This was another good week for the Nashville Predators.
Big bucks, no whammies:
The Fast Money Round
Tuesday: Predators 4, Vegas Golden Knights 1
Secondary scoring showed up — in a big way. Ryan Hartman nearly set Bridgestone Arena on fire. It wasn’t always pretty, but it got the job done. Vegas isn’t playing as well now that some of their key guys got paid, and the Golden Knights will have an uphill climb in the Pacific Division. They’re not a bad team by any means, but their slow start may ultimately cost them later on.
Thursday: Predators 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 1
*plays “Welcome Back, Kotter” theme song*
Perhaps it was the perfect game for Pekka Rinne to return from injury. He needed to be tested early and he was. Meanwhile, Kyle Turris probably used some voodoo on a deflection for the first goal, while Ryan Johansen went into passing wizard mode twice. Nashville withstood the Tampa barrage in a game that wasn’t always as pretty as the highlights suggest.
Saturday: Predators 1, Boston Bruins 0
The Pekka Rinne hat trick returned — he signed a contract extension, got a shutout and celebrated his birthday all on the same day. Brad Marchand didn’t lick anybody, but he did quite the acting job after getting a penalty and won himself a double minor, plus a misconduct penalty all in the span of four seconds. Also, Roman Josi did his best Bobby Orr impression.
Player of the Week
This is easily the hardest choice to make of the first month. Ryan Hartman drank whatever got into Filip Forsberg the week before, and Pekka Rinne returned from injured reserve to play two outstanding games against Eastern Conference powers. Both are deserving, but only one can take home the crown. Hartman gets one heck of an honorable mention, but we’ll gift-wrap this one for Rinne as a late birthday present.
Favorite thing of the Week
There was plenty of cool stuff on Halloween, but the Charlotte Checkers get the nod here, for obvious reasons:
Practice was interrupted today in the most adorable way possible pic.twitter.com/AWJYE5QR37— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) October 31, 2018
Concern of the Week
You all know what goes here this week. It’s not rocket science, but the Preds are seemingly making their power play much harder than it really needs to be. Some folks on Twitter are saying it’ll get better because of the law of averages, but here’s the thing — there has to be an effort to change things up in order to improve, because teams have them figured out right now. They’re around 13 percent on the season and they’re going to stay there unless they actively take a different approach.
The 5-on-5 play has been great, but there will be lulls and having even decent special teams will help when those bumps in the road happen. The penalty kill has markedly improved in recent games, now it’s time for the power play to do the same. There’s too much talent on the ice with the man advantage for it to be this bad.
Scheduling Quirk of the Week
This one doesn’t involve Nashville, but it does involve the team in immediate pursuit: Winnipeg. The Jets just finished their back-to-back set with Florida on Friday in Finland, but they won’t play again until this coming Friday. The Panthers, meanwhile, return to action on Thursday. Gotta get that jet lag out, I guess.
Taking the good with the bad from the previous week, in chronological order:
Plus: spoofing the Vegas pregame show, because it’s already old and tired
Minus: Gnash’s guitar not breaking on contact
Minus: Nick Bonino
Plus: Ryan Hartman
Plus: Juuse Saros’ work during Rinne’s absence
Minus: Too much man
Plus: Those shorthanded chances, yo
Plus: Fiala to Hartman x2
Minus: Ryan Ellis killing off the power play with a penalty of his own
Plus: Jarnkrok getting in on the act
Plus: Arvy hustle gets another goal
Plus: Turris doing some trick shot magic on that deflection
Plus: Joey...that pass...Josi...that finish
Plus: another gem from Joey
Minus: Tampa controlling everything...
Plus: ...except the scoreboard. Thanks Rinne. Oh, and welcome back.
Plus: Rinne’s extension does wonders for the cap situation.
Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros will have a combined $6.5 million AAV next season and 2020-21.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) November 3, 2018
Minus: All the hooking calls. So many hooking calls. It’s like the league told the officials to look for it or something.
Plus: Sissons drawing a high sticking call on Marchand.
Plus: Marchand doing more damage to his cause by going all drama queen on his way to the box.
Minus: The power play is still bad.
Plus: Shorthanded chances!
Plus: A birthday shutout for Rinne!
This week’s grade
Clearly a better week than last week. Despite the power play’s struggles, the Predators are playing well and have the top spot in the league. Hartman’s playing his best hockey right now, Rinne’s healthy and in great form right now, and they’re beating good teams right now. Things are looking fairly good. Only thing keeping this from the best possible grade is the way Tampa controlled things for most of Thursday’s contest. Hopefully Viktor Arvidsson returns soon. Final grade for the week: A
Your turn: Which do you think is a bigger problem — the Preds’ power play or the third defensive pairing? Sound off in the comments.
Who’s the Player of the Week for Week 4?
This poll is closed
Other (make sure to name your vote below)