Nashville Predators 4, Minnesota Wild 0: Born to be Mild

Terrible start...better finish.

I mean... a win’s a win, right?

This game wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  Among all the slow starts the Preds have had this year, this was probably the worst.  They did a good job of turning the tide in the second period, but overall, it wasn’t a shining example of excellence.

I say all that, and the final score still wound up being 4-0 Predators.


What Happened?

That first period was... something.

The Wild ALMOST make it 1-0 just thirty seconds in when Marcus Foligno clangs a redirect past Rinne and off the post.  That play seemed the set the tone for the rest of the period, as the Preds just can’t seem to get anything going on the offensive side of the size.

Minnesota spends the first half of the period throwing anything they can towards the net.  The defense actually does a good job of limiting shots on goal during this stretch, but they just can’t seem to control the puck.

The Wild finally get a couple of great chances towards the end of the period, and Rinne steps up with a couple of great saves.  We end the period with 26 shot attempts from the Wild.  The Preds only had 9.  Not great, Bob.

Whatever was said in the locker room during the intermission works because Miikka Salomaki (of all people) fires a wrist shot past Alex Stalock just 37 seconds into the period.  1-0 Preds.  The Preds follow that up with a few more great chances, including a great chance for Craig Smith that’s denied by Stalock at the last possible second.

With just about 30 seconds left in the period, Viktor Arvidsson sets up Calle Jarnkrok for a great shot at the top of the slot to make it 2-0.  That’s it for period two.

After being snake-bitten on some great chances all season long, Smith FINALLY gets his first goal of the season.  He winds up all alone in front of Minnesota’s net, and Bonino finds him for an easy goal to make it 3-0.  Smith follows that up by paying tribute to Dead or Alive by spinnin’ right round, baby, right round.

It took us 50 minutes into the game to get our first penalty.  We then get three more in the next five minutes.  On the last one (a Salomaki tripping penalty), Mattias Ekholm forces a turnover and sets up Colton Sissons for a breakaway shorthanded goal.  4-0 Preds.

Other Takeaways

  • The big post-game headline is going to be Matt Duchene.  He left the game after the second period with what the Preds are calling a “lower body” injury.  Obviously, the game just ended so we’ve had limited time to look, but no one on the OTF staff can find any obvious play where that injury would have happened.  Hopefully it’s nothing serious. We’ll probably get an update tomorrow.
  • No seriously, how does Ryan Suter still get louder “boos” than Alex Radulov?
  • The “Nashville gets off to a slow start” narrative has been told plenty of times this season.  But I don’t think it’s a stretch to call tonight’s first period the worst the Preds have played so far.  Luckily, Pekka Rinne is a 6’5” magic eraser who kept the game scoreless when it had no business being that way.
  • That’s back-to-back games where Josi has Datsyuk’d a defender out of his clothes.
  • There was a lot of skepticism about putting Calle Jarnkrok in the top six — from myself included — but he’s been quietly solid these past two weeks.  He has points in five of his last seven games and complements Johansen and Arvidsson’s style of play.
  • I need behind-the-scenes video of Joey, Fabbro, and Sissons all living together./

OTF’s Super Duper Stars

  1. Pekka Rinne: Gets the shutout... and is the main reason this game wasn’t 3-0 at the end of the first.
  2. Calle Jarnkrok: Not only scores on a great snipe, but he was all over the ice tonight.  I love his energy in the top six... which is not a sentence I thought I’d say.
  3. Colton Sissons: A goal and an assist, and is the reason we all get to feast on Frostys tomorrow.

Tweets o’ the Game

What’s Next?

The Predators head down to the Sunshine State for a matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning this Saturday at 6:00 P.M. Central.  The Wild head back to Minnesota to take on the Kings Saturday.

Game Highlights