It’s a young season, but the Nashville Predators just got their first statement win of the season on the road over a Stanley Cup contender.
Truthfully we don’t really know for sure who’s going to be contending for a Stanley Cup next summer, but we all expect the Nashville Predators and the Vegas Golden Knights to be two of those teams. We saw them square off on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
Two very good offensive teams didn’t disappoint in this one. There was plenty of end-to-end action that kept both goaltenders busy. Pekka Rinne for Nashville and Marc-Andre Fleury for Vegas had to be sharp the entire night. In the end, Nashville prevailed with the 5-2 win in a final score that doesn’t tell the whole story.
This is the first road win of the season for the Predators. They opened the season with four home games, going 3-1 in those games. After a tough loss to the Kings on Saturday, which nearly ended in a comeback win, we knew the Predators would come out aggressive. They delivered on that and never let up on the pressure.
Pekka Rinne stays undefeated
So Rinne isn’t letting Father Time catch up to him. He may be 36-years-old, but he’s also 4-0 in 2019-20. In this particular game, he had to be in top form. Vegas threw a lot at him throughout the game. The lead never seemed safe after the Predators took over.
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Rinne finishes with 33 saves on 35 shots from Vegas. These were a lot of tough saves. Vegas put a ton of pressure on Nashville, especially on their four power play attempts. Vegas did connect on one of those that was well-constructed that finished with a goal from Mark Stone, his fifth goal of the year.
This is another example of countless of how valuable Rinne is to the Predators still at this point in his career. The Golden Knights should’ve easily had four to five goals themselves if they’re playing an ordinary goaltender. Rinne isn’t ordinary, and he’s off to a great start to this season.
Power play streak
The Predators have power play goals in five-straight games now. They’re getting plenty of attempts, but we have to start somewhere after coming in last place this past season. The power play appears to no longer be a liability.
In this game, even when the power play didn’t connect, they were still getting good chances. Putting sustained pressure on Fleury in net. Keeping Vegas on their heels and taking away their own momentum.
The Predators got five power play attempts in this one. They forced a lot of pressure on Vegas, forcing them into penalties. Nick Bonino gets credit for the power play goal on a tip-in from Kyle Turris. A great thing to see another power play unit outside of Matt Duchene’s line producing.
Turris is the topic of trade rumors. TSN is speculating that the Turris situation should be kept a close eye on. It doesn’t seem to make sense from the standpoint of the Predators:
Turris has looked great so far, and this game is another addition to that. He’s looked so much better in his new role making the bottom six stronger. It doesn’t make much sense to drop him now unless the value for him is higher than what most people think is out there.
Who else stood out
Filip Forsberg got another goal to add to his impressive start. He’s now up to five goals in six games. He’s also got three assists and is playing really well with Duchene. It’s going to be of no surprise if he surpasses the franchise record of goals in a season, currently held by Viktor Arvidsson at 34. Forsberg should be able to pass that if he plays a full slate of games.
How about Calle Jarnkrok playing so well in his role on the top line? He got a sniper of a goal on a feed from Arvidsson that goes down as the game-winning goal. He’s already on pace to easily pass his point output of last season of 26 points. Maybe the Predators have found their temporary answer to solidify the top line?
The Predators managed to somehow hold Vegas to just two goals. It wasn’t because they were exactly stellar defensively. Rinne had to make some ridiculous saves to keep this such a wide margin. Also some lucky bounces came their way.
It was a fast-paced game for both teams, and the Predators made the more timely saves and matched the intensity that not all teams have the ability to do with Vegas. Big win for the Predators as they’ll take on Arizona next on the road Thursday night.