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Mully's Musings: vs. Washington

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 10:55 PM CT / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Mully\'s Musings: vs. Washington
Call it what you will.

The most entertaining game the Nashville Predators have played this season? The most nerve racking? The gutsiest?

For the coaches and players, only one thing mattered. The victory.

The Preds played a thriller against Washington on Tuesday, battling through a late deficit to win 3-1 over the Capitals at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne was unflappable and, at times, unbelievable, and Washington goalie Tomas Vokoun – a former Pred – was nearly as good.

The Capitals broke through first when Troy Brouwer gave his team a 1-0 lead with 4:46 to go in regulation. But Nashville stormed right back 28 seconds later when Captain Shea Weber made a perfect pass to Martin Erat, who tied it at 1-1. And there would be no overtime session. With 24.3 seconds to go, Erat made a pretty pass to a streaking Colin Wilson who scored the game-winner. Weber added an empty-net goal.

The win was significant on several fronts. The Capitals entered with some of the world’s most elite players and Nashville wanted to continue to grab points at home after earning one against Montreal on Saturday. Alexander Ovechkin, who some believe is the best player in the world, finished with a -2 rating and didn’t record a point. Same for Nicklas Backstrom.

Nashville will try to continue its winning ways when Toronto comes to town on Thursday. But first, here are the musings…


THREE MUSINGS
Hard to put into words: When asked about Rinne’s performance, Nashville coach Barry Trotz had difficulty finding the words to describe it. Some of the players did, too. It was a night of highlight reel stops, athletic moves, and unmatched focus. He made 39 of 40 saves, and time and time again came up big in the biggest moments. The Capitals were on the power play at the end of the first, and Rinne made a great, sprawling save on a shot by Brooks Laich. He made four great saves in the first four minutes of the third to keep it at 0-0. One came when the Capitals were on a 2-on-1 early in the third. Ovechkin fired a shot, but Rinne made a great glove save. After each stellar performance, it is difficult to imagine how Rinne can top it. And then he does.

Weber up to the task: Trotz made no secret about wanting to match Weber and Ryan Suter against Washington’s top line, and it obviously worked. Weber had 22:06 of ice time, which is well below his average, but he used the extra ‘rest’ to go all out each time Washington’s best offensive weapons hit the ice. He had a big check on Ovechkin and sent a message, but knew when to play smart when his team needed him. His assist to Erat was perfect, and his defensive effort alongside Suter was top notch.

Erat shining: It took some veteran smarts and moves to earn Nashville the two points, and Erat was directly in the middle of it. He scored the goal to tie it 1-1 late in the third, and made a pretty pass to Wilson from behind the net to set up the game-winner. Erat has seven points in nine games this season, and if he remains healthy, the Predators will keep looking to him at crucial times.


THREE QUOTES
F Colin Wilson on Rinne: “Unbelievable. There’s a reason he got signed up for seven more years. You see how valuable he is. It’s too bad he doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves from around the league. I don’t know how you can play any better than that.”

G Pekka Rinne: “This home stand is important for us. It showed that resiliency that we’ve been known to have, going back to last year. We never seem to panic anymore. That’s a good sign. We just keep going at it.”

Barry Trotz: “Our big-time players stepped up and played tough when the game was on the line.”


THREE STARS
G Pekka Rinne, Nashville: Made 39 of 40 saves
D Shea Weber, Nashville: 2 points, +3 rating
F Martin Erat, Nashville: 1 goal, 1 assist, +3 rating

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