The Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a 4-1 score in front of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena. What did we learn from opening night?
There was a great crowd at the Bridge on Saturday Night. I was very pleased to see that there was a substantial amount of people in the arena for warm-ups. There was a definite buzz and feeling of excitement in the building that I felt from the moment I walked in. It was a great crowd and we were alive all night.
The special teams performed reasonably well on Saturday night. They notched 1 power-play goal in 6 trys but two of the powerplays were in the last few minutes when all the Preds were trying to do was kill the clock. The Preds got 16 shots on goal during the power-play which, I thought, was a very good sign. The penalty kill played extremely well tonight. They didn't give many lanes to shoot the puck and the killed of a 5 on 3 penalty. Overall, the Preds looked very good on the special teams front tonight.
Nashville notched 49 shots on goal. 49. That's a very encouraging sign to start the season. In the past we've gotten on to them for making "the extra pass." On Saturday night, they very rarely made the extra pass. They put the puck on the net. Weber had 8 shots. Goal scorers on the night were Goc, Sullivan, Hornqvist, and Legwand. I picked Goc to be the breakout player and he's off to a good start!
Kevin Klein worries me. He was truly awful on Saturday night. And this isn't me just speaking out of rage of his play last year. Klein got consistently beat last night and it's something that I think is going to be a problem. He was in bad position all night, he seems to be absolutely terrified to stand someone up when they're coming down along the boards, and he looks to be our worst defenseman by a considerable margin. I think it's something that Trotz and the staff are going to have to look at throughout the season because Klein hasn't gotten any better at all and it's going to cost us some games like it did last year.
PEKKA RINNE/ANDERS LINDBACK
Pekka Rinne really looked good last night until he had to leave the game with a "lower-body injury." He stopped 29 of 30 shots and didn't give up rebounds. Pekka's looking sharp and I hope he's able to come back quickly. He's listed as day-to-day. In is absence, Anders Lindback came in and stopped 7 out of 7 shots and really wasn't tested that much. The shots came from out wide and far away. The defense really locked up when Pekka went out. Lindback looked pretty good though.
ONE GAME AT A TIME
It's an old cliche, but it's something that the Predators are going to have to live by this year. We had a great opening night and, in all honesty, really dominated the Anaheim Ducks. That's great. It's over with. Now we have Chicago. We have to put the Anaheim game behind us and focus on the Blackhawks. We have to take each game that we play and put it behind us whether we win or lose. The next game is always the most important game. Getting 2 points in these games is just as important as getting 2 points in games at the end of March. We have to focus and bring are A-game to Chicago because, let's face it, we really really really want to beat them and so do the boys.
Overall, it was a really good night besides Kevin Klein. We've had our day to celebrate and now it's time to focus on the winless Chicago Blackhawks. Let's go get em boys.