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Nashville Predators 3, New York Rangers 2: Preds Emerge Victorious on Opening Night

The Predators secured a solid win tonight in Madison Square Garden.

NHL: Nashville Predators at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Predators began the first period of their first game of 2018-2019 with a lot of speed and solid puck movement. Kevin Fiala and Mattias Ekholm almost converted on a 2-on-1, and it was all Predators for the first ten minutes of the first. Chris Kreider was found guilty of a cross-check on Viktor Arvidsson and Nashville was first to the power play with 4:06 remaining in the first.

Craig Smith had the only solid chance for Nashville on the power play. The boys seemed like they were having a bit of trouble getting the PP moving. Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist stood tall for their teams in net, both making standard-but-magnificent saves.

After some back and forth play, Filip Forsberg and Kyle Turris were able to quickly flip the puck into the Rangers zone at 3:54 of the second for Nashville’s first goal. The Rangers sustained some play in the Nashville zone and Jesper Fast scored the tying goal with 12:23 remaining in the second period.

Zac Rinaldo was whistled for holding and Vinni Lettieri was also penalized for embellishment. Nothing came from two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey, but the game’s pace certainly picked up as the second period ticked on. The teams entered the second intermission tied.

The Rangers began the third period with some pressure in the Nashville zone. The Predators were able to respond, led in part by captain Roman Josi. After several stoppages in play, the Predators quickly won a face-off and snapped a pass to P.K. Subban for their second goal of the contest at 3:28.

With 6 minutes remaining, Turris was whistled for slashing and New York went on their first power play of the evening. The Nashville penalty killers were successful with some assistance from Rinne. With a bit less than two minutes remaining in the game, Lundqvist was pulled from net. Subban was called for interference with 1:30 left in the game, but New York was also called for too many men on the ice. With the New York net empty, Colton Sissons flung a puck down the ice for Nashville’s third goal.

The Rangers wouldn’t quit without a fight, however. Pavel Buchnevich tipped a puck past Rinne from a blast from Mika Zibanejad at 19:25.

Random Observations

  • WHY WHY WHY is Frederick Gaudreau scratched and Zac Rinaldo in a gold sweater?
  • What a touching tribute to the late Rangers anthem singer, John Amirante.
  • Mattias Ekholm almost snuck one past Henrik Lundqvist.
  • That’s MY Vezina Trophy Winner!!!!!!
  • Lundqvist with a HUGE save on Ryan Johansen. My heart.
  • Lundqvist with ANOTHER HUGE save on Craig Smith!!!
  • Rinne stops Jimmy Vesey AGAIN!
  • Filip Forsberg scores the first goal of the 2018-2019 season!
  • The first penalty of the 2018-2019 season belongs to Zac Rinaldo. Color me surprised.
  • It’s fantastic to hear the NBC Sports commentators showering Ekholm with love.
  • Pernell. Karl. Subban!!!!!
  • Ryan Hartman looks like he’s back to his old self. He forechecks hard and even stole the puck right in front of Lundqvist.
  • We are seeing uber-motivated Rinne and the Predators right now.
  • My favorite part of timeouts are when Rinne and Juuse Saros fist-bump.
  • EMPTY NETTER from Sissons!
  • That tip from Buchenvich was quite pretty.
  • This is a nice win for the boys to start the season... it was well-executed Predators hockey.

Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Filip Forsberg: The Prince calmed all of our worries by notching this season’s first goal.
  2. P.K. Subban: Subban blasted in an absolute cannon of a shot after a quick face-off win from Colton Sissons and a nice feed from Ekholm. It’s evident Subban is pumped about this season.
  3. Pekka Rinne: Rinne made some incredible saves tonight, looking like the reigning Vezina Trophy winner that he is. It seemed like all his saves were on Vesey, but he held his ice in tight on many solid Ranger chances. Rinne made 33 saves on 35 shots...that’s a .944 Sv%

Tweets of the Game

Game Video