On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators (29-9-4) hosted the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds were successful against the Canucks as they came out with a victory of 5-1. Nashville was able to get their points from Craig Smith-PPG (1st-04:07), Colin Wilson (1st-06:22, PPG-3rd-17:39), Filip Forsberg (3rd-13:32), and Mike Fisher (3rd-15:31). The only goal for Vancouver was by Alexander Edler (2nd-2:47). Of course, the big talk of the game was the injury sustained to Pekka Rinne. The All-World netminder was injured during the 3rd period.
Tonight, the Preds will take on the Washington Capitals (24-11-8), led by a man respected in Nashville, Barry Trotz.
The Caps come into the matchup after a 1-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. Jason Chimera scored the only goal, off of a deflection, at 3:13 of the 1st period. Braden Holtby was excellent in goal to secure the win.
Keys to Watch
The Return of Barry Trotz
All of the Nashville Predators’ Loyal Legion had tonight’s game circled on a calendar since schedules were released. Since the 1998-99 season, up until the end of last season, Barry Trotz was the coach. A man that has spent lots of time devoted to the city of Nashville, its fans, community outreach, and the state of Tennessee left. He has seen success in Washington as their new coach. Nashville is #1 in the league under Laviolette. Looking back, the “break-up” was best for both sides. Personally, it will be good to see Trotz back in Nashville. Now, the only question will be when Paul McCann is announcing lineups tonight, does Trotzy get the “HE SUCKS TOO”? I sure hope not.
Holtby Playing Well
Braden Holtby has played well this season under the Barry Trotz system and goaltender coach Mitch Korn. Holtby has 4 shutouts on the year with a 22-8-7 record and .924 SV%. In the last three games, the Caps netminder has only allowed 2 goals and has been the difference maker for Washington. Such as the system that was run in Nashville, Barry Trotz is getting great work out of his goaltender and Holtby is thriving under Trotz’s tutelage.
It’s time to discuss the elephant in the room. Not only is this a Key to Watch in tonight’s game, but for the foreseeable future. During the 3rd period, Pekka Rinne was injured on a play when Anton Volchenkov and Vancouver’s Chris Higgins collided into Rinne. Rinne had to leave the game due to the injuries he sustained. Carter Hutton came into the game and stopped the final 10 shots to seal the victory against the Canucks. Preds fans were on pins-and-needles waiting for the injury layout of Rinne. On Thursday, the Nashville Predators released the following statement:
During the third period of the Nashville Predators 5-1 victory on Tuesday night, goaltender Pekka Rinne sustained a sprained knee which will cause him to miss the next three to five weeks.
Rinne was injured in a collision at the 2:55-mark of the third period against Vancouver. Goaltender Carter Hutton stopped all 10 shots he faced in the final 17:05 of the win.
A 3-5 week window, a winless Carter Hutton, a newly recalled Marek Mazanec, and many other variables could cause some struggles amongst the NHL’s best team. Only time will tell whether, due to this injury, the team will be able to tread water and remain at the top of the league.
The Nashville Predators look to welcome Barry Trotz back into Bridgestone Arena, not without sending Barry back to Washington with a loss. For those that cannot make it out to the arena, you can watch the game on FS-Tennessee or you will have the opportunity to listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 PM.