On Thursday night, the Nashville Predators brought Pekka Rinne back into net after a small hiatus against the visiting Boston Bruins. The night’s evaluation of his play could determine the goaltender for the foreseeable future and any possible moves as we push towards the trade deadline.
The first period was absolutely dominated by Nashville with two goals, physical play, and great goaltending. An errant puck came to the stick of Craig Smith and he was able to bury the shot for a 1-0 lead at 2:51 of the first period. Nashville scored the second goal of the period on a rebound score from Filip Forsberg at 14:37.
The Predators would cruise to a 2-0 win. Pekka Rinne stopped 29 shots to push his record on the season to 21-18-8 and receive his third shutout of the 2015-16 campaign.
Keys to Watch
Two Elite Defensemen
Tonight’s matchup will have two of the best defensemen in the National Hockey League this season. Drew Doughty and Shea Weber are two of the leading candidates for this year’s Norris Trophy according to Bubs Malloy of My Top Sportsbooks. Both players are big, strong, and use their physical style of the play to advance their game. Doughty has 11 goals, 27 assists, 8 power-play goals, and 18 power-play points. Weber has 15 goals, 21 assists, 11 power-play goals, and 20 power-play points. Granted, today’s top defenseman must be the top offensive weapon on the blue line but both are physical in every aspect of their game. Expect these two dominating forces to play an important role in their team’s success.
Can Rinne Remain Consistent?
Pekka Rinne looked like the player from year’s past against the Bruins. He was catching the puck with precision and keeping his team out of danger. Thursday’s game was the best we have seen him in a long time. Boston was bringing as much pressure as they could to rattle Rinne, but to no avail. This team thrives on the success of their goaltender. Pekka Rinne is the guy in net and will continue to be as long as his play matches what we saw at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.
The Nashville Predators have needed someone to step up and bring an offensive flare. Insert: Filip Forsberg. Over the last five contests for the Preds, Forsberg has been an unstoppable force for Nashville. He has five goals and one assist over this span as the leading scorer as of recent. With help from Craig Smith, Forsberg has been flying around on the ice and played like the needed asset all Predators fans have desired this season. If he can keep up this style of play, the Nashville Predators will be a team to watch as we inch towards the post-season.
The Nashville Predators will look to continue their consistent, winning-brand of hockey as they welcome in the Los Angeles Kings. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm!