The Nashville Predators and Pekka Rinne had been struggling to win games as of late. The Predators had not won in three games heading into Thursday night’s contest in Los Angeles, and Rinne had an 0-2-3 record on the season coming into the game. His luck changed on Thursday night.
Rinne got his first victory of the season as the Predators got a 2-1 shootout victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Rinne stopped 21 of 22 shots in regulation, two more in overtime and made some key saves in the shootout to keep the Predators alive.
Brandon Yip got the lone goal for the Predators in regulation, scoring just 58 seconds into the game off of a faceoff. Dustin Brown got the lone goal for the Kings in regulation when he got the rebound off the glass from a Drew Doughty shot that missed the net. It was an unfortunate play for the Predators, but they were able to play a solid defensive game and keep the game tied heading into the shootout.
The shootout lasted eight rounds, with Sergei Kostisyn eventually scoring the game-winner. However, Rinne made an unbelievable save on Simon Gagne prior to Kostitsyn’s game-winning goal to give the Predators a chance to end the game. For the first time this season, Rinne really looked like his dominant self. He was simply sensational in net all game long and kept the Predators afloat when they only had 11 shots on goal through regulation.
With the win, the Predators improve to 2-2-3 on the season and will take on the undefeated San Jose Sharks on Saturday night at HP Pavilion. Can the Predators end San Jose’s magical 7-0-0 run to start the season?
Five things about tonight’s game…
- Nashville still has a huge problem offensively. They’re not getting enough goals, and they’re not getting enough shots. The Predators had 11 shots in regulation.
- Defensively, the Predators were very solid. They had several blocked shots and broke up several passes in their own zone. It was the best game that the Predators have played all season from a defensive standpoint.
- The Predators finally reversed the trend in the shootout. David Legwand, Craig Smith, Gabriel Bourque and Sergei Kostitsyn all got goals for the Predators in the shootout. Bourque is showing that he is going to be a very valuable player for the Predators for years to come.
- Craig Smith’s shootout goal may get him rolling and reinstate some confidence. He’s not had a good start to the season, and that shootout goal may be exactly what he needed.
- Shea Weber started the game paired with Scott Hannan. He played with Roman Josi more and more as the game moved along, but it was an interesting decision by Barry Trotz to switch things up defensively. And it apparently worked.
Three stars of tonight’s game…
1. Pekka Rinne, NSH…He stopped 23 of 24 shots in regulation and overtime and was stellar in the shootout. It was a great effort from Nashville’s netminder.
2. Gabriel Bourque, NSH… Bourque had an assist on Brandon Yip’s goal in regulation and scored to keep the Predators alive in the shootout. He played a good game and responded well under pressure.
3. Dustin Brown, LAK… Brown scored the goal for the Kings in regulation and made an incredible move to score for the Kings in the shootout. He played a solid game.