Keeping Up the Pressure
In Game One, the Nashville Predators brought the pressure needed for the postseason. Dominating the shot count 48-19 was an impressive feat. The problem was that Connor Hallebuyck was phenomenal in net. Only allowing one goal against an offense that swarmed all night was incredible. He was, as advertised, the Vezina nominated player that we could expect in the second round of the NHL playoffs. Nashville has got to find a way to get better scoring chances, putting away rebounds, and taking away his eyes. Tonight is a must win and it all starts with figuring out the Jets netminder.
On the other end of the spectrum, Pekka Rinne was “meh” during Game One. He was giving up rebounds, dealing with traffic, and being caught out of place at the worst time. Rinne has got to be better in net against Winnipeg tonight. He has been extremely inconsistent this postseason compared to last year’s incredible run to the Stanley Cup Final. If Nashville expects to make it back, the Finnish goaltender, who has been the rock of this team for a long time, has got to live up to the Vezina nomination. The Predators will only go as far as Rinne takes them.
Coach Peter Laviolette has shown that he is not squeamish in pulling Rinne for the betterment of the team. We should be on the lookout for the Rinne we expect to see night in and night out.
Lay it ALL
During Friday’s contest, the Winnipeg Jets seemed to have taken a page out of the book of the Colorado Avalanche. There’s no big secret that the Nashville Predators want to get shots from their defensive corps and the forward put back rebounds. Winnipeg decided to lay it all on the line and blocked shots. The Jets absolutely dominated the block shots category during Game One with 26 total block shots. Nashville only had seven. It is time for the Nashville Predators to lay it ALL on the line. It’s time to block those shots and give Rinne some help. A loss tonight could be disastrous for the aspirations of the Preds.
Tonight is a pivotal part of the series. If Winnipeg goes up 2-0, it could be an uphill climb for Smashville. Be sure to catch all of the action on NBCSN or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 6:00 pm!