MVP Sports Channel

Predators Face Penguins, Oilers, Red Wings

Hello, All…

Welcome back to the zone for your weekly update on our Nashville Predators. It is time for teams to buckle down and give it their all to pick up wins in every single game as the month of February has arrived, and the need to accrue points becomes more and more crucial. The Predators have clawed their way back into third place in the Central Division of the Western Conference and need every point possible to keep and improve that position in the standings.

It was back to business for the Predators on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh taking on the defending NHL champion Penguins. Pekka Rinne was in goal for Nashville. The Preds notched the first goal of the game with about 6 minutes remaining in the opening period when Callie Jarnkrok picked up a rebound and drove it in. But Pittsburgh got the same puck luck when immediately afterward, the same series of events occurred for them—bang, 1-1 game! Then in the early minutes of the 2nd, the Penguins tallied their second goal on a blast by Trevor Daley, and their third by Patric Hornqvist (one of my personal favorite former Predators) on a swift wraparound shot, 3-1 Penguins! Hornqvist scored again with less than 4 minutes left in the period when Rinne lost his grip on his stick and had no way of stopping the puck. Pittsburgh took their 4-1 lead to the locker room following a disastrous 2nd period for the Preds…..ugh! In the 3rd, Collin Wilson banged a power play goal home to cut the lead to 4-2 only a few minutes in. As time wound down, Nashville pressed hard. There were offsetting penalties with Nashville having emptied their net creating a 5 on 4 for the final two minutes. The horn sounded to end the thorough whipping Nashville received at the hands of the Penguins. Hopefully things will drop back into place on Thursday and Saturday when the Predators head back home to Smashville.

With Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in town, the Preds were looking to get back to their winning ways on Thursday night. Rinne was our big guy in the net for the expected action-filled game. There was no score in the opening period as the guys in gold outshot the Oilers 9-4, but early in the 2nd, Viktor Arvidsson sent a rocket slap-shot over the Oilers’ goalie, Cam Talbot’s shoulder and tallied the first goal of the game. Hopefully, that would bode well for the Preds as they are 15-1 this season in games where they were on the scoreboard first. The remainder of the 2nd saw outstanding defensive play by both teams. With only seconds on the clock, Ryan Johansen put a huge shot in net to allow the Preds to take a 2-0 lead to the locker room. The 3rd period was huge defensively for Nashville. With shot after shot coming, Rinne put on a masterful display of goal tending, bringing Preds fans to their feet. Making 31 saves on 31 shots, he led our guys to their 2-0 victory in this one—-woohoo!

On Saturday night, the storied Detroit Red Wings came to town. Rinne was in goal for the Preds (with his .939 save percentage for the previous month) and defenseman Roman Josi returned from IR after missing 9 games. It was an even 1st period until shortly before intermission when Detroit’s Mike Green got the visitors on the board with a 1-0 lead, which they took to the locker room. The middle period produced action, but no penalties and no goals, so our guys needed to generate some offense in the 3rd. It began uneventfully, but about 8 minutes in, the Predators found themselves with a crucial 5 on 3 penalty kill situation. They successfully held and then picked up a power play chance of their own right after, but could not find the back of the Wings’ net—–still 1-0, Detroit. Nashville pulled Rinne out with 2:30 left to get on an extra attacker and made a valiant final push to tie the game, but to no avail. Detroit’s goalie, Petr Mrazek, played an outstanding game earning the 1-0 shutout, making 42 saves on 42 shots on goal by the Preds……pretty impressive!

Nashville dropped 2 out of the 3 games this past week—-definitely NOT what we were looking for from our team. Fortunately, they maintain that spot in third place in the division with 58 points, but wins are critical at this point in the season, so they must look to this week to find wins and get back on track. We know they can do it—–stay tuned!

Go, Preds!

NashvilleDebra Murray is a weekly contributing writer for MVP Sports Channel (and die-hard fan of the Nashville Predators). 

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