Depth shows up and Pekka Rinne keeps rolling. The Nashville Predators continue to put points on the board while completing the shutout, beating the Minnesota Wild 4-0.
This game started out slowly for the Nashville Predators but quickly changed after a few acrobatic saves in the first period by Pekka Rinne.
In the first period of tonight’s game….. well actually there really is not anything to mention here.
In an excruciatingly painful first period, the Predators got outshot 13-4. Luckily, Pekka Rinne was playing like a man possessed and was seeing the puck extremely well. Rinne single-handedly kept the Predators in this game after the Nashville offense was only able to produce four first period shots.
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In the second period, the Nashville Predators began to wake up. Just thirty-seven seconds into the second period, Colton Sissons completed a beautiful no-look pass to Miikka Salomaki who buried the puck in the back of the net. It was a great play by Sissons and a nice shot by Salomaki to give the Predators their first goal on just their fifth shot.
As the period progressed, Rinne continued to make save after save. With no insurance goal, Pekka was forced to do all he could to win this game. But, to his avail, late in the second period Calle Jarnkrok was able to add to the lead by scoring on the rush.
To begin the third period, the Wild still led the shot total 18-13. Trying to find a way to beat Rinne tonight was almost impossible. Right when you thought Minnesota might have a chance, Craig Smith slammed the door shut.
At 6:58 in the third period, Smith finally got his first goal of the season. A great play in the corner allowed for Nick Bonino to pass to puck directly in front of the net to a wide-open Craig Smith who made the most of his opportunity.
Then, just three minutes later, the first penalty of the game was called. This is not important but it is worth noting. I’m not sure when the last time the Predators played a game without a penalty call until halfway thru the third period.
Four minutes after Ryan Johansen was relieved from the penalty box, Miikka Salomaki got the chance to relax and enjoy the view of “fang vision”, from the penalty box.
Not only did Salomaki get to take in the view of the Predators’ new jumbotron from the other side of the ice, but he also got a front-row seat to see Colton Sissons pick up a puck in the neutral zone and beat Stalock for a short-handed goal.
The Predators won 4-0 but two storylines come out of this game. Pekka Rinne and depth scoring.
Rinne Keeps Rolling
Pekka Rinne recorded his 56th shutout, stopping all twenty-six shots. This shutout only puts Rinne one shutout behind Marc-Andre Fleury, who currently tied for 20th on the all-time shutout list.
Rinne has the twenty-second most shutouts in NHL history and two more would put him in the top twenty. This is an incredible feat and a huge honor to a man that truly deserves it.
Not only did Rinne record a shutout, but he also increased his point streak to seven games. The Finnish goaltender is 6-0-1 on the season and could tie the franchise record for the best run to start a season.
I am not exactly what to call this record, but Tomas Vokoun started the 2005-2006 season with a 7-0-1 record. In Pekka’s next appearance, he has a chance to tie this record which would etch his name into the Predators record book yet again.
It seems like Rinne is always on the verge of setting a franchise record, even though he already has claimed just about every record you could think of.
Depth Shows Up
Even without Filip Forsberg, the Predators are still finding ways to put the puck in the net. Lacking last year was depth scoring, but that now seems like it was years ago.
The Predators have thirteen different skaters with at least one goal. This is incredible, considering that we are only ten games into the season.
Two players tallied their first goal of the season tonight. Craig Smith finally found a way to light the lamp after getting off to a slow start this season. Smith has the sixth most shots of any Predator and it really seemed like he was due for a goal.
Miikka Salomaki also scored his first goal of the season tonight. We will not mention that Salomaki scored his first goal before Craig Smith, but I will mention that it is his only shot of the whole season.
Surprisingly, in three games that was Salomaki’s first shot and it was definitely an important one.
The secondary scoring for the Predators shows just how dangerous they can be at all four lines. If the Predators’ depth keeps showing up, this team will have the attention of everyone around the league.
Matt Duchene headed to the locker room in the third period. No one has any idea what this injury actually is, except that it is a lower-body injury. Heading to the locker room could just be precautionary for all we know.
There is no need to speculate or make any assumptions at this point. All we know is that Duchene did not finish the game and I am sure we will get an update on him soon.