and worst of the week. Also, bring some ideas of the next bet Peter Laviolette should make with the players.
Your Player of the Week for Week 2?
This poll is closed
Other (write-ins go in the comments)