It’s great to see Pekka Rinne already in mid-season form as he helps guide the Nashville Predators to another preseason win.
There’s just one preseason game left on the docket for the Nashville Predators after getting the shutout win over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. It’s their last game at home of the preseason, and they’re now a week away from opening the regular season against the Minnesota Wild.
The Predators improve to 4-1 on the preseason with this win, which was a battle between two locked in goaltenders early on. There was plenty of big names on the Predators roster as this figures to be the trial run to the regular season. Big pieces of the lineup like Matt Duchene, Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith all suited up for this one.
We’re not going to draw any hasty conclusions from this win, or any preseason win, but there are some things to take note of from this game. Let’s dive into a couple of them.
Who stood out
This game started off as a battle between goaltenders as Anton Forsberg was in net for Carolina and Pekka Rinne was between the pipes for the Predators. Both players stood tall for the first half of the game, despite there being plenty of good scoring chances. Forsberg had to be the sharper of the two as the Predators threw a lot at him early on.
More from Predlines
- Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Kiefer Sherwood
- Captain Candidates if Nashville Predators Didn’t Have Roman Josi
- The All-Time 25 Games or Less Nashville Predators Lineup
- Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Cody Glass
- Joakim Kemell Flashes his Offense in Nashville Predators Loss to Tampa
Early scoring chances for Arvidsson, including a couple breakaway attempts, forced Forsberg to make some tough saves. Duchene and Smith also had nice looks at the net in the first and second periods. Smith eventually got the Predators on the board with a power play goal, set up by Kyle Turris‘ feed.
Mattias Ekholm had a very solid night by scoring two goals and thwarting many Carolina rushes into the Predators zone. His game keeps getting better every season as he’s been playing regularly for the Predators for the past six seasons. It’s looking like he will be paired with Dante Fabbro to start the season.
Jarred Tinordi is another player trying to make the opening night roster. The young defenseman did himself a lot of good in this game by playing well on the penalty kill, and just remaining physical on the forecheck. Not sure if it will be enough to get him onto the final roster, but he looks to have a bright future. He finishes his active night with four hits, two blocked shots, two shots on goal and 19 minutes of ice time.
Then of course you have Rinne, who looked in mid-season form. He never had to make any crazy spectacular saves, but he was just sharp enough to keep Carolina from scoring. His defense played pretty well in front of him to keep Carolina from getting a ton of good looks. Rinne took care of the rest to stop all 32 shots. Juuse Saros was suited up, but was never needed as I’m sure the coaching staff wanted to see Rinne go the whole game.
The power play looks so much different
The Predators got plenty of power play opportunities in this game. Five attempts to be exact, converting on one of them. The other four offered plenty of good looks and puck movement, but Carolina’s Forsberg was solid in net keeping the Predators from capitalizing.
Without Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg in the lineup, the Predators rolled with Duchene, Arvidsson and Johansen on the top unit. Followed up by Mikael Granlund, Turris,and Smith. The scoreless tie was eventually broken by Smith with his power play goal.
The spotlight is going to be all over the Predators power play and how new assistant coach Dan Lambert improves it. The system that has been put in place is showing positive results, even though it’s just the preseason. Duchene is already making a big impact in this area. There’s nowhere for it to go but up after finishing in last place this past season.
Shots on goal favored the Predators 40-32, with Ekholm and Arvidsson leading the way in that category with seven shots apiece. Arvidsson had at least four breakaway attempts that were all stopped by Forsberg.
The Predators have one more preseason game, which will be the rematch against the Hurricanes in Raleigh. That game happens on Friday, giving the Predators just under a week to prepare for their season-opener against Minnesota. There are a couple tough roster decisions to make before that.