Rinne Gets Pulled as Predators Lose Opener 4-2
The Predators put Pekka Rinne on the bench only 10 minutes into the game after he allowed 3 goals on 6 shots. Rinne wasn't particularly at fault for the goals, but him nor the Predators really looked into it defensively. They were clicking on offense, with the Spaling – FIsher – Nystrom line looking quite impressive in the first period. Although the Preds went toe to toe with the Blue after the first ten minutes, they just weren't able to recover from such a dreadful start. The goal scorers for the Preds were Fisher and Legwand. Scroll down to video of all the goals.
A handful of things…
Our Powerplay and Penalty kill were both awful. No shots on 3 powerplays … couldn’t even get it set up most of the times. Our first powerplay unit was three centers: Smith, Fisher, Cullen and Weber/Josi on the blue line. The second unit had Jones and Ekholm on the blue line with Legwand the center to Bourque and Hornqvist. It may be a lack of chemistry at the moment, but they just looked terrible with the man advantage.
The Penalty kill was also unsuccessful, but I am not sure how much of that can be blamed on Nashville. St Louis had a 19.5 PP% last year and finished in the middle of the NHL. They moved the puck around quite well and got some good opportunities that were converted. PK units : Gaustad-Hendricks-Josi-Weber, Spaling-Nystrom-Bartley-Klein
Carter Hutton did well in relief of Pekka Rinne who looked like he was perhaps still not 100%. He seemed to have difficulty going across crease. Hutton didn’t make any phenomenal saves, but he did what anyone could have asked from him and played a very respectable 50 minutes in only his second NHL appearance. What I was actually quite impressed with was his puck playing abilities. He went tape to tape on a few really good passes.
Hutton finished the game with .955 SV%, allowing only one goal on 22 shots. Rinne allowed 3 goals on 6 shots.
The Team had surprisingly decent chemistry. Considering our offseason and line management, the team actually seemed to be connecting quite well offensively. The Clune – Gaustad – Hendricks line was quite effective at wearing down the opposition. Fisher played alongside Spaling and Nystrom which when I first heard it I thought it was insanity. But they had a very nice mixture of skill and grit and they all got involved in the team’s first goal. Legwand was a good center to Wilson and Hornqvist, but I can only imagine that Forsberg will be placed on Legwand’s line next week. The only line that I thought was very unsuccessful was the Smith – Cullen – Bourque line. Cullen looked really old and unsettled. Smith was a write off and I only knew Bourque was playing when he was on the second power play unit.
Who sits out next week? Thursday and Friday will be great gut check games to see who sits out when Forsberg returns for the home opener next Tuesday and when Stalberg returns after that. It’s hard to say right now. I think based only on tonight, Smith is an easy scratch to make. Trotz already doesn’t see eye to eye with Smith’s effort and I think he will be first on the chopping block. Next one is difficult. Clune seems like a good choice but it could be Spaling. It may depend on the opponent. Not to mention that, with out luck, we’ll probably have another injury by then anyway.
Defense needs work, depth. Our defense just didn’t cut it tonight. Even Weber/Josi didn’t seem like a successful top pairing. Kevin and Bartley were very vulnerable. I thought Ekholm played quite well and Jones was phenomenal for a rookie. Very impressed with Jones in his first game. I would imagine that Ellis starts tomorrow night and if Trotz doesn’t get the consistency that he wants Piskula will be called up. But something needs to be done on defense or it’s going to be a long, long season.
NSH: 5:09 – Legwand from Hornqvist
Filip Forsberg (Forward, lower body), Ryan Ellis (Healthy, Defenseman)
SOG: NSH – 30, STL – 28
PP: NSH 0/3, SJS 2/4
St. Louis scratches:
Cracknell, Cole, Paajarvi
St. Louis starters:
Steen – Backes – Oshie
Morrow – Roy – Stewart
Schwartz – Berglund – Tarasenko
Sobotka – Lapierre – Bouwmeester