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Nashville Predators 2, Dallas Stars 0: Rinne Stops 26, Preds Win 9th Straight

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Pekka Rinne earns his 7th shutout of the season, tying a career high. This team is ridiculous.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators earned their ninth win in a row, beating the Dallas Stars 2-0 behind a great 26 save performance from Pekka Rinne and a couple of third period goals from Ryan Hartman and Nick Bonino.

The first period saw the Predators pressure the puck early and often in the Stars’ zone. After Ryan Johansen had a partial breakaway chance denied by Kari Lehtonen, Kevin Fiala hit a post after making a sweet move in the slot. A power play chance for the Preds looked impressive, but didn’t score. The Stars had two power play chances of their own and couldn’t score either.

After 20 minutes, the game remained scoreless. Each team had nine shots on goal, but the Preds had more from the dangerous areas.

The 2nd period got going with some serious physical play and a whole lot more special teams. A couple of early penalties were followed by Colton Sissons drawing one on a near breakaway. Then Scott Hartnell did something, I think, and went to the box. Then so did Ryan Hartman. Then Julius Honka tried to remove Hartman’s head from his body and he went to the box. Finally, there was some 4-on-4 just to change things up.

A total of seven penalties called in the 2nd period, but not one goal allowed. It was a brutal, nasty, disgusting period, and the goalies were on their game for all of it.

So the game went to the 3rd period scoreless. But it didn’t stay that way.

With just over five minutes gone in the period, Austin Watson found Ryan Hartman in the slot, who backhanded a sick shot over Lehtonen’s shoulder. Finally! A goal!

The Preds then got a power play when Craig Smith got tripped by former Pred Dan Hamhuis. Despite a cavalcade of shots on the Dallas net, they couldn’t get anything to go, so it remained a one goal lead.

With that lead, the Preds looked like they might try to turtle this one way. But with time winding down and with the goalie pulled, John Klingberg tripped on his own net, leaving the puck for Nick Bonino to collect. He wristed it home for a 2-0 lead and that did it.

There is really not much to complain about right now. You’d like to know what is going on with Roman Josi, but the team itself is completely torching folks right now. Nine wins in a row, for the first time in franchise history.

Random Observations

  • No Roman Josi (day-to-day with an upper body injury) and no Kyle Turris, but Craig Smith played.
  • Early penalty to Mike Fisher, who fouled Jason Dickinson in front of the Nashville net. Welcome back, Fish!
  • Damn. Two great early chances, one from Johansen off the feed from Fisher, the second by Fiala off a crazy dangle around Stephen Johns. Lehtonen stopped one, the post stopped the other. Great to see these early chances, you’d like one or two to go in.
  • The power play is moving the puck well. Tire those Stars out, folks.
  • How is it not 2-0 or 3-0 right now?
  • The penalty kill has been outstanding recently. That trend continues so far with two kills in the 1st.
  • (And then one more in the 2nd)
  • I like what I’m seeing out of Fisher. Speed was never his game, but he doesn’t look particularly slow. He is a perfect blend of a lot of what the Preds already have. Could be neat to see him play with someone with a bit more skill, like Fiala or Smith.
  • So many special teams. This game got real ugly real quick.
  • Arvidsson got dumped into the net and it would have been a really adorable event had it not been a late cross-check from behind on Pitlick that made it happen.
  • How much of this game is just 5 dudes getting all up in the other 5 dudes faces and daring them to come at them? So much.
  • Everybody talking about the Preds and Team X being a great playoff series. Maybe the Preds are the reason why? We bring out the best (and worst, as tonight indicates) in everyone.
  • HARTMAN!!! OMG! Wow, what a goal. Sick backhand. Those were some Colin Wilson mitts there.
  • Man, that power play was insane. A shooting clinic if there ever was one, only they didn’t score.
  • The Preds are trying so hard to turtle this.
  • Forsberg with a great wrist shot, but Lehtonen just did get his glove up on it.
  • This game is intense!!
  • BONES!! WIN!!

OTF Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Rinne: 50 career shutouts. Lehtonen was very, very good, but Rinne earned the dub.
  2. Hartman: Sick mitts in the slot, his line was excellent all night. Earned at least one power play just by being himself.
  3. Johansen: His line was also good. He finished with 4 shots and let Forsberg and Arvy wreak havoc in the corners.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras