Nashville Predators take on the Island of Manhattan, Part Two

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators tends the net against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 4, 2018 in New York City. The Nashville Predators won 3-2. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators tends the net against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 4, 2018 in New York City. The Nashville Predators won 3-2. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 04: (l-r) Miikka Salomaki #20, Colton Sissons and P.K. Subban #76 of the Nashville Predators celebrate Subban’s third period goal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 04, 2018 in New York City. The Predators defeated the Rangers 3-2.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 04: (l-r) Miikka Salomaki #20, Colton Sissons and P.K. Subban #76 of the Nashville Predators celebrate Subban’s third period goal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 04, 2018 in New York City. The Predators defeated the Rangers 3-2.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Some good and some bad

The Nashville Predators took a nice 3-2 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night. As with any game, there are positives witnessed and areas the team needs to improve. On the positive side, Pekka Rinne played up to Vezina levels. The Predators’ netminder saved 34 pucks, including 87.5% of high-danger chances during 5v5 action. After one game, Rinne’s goals-saved above average is 1.47.

Offensively, Filip Forsberg continues to show his scoring ability. With a quick turn of the wrist, Forsberg notched the first Predators’ goal of the season, giving the team 1-0 lead. Colton Sissons gained two points with an assist on P.K. Subban‘s goal and an empty-net goal of his own.

It was Craig Smith who drove the action all game long. Smith generated five high-danger chances and took six shots on the night. His energy put pressure on the Rangers’ defense and propelled the Predators to victory.

But, it was not all great. The defense showed some weaknesses. New York gained 14 high-danger chances at even strength and 15 total on the night. Both goals for New York came at the high-danger areas. On the first goal, Subban was caught watching the puck, allowing Jesper Fast to cut behind him and to the net. The other goal came on a man-advantage in a flurry of action to close the game.

When the defensive was in doubt, they dumped the puck out of the zone. Twenty-six times. While clearing the puck is a solid option when needed, the Predators relied heavily on this technique. It shows a panic-mode atmosphere at times on defense. According to Penalty Box Radio, the defense did generate 23 breakout passes. It would be nice to see the defense increase this number and lower the clearings. That should produce more offensive chances.