Well, this was fun!
The Predators were coming into this game on a bit of a lull, following a bad loss to Arizona and another so-so game to Florida. They responded with arguably their best all-around performance of the season so far.
But the story of the game was easily #35. I truly believe when Rinne’s hot, it gets the entire team going, and we saw that tonight. He set the tone with a couple of incredible saves early, including a robbery on a breakaway attempt. It was an important stretch, because even though the Preds outshot Anaheim, the Ducks controlled the majority of the play. It could have easily been 2-2 or 2-1 after the first period, but those saves helped the Preds keep their momentum, and the penalty shot save took all the air out of Anaheim’s lungs.
Gosh... please let this be the year Pekka raises the Cup.
Not a lot going early on until the Preds get a 5-on-3 twelve minutes in. Roman Josi makes Anaheim pay with a wrister from the top of the slot. Your leading scorer, Ryan Ellis, gets another assist. A few minutes later, Anaheim gets a power play chance, the Preds kill it off (!!!!!). Colton Sissons winds up finding getting the puck as soon as he steps out of the box and goes top shelf on Gibson. 2-0 Preds.
Ondrej Kase gets a breakaway chance for the Ducks and PEKKA RINNE YOU BEAUTIFUL FINNISH UNICORN. That’s it for the first period.
We don’t even get a full minute into Period 2 when Rocco Grimaldi scores off a BEAUTIFUL redirection. 3-0 Preds.
Anaheim gets a penalty shot opportunity after Yannick Weber hooks Troy Terry on a breakaway. Terry takes the shot and... redux... PEKKA RINNE YOU BEAUTIFUL FINNISH UNICORN.
We get some fire headed into the under-14 commercial break when Ellis and Kase exchange words and a few shoves after the whistle. A scrum gathers, but nothing comes of it. Anaheim gets another power play opportunity a little while later, but Mattias Ekholm bringeth forth Frostys by turning a takeaway into a breakaway... 4-0. There is much rejoicing.
Pekka makes two more incredible saves in a short span, including one I’m not even sure he saw until the last split-second. “Pekka” chants start. On the other end of the ice, Josi undresses a Ducks defender and gets a great chance but Gibson gets a piece of it. We head to the second intermission.
We have a goalie change to start the third. Gibson comes out and Ryan Miller comes in for Anaheim.
The Ducks get on the board when Dan Hamhuis makes a great pass... to Ryan Getzlaf, who proceeds to beat Rinne to end the shutout. The Preds answer right back when Viktor Arvidsson caps off a great effort play to make it 5-1. That same line answers when Jarnkrok goes to the net, and pokes a loose puck past Miller. 6-1.
Arvy, after flustering the Ducks on the store sheet, flusters the Ducks with his... Arvy-ness? He draws a couple of late penalties, the latter of which led to a dust-up that got Nick Ritchie tossed from the game.
Final horn sounds. Preds get the win.
- Is it just me, or does this rivalry have a little less bite to it without Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler? Like who’s Johansen supposed to have a fun hatred of now? Josh Manson? Hampus Lindholm? Ondrej Kase? Does he mercilessly roast Dallas Eakins from the bench?
- I don’t know if Roman Josi is the third-best defender in the NHL or not. All I know is that he’s a fantastic player, and Nashville is a better with him on the ice. A goal, an assist, a couple of good defensive plays, and a move that straight up embarrassed a Ducks defender that almost led to a second goal (Bridgestone might have spontaneously combusted had that gone in).
- Get you a player like Arvy who makes opponents “big mad.” He drew four penalties to go along with his goal and assist. Him laughing in Holzer’s face after drawing the last one was a mood.
- Kyle Turris is still paying like a man possessed. He’s been great all season, but finally getting top-6 minutes seems to have lit a fire under him (two goals and three assists in his last four games).
- On that note, I’m curious to see what the lineup looks like when Forsberg returns. His line with Duchene and Granlund was straight fire, but Turris is also playing really well in that spot. Do you move #8 with Arvy and Johansen? Do you reunite JoFA? We’ll have to see.
- Y’ALL GONNA MAKE ME LOSE MY MIND... UP IN HERE, UP IN HERE
OTF’s Super-Duper Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne: All hail
- Viktor Arvidsson: A goal and an assist on the scoresheet, and knocked Anaheim off their game towards the end.
- Whoever was in charge of changing the Power Play song from 5-1-5-0 back to Party Up. I’d personally give you kudos, but I think it’d be better if X gon’ gave it to you.
Tweets o’ the Game
I was this many days old when I learned Michael Del Zotto plays for the Ducks.— Hayley Alexandra (@itsHalesYeah) October 23, 2019
Roman Josi with the power play goal to get this party started tonight!— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) October 23, 2019
Pay the man!
This is the first time this season that the Predators have scored multiple goals in the first period.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) October 23, 2019
Pekka Rinne - get this man a cup in Nashville before his days are done. Its what he deserves. What a God. #Preds— Sara (@saralaw_) October 23, 2019
Pekka is feelin' it tonight, folks.— Robby Stanley (@RStanleyNHL) October 23, 2019
Sam Steel— Alex D-AHHH!-ugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) October 23, 2019
This isn’t a hockey team, it’s a 1930s detective novel.
The Preds are back at Bridgestone Arena Thursday to face the Minnesota Wild. That same day, the Ducks giddy on over to Dallas to take on the Stars.