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Mully's Musings: vs Calgary

Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 10:37 PM CT / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Mully\'s Musings: vs Calgary
It was Dec. 6 and the Nashville Predators had just lost 3-2 to Phoenix.

It was not a good time for the club. The team had just lost three of its last four games and was slipping in the standings. The Preds faced Columbus in the next game. Nashville pulled out a had-to-see-it-to-believe-it victory in overtime. Now, the Preds are on a three-game winning streak. In short, that’s life in the National Hockey League.

Nashville continued its hot streak on Tuesday and handed a 2-1 defeat to Calgary at Bridgestone Arena despite a late push from the Flames. The Preds’ power play remained one of the best in the league, Nashville was aggressive on offense, and the team received stellar play from its star goaltender. And although it may be easy to overlook, Matt Halischuk’s goal at 11:43 of the first period was huge for Nashville from a momentum standpoint.

The Preds won’t get much of a breather before hosting rival Detroit on Thursday. But before we look too far ahead, let’s get to the musings…


THREE MUSINGS
Superpower: Nashville is not known as a traditional power when it comes to the power play. As it stands now, however, the team is among the league’s elite. After Tuesday's game, the Preds were third in the NHL in power play percentage (20.8%). Nashville went 1-for-3 with the man advantage against the Flames, and the goal came when Colin Wilson scored at 3:31 of the third to give his team a 2-1 lead. The goal was set up by a shot from Craig Smith from the high slot, which rebounded off Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. Nashville coach Barry Trotz and his staff have been tinkering with the power play and have made all the correct in-game adjustments. The Preds have now scored a power play goal in six consecutive games, going 8-for-17 during the string.

Shoot and score: It’s one of the most basic messages a coach can give his players. If you shoot the puck more often, the chances of scoring increase. Take Tuesday night. Kiprusoff was outstanding in net and made several spectacular saves. But the numbers caught up with him. Nashville fired 45 shots, led by Craig Smith’s seven. With three minutes to go in the second, Nashville had already amassed 35 shots. In the first period alone, the Preds had 18 shots. During this three-game winning streak, Nashville has outshot its opponents 95-77.

At his best late: It could be argued that Kiprusoff was the best goalie on the ice on Tuesday, but Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne was outstanding and made several key stops late in the game when the Flames pulled Kiprusoff for the extra attacker. With 22.2 seconds to go in regulation, Rinne made a big save when Jay Bouwmeester got a hard shot on net. Rinne also made two athletic saves with 1:30 remaining. And with 6:38 to go in regulation, Brendan Morrison had a great scoring chance, but Rinne made the stop to keep Nashville’s lead at 2-1. In all, Rinne stopped 35 of 36 shots and made the saves when Nashville needed them most.


THREE QUOTES
F Colin Wilson: “Kiprusoff is really quick and moves side to side really well. You’re not going to beat him with the first shot. You have to be there for the second one.”

G Pekka Rinne: “It was a typical game against Calgary. There have been a lot of low-scoring games between us. They played a strong game. I thought we had one of our better games of the season. It was a strong game all around. Calgary came strong at the end, but we held our ground.”

Barry Trotz: “We talked about (shooting more often). Kiprusoff is such a good goalie. You want to put a lot of pucks toward the net. You want to create chances. You can’t get too fine. They’ve been playing too well, and he’s been playing too well. You have to get volumes of pucks at him and have some net presence.”


THREE STARS
G Pekka Rinne, Nashville: Stopped 35-of-36 shots
G Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary: Stopped 43-of-45 shots
F Colin Wilson, Nashville: Game-winning goal
SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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