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Mully's Musings: vs St. Louis

Saturday, 12.17.2011 / 11:55 PM / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Mully\'s Musings: vs St. Louis
If your favorite team is about to face the Nashville Predators, here’s something you should know. Give the Preds any chance to be in the game late, any shred of a thread to hang from, and they will make you pay.

Saturday, it was St. Louis’ turn.

Nashville was thoroughly outshot for most of regulation, managed one goal in three periods, went to overtime, then won in the shootout when David Legwand lifted a back-hander past Jaroslav Halak. The sold-out crowd of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena witnessed another nail biter as the Preds moved their winning streak to five games. This was the 10th consecutive one-goal game for Nashville, and its record is 7-3-0 during that stretch.

It wasn’t always pretty, but there are no pictures in the standings. Nashville earned two more points against one of the Western Conference’s hottest teams and closed out its four-game homestand in style.

Let’s muse...


Rinne stellar once again: It’s almost come to the point where observers have to remind themselves that Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne’s night-in, night-out performances are remarkable. It can sometimes be taken for granted how great of a player he is because of his high-level of consistency. Rinne was once again peppered with shots and he stopped 39 of 40. The only one he gave up was a power play goal by T.J. Oshie. He also stopped all three of St. Louis’ shots in the shootout. Rinne is living up to the big contract he recently signed, and the looks of frustration from opponents are becoming routine. Simply put, Nashville does not win this game if Rinne was above average. He had to be outstanding, and that is why the Preds continued their winning streak.

Fisher a quiet catalyst: When Mike Fisher was acquired by Nashville last season, much was made about his experience and smart play. A perfect example took place during a key moment in the third period. Seconds after a Nashville penalty expired, Fisher gained control of the puck, held it through the neutral zone, and waited for his teammates to make a push. Under complete control, he fed a pass to Shea Weber, who found Martin Erat near the net who scored an easy goal. It was the type of play that Nashville’s inexperienced players can learn from, and a prime reason why Fisher’s role with the Preds continues to pay off big.

Home ice and a streak: To say Nashville has dominated its opponents during this five-game win streak would be misleading. But it’s equally – if not more – impressive to see the way the Preds are winning. They faced two of the NHL’s hottest teams in the last two games (Detroit, St. Louis) and hung in the entire game when things were not going their way. Against the Blues, they were outshot 14-2 in the first period, and 29-13 through two periods. Didn’t matter. Call it moxie, grit, or determination. Further, after the team lost some veteran players following last season, the Preds are appearing to gel. During training camp, Nashville General Manager David Poile said this team would be better in the second half of the season than in the first. If that holds true, Preds fans could be in store for a special ride.


THREE QUOTES
F David Legwand on shootout goal: “We pre-scout. It was nice to have the opportunity and score one for Pekka. He stood strong and gave us the opportunity to be there in the end.”

G Pekka Rinne on shootout: “This year it seems like all our games have been decided in regulation. It’s a little bit different when you’re in the shootout. You just try and stay calm and not do too much.”

Barry Trotz: “It was hard to get shots but you have to have the mindset that you want to shoot it. It was a hard fought two points. It really was a test to see where we were, especially against the last two teams we faced.”


THREE STARS
G Pekka Rinne, Nashville: Stopped 39-of-40 shots, stopped all 3 in SO
F Mike Fisher, Nashville: 1 assist, +1 rating, team-high 21:37 for forwards
F T.J. Oshie, St. Louis: 1 goal, 24:11, 4 shots


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