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Observations From Monday’s Preseason Games

It’s the preseason, folks.

Final Scores

Predators 5, Panthers 0 (2:30 start)

Predators 5, Panthers 3 (6:00 start)

Lines and Pairings

Game 1

Game 2

Random Observations

  1. Juuse “The Chosen One” Saros started the first game and was backed up by Tom McCollum. In the first period, young Saros was pummeled with 17 shots on net. He was able to glove down several through traffic and get his pad/stick on several other pucks. As we’ve become used to seeing, Saros was aggressive on the puck when he could make a play for his teammates. He switched about midway through the second period with McCollum. I would like to see him in several more preseason contests so he gets in his groove early this season. So far, so good.

2. Rocco Grimaldi was all over the place. He added a nice tip-in goal in the third period to give Nashville a 3-0 lead in Game 1. He showed off some wheels but also displayed some skilled passing and puck handling. He will be an excellent leader in Milwaukee and should be high on the call-up list.

3. Frederick Gaudreau could be a very solid member of the fourth line this season. He skated on the penalty kill in Game 1 and did a very nice job tying up the puck to prevent Florida from moving up ice. He also added a very nice wrist shot for Nashville’s fifth goal.

4. Thomas McCollum stopped every shot he faced in relief of Saros. The veteran netminder will be a steadying presence in Milwaukee.

5. Pekka Rinne’s monster glove is still a black hole. The goal he let in was an own-goal by Tyler Gaudet.

6. Anthony Richard-Colin Blackwell-Carl Persson will be a fun line to watch in Milwaukee.

7. Richard forechecks like he’s played several years in the NHL. He goes hard every single shift, much like Viktor Arvidsson.

8. Is it just me, or does Alexandre Carrier look very much at home with Mattias Ekholm?

9. P.K. Subban and Roman Josi are in mid-season form.

10. In both games, the power play was quite mobile. It’s apparent there are several guys who could QB the PP. This is a very good thing.

11. I guess Ryan Johansen has heard our prayers...he snapped home a gorgeous one-timer in the second period of Game 2 to even the score.

12. Kevin Fiala’s puck awareness was on display for Nashville’s third goal of Game 2. Could he find a home on a line with Forsberg and Johansen?

13. Don’t forget Dan Hamhuis’ gorgeous centering feed to Fiala for that goal. Looking good out there, #5.

14. I’m liking Forsberg-Johansen-Fiala more and more. Do they need a nickname or is it too early?

15. Frederic Allard has quietly had a good game. He is positionally sound, can hold the puck in at the point, and can pinch when necessary. Although he didn’t add any points in the double header, I look forward to a big season for Allard with the Admirals.

16. Not many rumbles from the Craig Smith - Nick Bonino - Eeli Tolvanen line. They weren’t without effort, but their coordination was lacking. ALL OF THE offense in Game 2 came from Forsberg-Johansen-Fiala.

17. In case you were worried, Forsberg is still good at hockey. A preseason hat trick is a good thing.

Final Thoughts

Fiala looks like he will play just fine with Johansen and Forsberg. Tolvanen, however, probably should get a look with Kyle Turris. Tolvanen was largely invisible tonight.

Some of the combinations for the Milwaukee guys could definitely result in some excellent hockey. I really liked the play of Blackwell, Persson, and Richard.

Filip Pyrochta was a pleasant surprise in Game 1. So was Yakov Trenin. Trenin-Justin Kirkland-Mathieu Olivier could be another fun line with the Admirals. Pyrochta was paired with Yannick Weber in Game 1 but could see time with Carrier or Allard in the AHL.

Grosenick and McCollum will definitely be battling it out in Milwaukee for the starting goaltender job.

And then there’s this:

Don’t forget your road Frosty, folks.