Preying on Flightless Ducks
The Nashville Predators opened their 2010-2011 season by welcoming the Anaheim Ducks into the sold-out Bridgestone Area. With a new captain and a younger look to the team it felt good to get the season underway.
With the drop of the puck the first period started and the Preds looked good. Within the first 5 minutes it was already evident that this year’s incarnation of the Nashville Predators was going to be a lot faster. The forwards were able to breeze by the Ducks defenseman at points and set up chances in the slot but were unable to capitalize. IT was not all roses though in the first as just 16 seconds in Ryan Suter was penalized for holding but they managed to put that behind them and move forward. Both goalies looked strong in net with Rinne making 9 saves and Hiller making 16 as the first period came to a close.
Then came the second period which opened things up between the two clubs. First Goc managed to roof one as he was given a bouncing feed from Tootoo and Franson that he was able to settle. Then just over 1 minute later the Ducks responded with Saku Koivu wristing one home past Rinne with Selanne and Folwer getting the assists. With that goal came the Nashville offense as from that point on the game became all Nashville except for a 45 second 5-3 that the ducks had later in the period but were unable to capitalize on it. About 3 minutes after Koivu had tied the game the Predators responded on the power play as Sullivan ripped on home from the point from Weber and Suter to give them the lead. Then with 4 minutes left in the period Hornqvist batted in puck in mid air off a Weber shot to make it 3-1.
With 40 minutes in the books, the third period was all ready to begin. It started with a bang as just 2 minutes in Bodie and Bouillon ran into Rinne and a scrum ensued. Rinne at that point was taken out of the game and Lindback was brought in relief. This was Lindback’s first ever taste of an NHL regular season game and faired quite well as he stopped all 7 shots he faced. The period was full of back and forth plays until Legwand scored with 8 minutes left to wrap it up and make it 4-1. He was able to get his own rebound off a pass from Dumont to put the game out of reach. The game ended with Hiller making 45 saves on 49 shots and Rinne with 29 saves on 30 shots.
Tonight’s game was a good way to start the season by getting a win and establishing the offense. They were able to get pucks in deep and fore-check all night. For most of the game the slot seemed open for the Preds as they had most of their early scoring attempts come from right about the circle. The Ducks seemed really chippy and early on looked to be getting frustrated by the quick breakout and defence.
Some players I thought had a good game for the Preds were Weber, as he ended the night with 8 shots and two assists. Sullivan as was very noticeable as he seemed to have good chemistry with Hornqvist and created quite a few chances. Lombardi had a very impressive first game as his speed really showed and was able at time to make something out of nothing.
Players that disappointed me were O’Reilly as his two wingers caused havoc he seemed to go unnoticed but made nothing of it. With hornqvist making space for him and Sullivan, I expect for him to take shots as he had 0 on the night.
Wilson had a good game early on in the first but then for some reason was bumped to the fourth line and not until the third did Trotz send him back to be with Erat and Lombardi did I notice him again.
Only real concern for the night is Rinne as I hope to see him back for the next game against Chicago as they really need him and cannot afford to be without him for too long as they don’t have another goalie with NHL experience.
Thanks for reading and have a good weekend.
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