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Mully's Musings: Oct. 1 vs. Carolina

Saturday, 10.1.2011 / 11:14 PM CT / Training Camp Central
By Bryan Mullen
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Mully\'s Musings: Oct. 1 vs. Carolina
The exhibition season is finally over.

Now the Nashville Predators will see if they can carry over the success they had into the regular season. Nashville concluded the preseason by going 7-1-0 overall and winning its final six games. On Saturday night, the Predators beat Carolina 2-1 at Bridgestone Arena when Craig Smith scored the game-winner with just 10.3 remaining in overtime.

The Predators exit the preseason without any major injuries and are poised to start strong. Let’s start the musings …

This is becoming repetitive: Craig Smith is not intimidated and could be a force for the Predators this season. Sound familiar? It seems every time the talented young forward steps on the ice for Nashville, good things happen. His overtime game-winning goal drew raves from the coaching staff, and not just because it obviously won the game. It was because he made a smart and controlled play even though it was a desperation moment. Another big plus deals with the dressing room. Smith is not a brash hotspot with entitlement issues. He’s a perfect fit for the Predators for multiple reasons.

Rinne is ready: No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne is ready for the regular season and said he wants to improve on 2010-11 when he was a Vezina Trophy finalist. He didn’t face too many shots and stopped 20 of 21. The lone goal he allowed was fluky. It came from the stick of Carolina’s Bryan Allen in the first period. It was a soft shot from a long distance soft shot, but Rinne thought it was tipped and was going high over the net. At the last moment, he saw it and said he tried to block with his head, but it was too late. It was one of those rare moments for Rinne, and nothing should be read into it. He is poised once again to be one of the NHL’s top goaltenders.

Ellis makes a case: Ryan Ellis played arguably his best game of the exhibition season and is forcing the coaching staff and management to make a tough decision. As of Saturday night, a decision had not been made if he will remain in Nashville or will be sent to Milwaukee. He set up Patric Hornqvist’s goal in the third by blasting a shot on the power play and was solid on defense. Even if Ellis does start the season in Milwaukee, expect him to be back in Nashville at some point this season.


Three Quotes
G Pekka Rinne: “Going 7-1, with players battling for all the open spots on the roster, I think that’s a great thing. It adds confidence to the whole team, and not just the players but for the coaches and management.”

Coach Barry Trotz: “Our strength is our numbers. We’re like a pack of wolves. We’re going to come after you.”

F Craig Smith on the overtime goal: “I used (Colin) Wilson as a screen. When he came across he actually screened the goalie for about half a second there and I shot it off his backside. It was a great play by Wilson and I just got it on net.”


Three Stars
1. F Craig Smith: Game-winning goal as he confidence continues to soar

2. G Pekka Rinne: Stopped 20 of 21 shots and is itching to start the regular season

3. D Ryan Ellis: Had an assist, five shots and made a case to start the season in Nashville

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Wilson 14 5 8 8 13
R. Josi 14 1 8 -6 9
R. Johansen 14 4 4 0 8
J. Neal 14 4 4 1 8
M. Fisher 14 5 2 -1 7
M. Ekholm 14 3 4 2 7
S. Weber 14 3 4 -7 7
R. Ellis 14 0 6 0 6
F. Forsberg 14 2 2 -11 4
M. Salomaki 14 1 1 2 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 7 7 0 .906 2.63
C. Hutton 0 0 0 .667 3.00