by Taylor Parks
The Nashville Predators continued their franchise record winning streak when the Anaheim Ducks came to town on Thursday nights. While Anaheim looks for ways to get into the playoffs, the Predators look to continue to put space between them in the entire Western Conference.
It would not take long for the Predators to energize Bridgestone arena as Craig Smith got the scoring started at 5:26 of the 1st period off a beautiful feed from Kyle Turris. The JOFA line would continue the hot start with the second goal of the period coming from Ryan Johansen with assists from the other two members of the his line. After some physical play from both sides, the Predators would take a 2-0 lead into the 1st intermission.
The 2nd period showed Nashville continuing to press offensively, but it would take over 18 minutes for the Predators to add to their lead. At 18:42, Mr Shorthanded himself Austin Watson poked in a shorthanded goal off of a great effort from Colton Sissons and Ryan Ellis. On the next faceoff, two familiar foes dropped the gloves with Ryan Johansen and Ryan Kesler both got 5 for fighting.
Anaheim began to tilt the ice in the favor in the third period, actually making It a one goal game with two goals from Duck’s forward Rickard Rakeell. After some tense moments and some great play by Rinne, the JOFA line, led by Victor Arvidsson would strike once again with under 2 minutes to go to put the game away and record their record 10th straight victory by a score of 4-2.
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Things We Learned
JOFA Hitting Their Stride
Whether it be injuries, suspensions, or just off nights, we have waited the majority of the year to see the JOFA line spark with the magic we saw during last season’s cup run. Tonight showed another giant step in the right direction for the trio of talented forwards. You could tell a difference in play when they were on the ice, and you also have to appreciate the grit that Ryjo showed. It’s been some time since our first line center got a Gordie Howe hat trick.
Rinne Shouldn’t Win Vezina.
Put your pitchforks and fire down. In my opinion, there isn’t a goalie in the entire league who should beat out Rinne for the Vezina trophy. but I think he deserves much greater recognition. He is ranked 2nd in the league with 37 wins (with 6 fewer games played than the top contender) and he bosts a .928 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.28. With those types of numbers and his caliber of play this year, he should win the Hart trophy, no questions asked. When you think about an MVP of a team, nothing signifies that greater than Pekka Rinne.
How Long Can the Streak Go?
The Predators continue to win, and they continue to do it without their captain Roman Josi and with a top line player getting a maintenance day nearly every night. So realistically, how long can they keep this up? They face a very fast team Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils with Hart Trophy canidate Taylor Hall, and follow up with another huge showdown against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. By no means are those wins guaranteed, but its hard to imagine this team losing unless they just have an off night. If they continue to play like this, don’t be surprised to see this winning streak for another week.
Photo Credit to the Sportsnet.CA/The AP