The Nashville Predators kicked off their 2018 home-ice debut with raised banners and a bout against James Neal and his Calgary Flames. Pekka Rinne got his second start of the year, and the Predators were unable to help him at all, as the Flames shut out Nashville 3-0.
To start the night after a tear-jerking video summarizing the 2017-18 campaign, Nashville commemorated the successful season with three banners for the achievements made last year: the Central Division Championship, the regular season Western Conference Championship, and the President’s Trophy. After the pregame ceremonies, the Predators dropped the puck for the first time in their home barn this year.
Early in the first, Viktor Arvidsson was sent to the locker room due to an injury, which promptly sent the forward lines into a chaotic game of musical chairs. The defense and Rinne both looked rather solid early on, but the offense was simply anemic. The first goal of the game arrived with less than 5 minutes left in the period, when Johnny Gaudreau made a great pass to Elias Lindholm on the Flames’ second man advantage to put Calgary up 1-0.
The second period, to put it lightly, was incredibly frustrating. Arvidsson made his triumphant return, but the forwards still couldn’t find the back of the net, despite two power play opportunities (including a 2 minute 5-on-3). The defense probably got a bit worse, but Rinne rose to the occasion and put this team right on his back. Sean Monahan gave the Flames another power play goal to make it 2-0, and the Preds headed to the locker room after 2 periods grateful that this game wasn’t already out of reach.
The game was all but wrapped up a minute into the third period, as an unfortunate bounce off of Mattias Ekholm gave the Flames their 3rd goal. The rest of the third period proceeded with no real notable events, except for scattered power plays and perpetual frustration. The final score ended up 3-0, and this was a game Nashville will try (if they haven’t already) to forget. Onto Winnipeg.
- ...I’m not crying after the banner raising, you’re crying after the banner raising.
- Early penalty kill, lovely.
- Great kill, never let them set up.
- Halfway through the first and Rinne looks SHARP. The offense, not so much.
- A big save for Peks, and to keep the universe in balance, a penalty against the Preds.
- Johnny Hockey finally breaks through Nashville’s blue line and sets up the opening goal of the game. 1-0 bad guys
- The Flames goal seems to have opened up the game right before the intermission, but Preds can’t answer. 1-0 after 1.
- We’re one minute into the second period, and this one already has the same amount of offensive pressure as the first.
- Calgary goal, but one ref blew the whistle beforehand.
- Apparently there were too many men during that play—third power play for the Flames.
- Flames convert on the PP once again. 2-0 Calgary.
- Well, all is not lost. RV is back.
- Hartman almost brings it back within 1, but Smith makes a nice save. Signs of life though.
- YOU GET A TRIPPING CALL! YOU GET A TRIPPING CALL! EVERYONE GETS A TRIPPING CALL! PREDS 5-ON-3
- Preds can’t convert on 5-on-3. Inexcusable.
- Well, we got another shot at it. PP opportunity late in the period, let’s go.
- Can’t find the back of the net (again).
- Flames get another on a 2-on-1 seconds into the 3rd. Not our night.
- Penalty kill for Nashville.
- Could be worse. Could be the Flyers.
- Power play for the Predators. I am not optimistic.
- That’ll do it for this one. 3-0.
Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne—Really kept Nashville in the game for as long as he could.
- The Oak Ridge Boys—Splendid rendition of the national anthem. A+
- Philadelphia Flyers—Made our loss look a lot better. Thanks Gritty!
Tweets of the Game
James Neal, now with the Flames, says it’s “nice to come home.” #Preds— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) October 9, 2018
gonna start a blog called On The Backcheck since forechecking is banned this year by this team— franklin delano bort (@FDBort) October 10, 2018
Oooooooh I get it. This is "2012 Playoffs v. #Preds" Mike Smith, isn't it?— Jeremy K. Gover (@govertime) October 10, 2018