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The Week That Was: Week 8

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Not a great week, but some reinforcements came in from Milwaukee and helped out with the mounting injury list.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

What a week. Let’s dive in, because everything that needs to be said is coming up:

The Fast Money Round

Tuesday: Colorado Avalanche 3, Predators 2

This wasn’t a bad effort considering the Preds had more high-danger chances, but Nathan MacKinnon’s line ran rampant and could have made this much, much uglier had it not been for Pekka Rinne’s stellar effort.

Thursday: Arizona Coyotes 3, Predators 0

Peter Laviolette’s presser after this game was 26 seconds. Which, ironically, was longer than the amount of the time the Preds were competitive in this game against Chicago-lite.

Saturday: Predators 5, Chicago Blackhawks 2

That first period was exactly the response needed after Thursday’s lackluster effort. Duncan Keith went stupid and there was a seven-minute power play. Also, Chicago is worse than Chicago-lite. Eeli Tolvanen had a two-point night that included his first NHL goal. Might this be the start of something really good for the kid?

Player of the Week

As much as we talked about great saves Rinne made this week, he’s certainly deserving. He was the main reason Tuesday’s game wasn’t a bloodletting. Maybe, just maybe, this week is what Kevin Fiala needs to go on a tear. Eeli Tolvanen had a good first night back in Nashville. This is a tough call. They all have a case, but for what he’s had to go through lately, Fiala deserves to get one here, too.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Favorite Thing of the Week

I think this oughta sum it up:

Concern of the Week

Two-parter this week:

  • One of my growing concerns was that the Preds weren’t really outworking other teams as of late. The first period against Chicago was certainly an example of what they can do when they do outwork other teams, but they fell right back into some bad habits in the second period.

With several top players out for a considerable length of time, it’s time this bunch got back to what made this franchise so hard to play against for so long. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. This motto really should go up in the Preds’ dressing room, and we really need to see the overall effort improve over the next 4-6 weeks while the top guys get healthy.

  • Thought Juuse Saros would get a start on this homestand. It still might happen on Monday against Buffalo (and if it does, a lot of this is moot), but the Preds are falling back into the same routine of leaning on Pekka Rinne.

If the goal is to have Rinne fairly fresh for the postseason, then wouldn’t it make sense to not give him five consecutive starts on an every-other-day schedule? Yes, Rinne’s been the hot hand, but it’s doing Saros a massive disservice to not give him a start here or there. He hasn’t been great this year, but he can’t improve if you don’t put him out there.

Plus/minus

Taking the good with the bad from the previous week, in chronological order:

Minus: A really quiet crowd early on despite it being a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series.

Plus: Pekka. Freaking. Rinne. (later edit: I’ll just say this once instead of the 9 or 10 times he made me want to say this)

Minus: From a Nashville standpoint, the MacKinnon line is a nightmare. From a pure hockey standpoint, they’re a lot of damn fun to watch.

Plus: Kevin Fiala has struggled so mightily in the past two weeks, so it’s good to see him get one. And what a redirection, too.

Minus: Another power play, another shorthanded chance Rinne has to stop.

Minus: You can hear yourself think inside Bridgestone Arena during the first period of the Coyotes game (or maybe that’s a plus?).

Minus: The Preds are making Adin Hill look like the second coming of Patrick Roy right now.

Minus: Hybrid icing.

Minus: The injury report.

Plus: Getting that early goal with Kevin Fiala...wait, he wasn’t looking at what he was shooting at!

Plus: Eeli!

Plus: What even is this game? Maybe more angry practices should be the norm. Or maybe Chicago is just plain bad.

Plus: Seven minutes of power play time.

Minus: Getting two of those minutes 5-on-3 and getting no shots on goal.

Minus: Giving up a shorthanded goal on a seven-minute power play.

Plus: Craig Smith’s laser beam, and first period Frosties.

Minus: The second period against Chicago.

Plus: Anthony Richard still trying to score in the final seconds.

Plus: Finally, on the third try, Peter Laviolette gets his 200th victory behind the Preds’ bench.

This week’s grade

The Colorado loss was one thing. However, what happened against the Coyotes was something totally different. They got mad, got their work boots on against the Blackhawks (in the first period, anyway) and kept the week from being a total loss. They still let Chicago outwork them in the second period and that shouldn’t happen. There were still more bad periods than good this week. Given the players who are out, the effort from the rest of the roster has to be outstanding moving forward or more losses will begin to pile up, because the schedule isn’t getting any easier. This week’s grade: C+

Your turn: With injuries continuing to mount, do you think David Poile needs to make a deal for some added help?

Poll

Who is your Player of the Week for Week 8?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Kevin Fiala
    (24 votes)
  • 41%
    Pekka Rinne
    (26 votes)
  • 17%
    Eeli Tolvanen
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (1 vote)
62 votes total Vote Now