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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
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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

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61