Players and coaches have been saying it all season: put together a 60-minute effort and the Nashville Predators will win. On Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators, the Nashville Predators put together a solid effort on both sides of the puck in a 3-1 victory.
The first period was full of close chances for Nashville, but they just couldn’t bury them. What got the crowd at Bridgestone Arena really going was a stellar save on Bobby Ryan by goaltender Pekka Rinne following a mishap by defenseman Mattias Ekholm.
“Of course that gives you confidence, gets the crowds response,” said Rinne on the save. “It’s a big boost and you just battle to make that save and once in awhile you make that save. And I talked to Bobby Ryan afterwards and he wasn’t too happy.
Ekholm apologized to Rinne for what happened.
“He was telling me he laid down and thought it’s a goal for sure,” said Rinne. “And once he heard the crowd go nuts he was like, ‘Oh man you made that save!’ So he was just saying sorry, bad play. But that’s why I’m back there.”
Nashville also dominated 5-on-5 shot attempts in the first period by a tally of 24-15. Even though Ottawa outshot the Predators in the second period, Nashville tallied two goals. The first came from James Neal and the second, a bomb from downtown by P.K. Subban with plenty of traffic in front.
“Yeah, we played a full 60 and key for us is our second periods,” said Subban. “We’ve been having good starts and we seem to drop off in the second period. We didn’t do that tonight, we got some big goals, some timing goals and I felt we just kept the ball rolling. We were just focused on our next shift you know, shift after shift. They’re a good team they can create a good offense and they had their chances early, but [Pekka] stood on his head. So, it’s about parking it and getting ready for our next game. Start small.”
Aside for a short period of time in the third period where the Senators gave their best effort and notched a goal, it was Nashville’s game to lose. Overall, the defense made good plays protecting the net and keeping the puck out of the zone. The offense generated opportunities and controlled the puck the entirety of the game. And most importantly, Pekka Rinne performed the way he needs to in order for this team to succeed.
“He’s been great,” said Roman Josi on Rinne. “That save in the first period was huge for us. We were up one nothing and he made an unbelievable save. That huge for a team and it gave us the momentum and after that, we played a little better and got a few more chances, a couple more chances and we got the momentum.”
If Nashville can now string a few wins together, or at least continue to gain points in this home stance, they’ll be on the way to recovering from a terrible start.
“Yeah definitely, we need to get some wins and we did a good job tonight,” said Josi. “We had a lot of chances. We played a really good game for three periods and got rewarded.”
The Predators next play at home Thursday night against St. Louis.