Nashville might have given up the first goal of the game, but it was patience and, in overtime, impatience that won out for the Nashville Predators to finish with only one loss out of seven pre-season campaigns.
Powerplay – 1 for 7, 14.28%
Penalty Kill – 6 for 6, 100%
Best Play of the Game: The overtime winner by Craig Smith. He would not go away and fought valiantly in the Hurricanes end not once, not twice, but trice to knock the puck loose to Wilson who left it behind for Smith to bury in a small, goalie-screened window.
Worst Play of the Game: The soft wrister put on net by Bryan Allen that beat Rinne for the 1-0 lead in the first five minutes of the third period.
#1-Craig Smith-Game-winning Overtime Goal
#2-Pekka Rinne-20 Saves
#3-Brian Boucher-41 Saves
This being the last pre-season game of the year and the penultimate moment before roster cuts are made tends to have a positive effect on players wanting to make the opening night roster. Trotz stated a resounding “no” in the post-game when asked if Craig Smith was going to be sent to Milwaukee, and it’s hard to imagine he would after Smith’s excellent showing of defensive ability and offensive prowess throughout the game and especially in the overtime period.
The Predators did send down as of tonight Chris Mueller and Gabriel Bourque to the Admirals. Judging by tonight’s performance, it looks as if there may be a logjam at defenseman for the 5 and 6 slot. I predict Hillen and Laakso to stay with the Predators with Ekholm being the scratch in the press box and Ellis being the injury call-up.
The Predators showed a ton of fire and never quit attitude. The patience the squad utilized in the first two scoreless periods when the Predators should have cashed in on at least two attempts was remarkable. The impatience that Craig Smith showed at the end proved to be the determining factor that led to a couple turnovers and the eventual game-winner. It is a unique balance that Coach Trotz and the Predators fans have become all too familiar. Another trend that the fans could start to get used to is the 43 shots on net while only allowing 21 the other way. And all this was done without the Predators top defensive center (Legwand) and arguably the top defensive pair in the NHL (Weber and Suter).