The Week That Was: Week 7
Injury concerns are increasing by the game, but a good week nonetheless. Although it is tempered somewhat with one very ugly outing in St. Louis.
The Thanksgiving holiday knocked around the schedule a bit, but still provided no shortage of home games as we end the first quarter of the season.
Three wins in four games isn’t too shabby, given the injury situation with Kyle Turris joining P.K. Subban and Viktor Arvidsson. The best part is, despite the ailments, the division lead remains intact.
The Fast Money Round
Monday: Predators 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
We’re all thankful for Mattias Ekholm after that last-gasp save of a potential tying goal. Can we have a seven-game series between these two in June?
Wednesday: Predators 4, St. Louis Blues 1
Ah, yes, Pekka Rinne adds to his wonderful resume by becoming the all-time winningest Finnish-born goaltender in terms of regular season wins. Frederick Gaudreau gets his first NHL goal (yeah, I know, it’s not, but rules), and Ryan Ellis punted that monkey off his back.
Friday: St. Louis Blues 6, Predators 2
This game only exists in the record books because it was supposedly played. Someone did not tell the Nashville Predators. They decided they’d rather fight than play hockey, apparently.
Sunday: Predators 5, Anaheim Ducks 2
Austin Watson continued his productive week with his first career hat trick and the Ducks continued their usual ways. Rinse and repeat. Anaheim had several contributors out with injuries, but that was the same for both sides, so no excuses.
Player of the Week
Could be a few players worthy of it this week — Pekka Rinne and Mattias Ekholm come to mind — but with four goals this week, Austin Watson gets the nod.
Favorite Thing of the Week
I know, it’s already been mentioned, but let’s rerack the video of Ekholm’s save against the Lightning...
Mattias Ekholm: Not the hero we deserve, but the hero we need right now. #Preds | #TBLvsNSH pic.twitter.com/5O7BsjXjxp— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) November 20, 2018
Concern of the Week
It’s been harped on already, but its importance can’t be understated. The Predators are suffering through several injuries to key players all at once, and though that’s part of an 82-game season, how they deal with the next few games — at least — will help shape the standings going forward. The Central’s still tight, and injuries can’t be used as an excuse. It’s next man up, whoever that is in certain spots. It also raises the question of whether or not a potential move needs to be made to bring in reinforcements well before the trade deadline.
Taking the good with the bad from the previous week, in chronological order:
Plus: Roman Josi saves a goal, but triggers the first Tampa Bay power play by doing so. Net tradeoff: good enough.
Minus: Yikes, that was a missile by Victor Hedman.
Minus: Still looking for that first 5-on-3 goal of the year.
Plus: Fil doing his thing.
Plus: Okay, the whole top line doing its thing.
Plus: Wiping out a Lightning goal because of a penalty.
Minus: Not being able to match Tampa’s pace, but then again, not many teams can keep up, either.
Plus: Pekka. Rinne.
Plus: Mattias. Ekholm.
Plus: Freddy has his first “official” NHL goal, which is kinda crap, but rules
Minus: Matchbox 20’s lead singer scores. Hey, it’s not 3 a.m., people.
Minus: The Preds keep giving up the first NHL goal to too many players.
Plus: See ya, monkey! Get off of Ryan Ellis’ back!
Minus: Guess the rematch between the Preds and Blues will have to wait until the undercard fights are squared away.
Minus: The rest of Friday’s game, purely on principle.
Plus: Not having to deal with Corey Perry
Minus: Having to deal with Ryan Kesler (or a plus, if you’re Ryan Johansen)
Minus: two penalties in the first seven minutes — regardless of whether the Ducks’ power play is the fifth-worst.
Minus: Nick Bonino is still on the first power-play unit.
Plus: Bonino’s played better lately, but still...
Plus: Putting Ryan Hartman on the top line...
Minus: At least let Paul McCann finish the penalty announcement before you give up a goal. How rude!
Plus: Holy snipes, Nick Bonino.
Minus: Matt Irwin catching Kalle Kossila knee-on-knee.
Minus: A hooking call and a holding-the-stick call on the same play...
Minus: Making 8,094 passes on a 4-on-3 power play when only two Ducks defenders have sticks
Plus: Austin Watson with net-front presence on the power play
Minus: Awful turnover leading to a goal in the last 10 seconds of the period
Plus: Craig Smith with maximum effort for that power play goal.
Minus: Matt Irwin.
Plus: The Ducks have a trip for the players’ moms. We all know about the fathers’ trips, so this is pretty cool, too.
Plus: Four hat tricks in the first 24 games.
This week’s grade
That Tampa win was some of the best hockey this team has played all year, while that St. Louis loss was indeed some of the worst. Finishing the week with a win over the Ducks was a good capper, despite Anaheim’s shenanigans. This week’s grade: B+
Your turn: Take your pick of who gets the next hat trick. Winner gets kudos.
Who gets your Player of the Week for Week 7?