by Jackson Walsh
Wow, yet another win and yet another shutout for the Lil’ Dynamo himself, the man of the last 24 plus hours, the one and only Juuse Saros. His dominating 31 saves powered the Nashville Predators (7-1-0, 14 pts) over the Edmonton Oilers (3-3-0, 6 pts) to a 3-0 win Saturday night at Rogers Place.
Even though it was a mostly silent affair in the back end of this Western Canadian road trip, our Canadian defenseman P.K. Subban got the party started in the second period. After the Oilers got on the power play late in the period due to a Zac Rinaldo interference call, Subban took advantage of a loose puck leaking across the line to start a 2-on-1 with Colton Sissons and rifled his trademark shot past Cam Talbot and it’s 1-0 Predators at the 13:14 mark.
A minute and change later, at 14:42, it was Viktor Arvidsson who would light the lamp to pad the Preds lead, his fourth of the year off a 3-on-2 with Johansen and Bonino finding open net again. Two. To. Nothing.
From there, it was a pretty relaxing game, as the Oilers couldn’t get much to go on the night, only getting 9 shots on goal in the second period, then 18 in the third, and still couldn’t get anything done. There were a few power play opportunities, as each team had 8 penalty minutes each, but those two goals, plus a Roman Josi empty netter at the 19:07 mark in the third, did it for our boys this evening.
The big story, again, is Saros. All that early playing time that had us worried in the 2016-17 season is starting to pay off big time. Boasting a 24-14 all-time record thus far and starting this year off with a .917 save percentage, but four straight periods of shutout hockey so far, it’s safe to say he’s ready for the big time. Lavi said it all when he said the Juuse has given no reason for the club to think he can’t handle this.
He’ll get another chance to shine at Bridgestone Tuesday night when the Preds face the always sharp-shooting, hard-nosed San Jose Sharks. The competition will rise and fall in toughness, but this is what Saros has trained for. We hope to see Rinne get well soon, and back on the ice, but he’s got quite a clutch man in relief.