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Mully's Musings: Oct. 8 at St. Louis

Saturday, 10.8.2011 / 10:43 PM CT / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Mully\'s Musings: Oct. 8 at St. Louis
Back-to-back road games, two wins, both coming against division opponents.

That’s how you open the regular season.

The Nashville Predators were in a hole early, broke two ties in the third, and went on to defeat St. Louis 4-2 at Scottrade Center on Saturday night. Rookie Craig Smith and defenseman Kevin Klein scored goals, and veteran David Legwand had two, including an empty-netter. Then there was another standout performance by goaltender Pekka Rinne. Nashville (2-0-0) gets some much deserved rest and won’t play until Thursday, when the home opener takes place in a gold-filled Bridgestone Arena.

Before Saturday’s game, Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter said the St. Louis matchup would be a tough one considering the Predators were coming off a grueling win at Columbus the night before. Well, it sure wasn’t easy, but the two points will ease the soreness. On to the musings …

Three Musings
Legwand poised: With all the talk about the Predators’ youth, Legwand served a reminder that the veterans are still more than capable of producing. Legwand, 31, had two goals and two assists. His first came on the power play in the third, which put the Preds up 2-1. He had an empty-netter with 1:02 to essentially seal the victory. Legwand’s four points tied a career-high. The last time he had four points in a game came on Jan. 20, 2007 when he had three goals and an assist against Chicago.

OK, how old is this kid?: Rookie Craig Smith (for the record, he turned 22 on Sept. 5) once again forces himself into the musings. He scored Nashville’s first goal to knot it at 1-1 at 11:37 of the second. He put back a rebound after a huge blast by Shea Weber, and it came on the power play (more on that in a moment). Smith also had a goal in the season-opener at Columbus on Friday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Smith is the first Predators player to score a goal in each of his first two NHL games. He is the first NHL player to do so since David Laliberte (Oct./Nov. 2009). And he is one of only four active NHL players to have achieved the feat.

Power play: Nashville was No. 26 out of 30 teams last regular season in power play percentage (15.2). If the first two games are any indication, expect the Predators to jump up several spots in 2011-12. Through two games, Nashville has had seven power play opportunities and has scored three times. Two came at St. Louis (Smith, Legwand). Expect this to level out a bit, but if the power play becomes a strength for Nashville this season, watch out.


Three Stars
F David Legwand: Had four points (2g-2a) to tie a career-high
F Craig Smith: Scored Nashville’s first goal and added two assists in 14:28
G Pekka Rinne: Stopped 31 of 33 shots and once again was at his best late


One Quote
G Pekka Rinne: “We faced a good team. They had some momentum going on and we played desperate hockey and won. It’s going to be an exciting year for our division this year, for sure. It seems like every single night it’s going to be a tight game. And that’s the way we like it.”

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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33