by Taylor Parks
The Predators invaded KeyBank Center to take on the Buffalo Sabres for a Monday night contest that displayed two very different franchises: Nashville, riding a 14 game point streak and leading the NHL in points while Buffalo have the second lowest point total in the entire NHL.
The Predators and Sabres would play pretty competitively throughout the first period, and thanks to some stand out goaltending by Pekka Rinne, were able to take a 0-0 score into the first intermission.
Nashville would finally get going in the second period as the Preds would tally twice in the second frame. The first would be tallied by Mike Fisher (2) after he deflected a great point shot from Mikka Salomaki. Five minutes later, at the 17:03 mark, the JOFA line would strike to double the lead. Ryan Johansen would be given credit for the goal, with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson contributing assists on the goal.
The Predators would continue to dominate play down the stretch and despite some great play by the Sabres’ goaltender Linus Ullmark, would add to their lead as Filip Forsberg would score his 21st of the year. With the game well in hand, Ryan Hartman would send the Sabres fans out the doors early with his 11th goal with only 24 seconds remaining in the game.
With the 4-0 victory Pekka Rinne would tally his 51st career shutout (8th of the year with 5 coming on the road), the team their 15th straight game with a point, and a NHL leading 106 points. The Predators will be back in Smashville on Thursday night as they host the surprise Toronto Maple Leafs.
Things We Learned
Nothing new here folks.
Predators continue to beat anyone who gets put on the ice against them even though they continue to rest players NBA style. They also continue to get Hart Trophy caliber play from Pekka Rinne. You can’t ask this team to do much more then they are doing, and they seem to be doing it in almost a “business as usual” fashion. The only concern is they may be playing too well too early, but I’m willing to take that chance.
Pekka “Vezina” Rinne
I still have no clue how this is still a debate. Rinne’s biggest contest is the goaltender from Tampa Bay Andrei Vasilevskiy, but he and the Lightning have been struggling as of late. You can look at stats, you can look wins, you can look at anything you want, but I see no way that baring something ridiculous down the stretch that Rinne won’t win his first Vezina trophy this year. If not, the GMs will definitely have some explaining to do.
Depth is Key
Not only is depth at each position a huge pulse for this Predators team, but depth in scoring as well. The Preds have gotten at least 10 goals from 14 players (Ryan Ellis has 7 in 34 games played) and four have 20 goals. That a great distribution of their 231 goals. They could also conceivably have 8 players with 50 points this season. This means that opponents have to account for every forward line and defensive pairing and that makes the Preds a serious threat.
Photo Credit: Nov. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)