The Nashville Predators re-emerged from the shortest offseason in franchise history last night. Unfortunately, their performance left much to be desired.
Those who caught the game last night will agree; a 4-3 scoreline did not do it justice. The Nashville Predators managed to hang on and threaten a garbage-time comeback, but the Bruins’ lead would prove too much to overcome. Penalties influenced a good portion of the contest, with 34 combined penalty infraction minutes and three goals resulting from power plays.
The Bruins opened up the night’s scoring with a 5-on-3 powerplay goal from David Pastrnak, and threatened several more times. Pekka Rinne stood tall in net, bailing the Predators out on many occasions when the defense broken down. Offensively, Nashville failed to generate any truly dangerous chances. Bruins’ netminder Tuukka Rask was more than capable of shutting down any opportunity the Predators did manage.
The visiting team was nearly headed towards locker room when Viktor Arvidsson opened the season’s scoring for the Predators. The goal came at even strength, with just 11 seconds remaining in the period. And the Bruins managed to force one more great save from Rinne before the buzzer sounded.
As a Predators fan, I did not enjoy the middle period. The Predators looked extremely disinterested as the Bruins stepped in the way of every pass and suppressed shots with ease. It didn’t take long for the Bruins to score their second of the night, as Jake DeBrusk scored his first career NHL goal at 5:48. Bruins’ rookie Charlie McAvoy doubled the lead at 15:43, as the Predators were simply spectating.
Boston picked up right where they left off, but the Predators did show a bit of fight in the third. Rask was solid in net, though, and the Bruins would claim the next goal. Even with two of his teammates in the box, Brad Marchand put away an empty net goal with under three minutes remaining in regulation.
A stroke of magic then washed over the Nashville Predators. With Rinne pulled again and me expecting a five to one defeat, Scott Hartnell capitalized on the six on four to bring the score to four to two at 18:12. Just one minute 13 seconds later, Filip Forsberg buried another goal for the Predators and brought the score within one. In the end, Nashville would fall short by a single goal, conceding a regulation loss in their season opener.
Michael’s Three Stars
Pekka Rinne may have conceded three goals, but it could have been much, much worse. He was frequently left out to dry by sloppy defense and bailed the team out on more than a few occasions.
Viktor Arvidsson proved that he’s not in any mood to regress this year. The young Swede dominated shot production and took home a goal to show for it.
Jake DeBrusk absolutely shined in his NHL debut, with a goal and an assist for a multi-point night. The Bruins’ offense is fast and led by young talent, and may surprise a lot of opposing teams this year.
The Nashville Predators have one more game on the road before their home opener. Tomorrow night, they’ll take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins were simply embarrassed last night in Chicago, and will be out for blood.
Trigger warning for Predators fans – expect many, many Stanley Cup Final references during this one.