Usually, when a team has a two goal lead going into the final minute of play, you would think that would be safe. Well, on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena, we saw that it wasn’t true. The Preds witnessed a late 2-0 lead vanish within a matter of 12 seconds. The Florida Panthers were able to get late goals from Rocco Grimaldi (1) and Nick Bjugstad (7) to tie it late. After five minutes into overtime, the game went to a shootout. The Preds were able to come out on top due to Pekka Rinne’s stellar performance and a goal from none other than Filip Forsberg in the 4th round of the shootout. Tonight, the Preds look to take down the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Los Angeles Kings.
The Los Angeles Kings (11-6-4), in their latest outing, struggled against the Dallas Stars. All-World netminder, Jonathan Quick, struggled giving up 5 goals, two of which were scored on the powerplay. At one point of the game, the Kings were down 5-2 but were able to claw back. Offensively, this team has lots of fire power. Los Angeles has six players with at least 10 points and are being led by Tyler Toffoli with a total of 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists). Kitchener, ON, Canada native, Tanner Pearson leads the team with 9 goals and is a young, yet promising forward for the Kings.
Keys to watch
A Goalie Fan’s Dream Match-up
If you like to watch goalie play, tonight will be the night to head out to Bridgestone Arena. You will have two of the best in the world between the pipes in Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick. Let’s look at the stats:
Wins: Pekka Rinne-1st (13 wins) Jonathan Quick-6th (10 wins) Advantage-Pekka Rinne
GAA: Pekka Rinne-5th (1.92 GAA) Jonathan Quick-14th (2.22 GAA) Advantage-Pekka Rinne
SV%: Pekka Rinne-7th (.930) Jonathan Quick-5th (.932) NO ADVANTAGE
These two players are some of the best and it will be an interesting matchup, to say the least. Pekka Rinne might have the statistical advantage in wins, GAA, but you can never overestimate the ability of Jonathan Quick. There is a reason that the LA Kings have won 2 out of the last 3 Stanley Cup Championships. Two words-Jonathan. Quick.
Since last we discussed the Preds PP on Penalty Box Radio, we have seen some improvement of the powerplay from the Preds. Currently, the team is ranked 24th in the NHL with a 14.8 PP%. With a concerted effort being placed on Nashville’s struggling special teams, there has been some improvement. Now, does the Powerplay need work? Absolutely. The Predators are seeing opportunities, at times, and other times it seems as though the opponent is on the PP when they have the man advantage. Another note of emphasis is the lack of PP production at home. In nine games at home this year, the Preds have scored one PP goal.
Thank you, Martin Erat!
In 2013, when Preds fans learned of Martin Erat wanting to get out of Nashville, many were devastated. What would the organization do? When the deal with the Washington Capitals was made, many, including myself, had heard of Filip Forsberg, but did not know much about this young talent… and the rest is history. Erat has seen many struggles going from team to team, and Forsberg is currently leading Nashville in points. From many Preds fans across this planet, I would like to say thank you, Martin Erat, for your service to the organization, but also for giving us Filip Forsberg.
The Preds look to get back to work tonight and take down the LA Kings. If, for some reason, you can’t make it out to Bridgestone Arena, you can catch the game of FS-TN or listen live to 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00pm!