Rinne, Preds Blank Caps 3-0; Finish Preseason 4-2-0
scored a pair of third period goals and Pekka Rinne
made 22 saves to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center. Cal O'Reilly
and Steve Sullivan
also chipped in two-point games for the Predators.
|Well, make it three-for-three in second half of the preseason. The Preds coaches and hockey ops stated going in to camp that the three intra-squad scrimmages and first three preseason games would be heavily focused on individual performances and setting up the organizational depth chart; the final three preseason games would be more focused on winning and getting the Opening Night roster ready to go for the start of the regular season.
Heading into the final days before the Preds have to announce their Opening Night roster it appears as if the competition is down to a battle between six players for three spots. Aaron Johnson and Alex Sulzer appear to be competing for a final spot on defense (though the Preds could opt to send both to the AHL and open the season with just six defensemen) and forwards Jonas Andersson, Sergei Kostitsyn, Jamie Lundmark, and Cal O’Reilly appear to be in competition for the final two slots up front (possibly three forward slots if Nashville opens with six defensemen). Of those six, only O’Reilly was in the lineup for Sunday’s preseason finale. O’Reilly made the most of his opportunity, though, figuring in the scoring of both of Nashville’s even strength goals, including netting the game-winner.
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--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
Nashville finished its preseason with a 4-2-0 record, including wins in each of its last three games. This was Washington's lone loss of the preseason as the Caps wrapped up with a 5-1-0 mark.
After a scoreless first period, O'Reilly netted the game's opening goal at the 11:58 mark of the second frame, O'Reilly's first goal of the preseason. Patric Hornqvist
and Sullivan assisted on the play.
Ward's unassisted shorthanded goal 7:42 into the third period extended Nashville's lead to 2-0. Ward closed out the scoring almost five minutes later with an even strength goal assisted by O'Reilly and Sullivan.
Rinne had a balanced performance, making eight saves in the first period and seven saves in each of the final two frames. Michal Neuvirth started in net for Washington and stopped all 13 shots he faced before giving way to Dany Sabourin at the midpoint of the second period. Sabourin finished with 12 saves on 15 shots.
Nashville returns to action on Saturday, October 9 when the Predators host the Anaheim Ducks on Opening Night in Smashville. Pregame party activities start at 3:45 pm on the Bridgestone Arena plaza.