I think it’s safe to say the Nashville Predators have worked out whatever bug they had in their system as they get another impressive win.
Behind a milestone career achievement from Pekka Rinne, the Nashville Predators extender their point-streak to four games with a 3-0 win over an explosive Carolina Hurricanes team.
The win improves the Predators’ November record to 4-6-2 after at one point being in the midst of a six-game losing streak. That seems like a distant memory after the Predators are less than a second away from currently riding a four-game winning streak. Vegas had different plans on that front on Wednesday night.
To hold a team like Carolina to no goals is an incredible accomplishment, and Rinne deserves a lot of credit for bouncing back out of his own personal funk. His previous four games had his save percentage well-below 80 and Juuse Saros having to come in for relief.
Historical night for Rinne
Anyone who was worried about Rinne not bouncing back hasn’t been watching him since the 2008-09 season when he first became a regular on the roster. To be fair, it had been tough sledding in recent times, but most knew he would eventually bounce back with another gem.
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Rinne had missed the last three starts to Saros, and had also been chased out of his last game against Vancouver after surrendering four goals, with three of them via the power play. That loss brought the Nashville losing streak to six games.
Fast forward back to last night’s game, and Rinne responded spectacularly against a potent offensive team. He finishes the game stopping all 31 Carolina shots he faced to bring in his 58th career shutout and his 350th career win. Let’s look at some of his career NHL all-time ranks among goaltenders now:
- Wins: 350 (22nd)
- Shutouts: 58 (T-19th)
- Games played: 638 (40th)
- Save Percentage: 0.9181 (12th)
- Goals Against Average: 2.388 (19th)
Whenever Rinne does decide to retire, it will be an interesting debate to see if he belong in the Hall of Fame. Don’t ask me because I’m probably a bit biased. However, his career ranks speak for themselves. Getting a Stanley Cup would obviously cement that argument.
As for his most recent outing against Carolina last night, it just proves that he’s not going anywhere. He’s always been a bit streaky, and maybe Saros should get the majority of the starts. If that’s the case, the Predators have the best “backup” goaltender in the NHL hands down.
It’s first time Carolina’s top-end offense was shutout this season. Saros will most likely get the next start on the back-to-back, but it will be interesting to see if Rinne misses multiple starts in a row again.
Other games notes
The Predators took the lead for good in this one a little over eight minutes into the opening period on Rocco Grimaldi‘s 2nd goal of the season. He uses his speed to get up the ice and he finishes on some nifty stick handling to get it past Petr Mrazek. Nick Bonino would get credit for the assist as his strong season continues.
Grimaldi has responded well this season after entering into it without his roster spot being completely safe. He’s never really struck on an NHL roster for long periods of time, but he’s changing that this season on Nashville’s third line with Bonino.
After adding goals from Calle Jarnkrok and Austin Watson, Nashville wasn’t allowing any crazy last-second comebacks in this one. We were in need of a comfortable win after the month we’v had, and the Predators delivered in this one.
Jarnkrok is now up to nine goals on the season and is well on his way of shattering his career high of 16 goals in a season, set twice. Watson has had an up-and-down season on Nashville’s fourth line, but he contributes with his 4th goal of the season to give his team plenty of breathing room going into the third period.
Oddly enough the Predators are playing well without Viktor Arvidsson. Not much to take from that other than it’s a testament to how deep they are and that they don’t rely on just a couple players to make them successful.
And to think you also have Kyle Turris still missing games as a healthy scratch due to a “lineup decision”. Either way, the Predators are winning and playing excellent hockey against some high quality teams recently.
We don’t get the luxury of “easy” wins very often. The Predators needed a game like this, but they have no time to rest as they take on an upstart Florida Panthers team on the back end of a back-to-back. The Panthers are nicknamed the “Cardiac Cats” because you can never count them out of a game.
The Predators are gradually making up ground in the Western Conference and the Central Division. They’re just two points out of the final wildcard spot and four points behind Colorado and Dallas in the division race. No reason to get too caught up on the playoff race, but it is nice to see the Predators haven’t been buried too bad after that bad slump.