Three takeaways from the Predators' shutout win over the Stars
For the first time since March 10th, a Nashville professional sports team played a game today!
Yes it might have been an exhibition for the Predators and the Dallas Stars to shake off some rust after a lengthy layoff, but after 142 days since their last game, man does it feel good to see the Preds back!
Despite the long break and having only a couple of weeks to prepare, the Preds looked sharp and for the third consecutive time, shutout the Dallas Stars. Two goals from Viktor Arviddson and a good showing from Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros helped Nashville get ready for the Arizona Coyotes.
Here are my three takeaways.
1. Intensity like a playoff game
The stats and the win won't be remembered, but every Predators player that stepped foot on the ice in Edmonton on Thursday treated the exhibition like it was the first round series against the Stars a season ago.
Nashville amassed 23 blocks, 25 hits, and 25 shots on goal in the win.
Ryan Ellis and Kyle Turris both risked life and limb to block shots in this game - a puck hit Ellis in the chin early in the first period - and captain Roman Josi had five blocks to lead the team.
2. The refreshing return of the JoFA line
For the first time this season, Viktor scored more than one goal in a game. The scrappy forward had a tough regular season before play was put on hold and had in fact gone 57 games without scoring more than once in a single game.
He looked like the Viktor Arvidsson of days past today and it was a treat to see. The same can be said of Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen.
Filip assisted on both Arvidsson goals and had the second most shots on goal - three - only behind Arvi's game high five. Though Johansen was not directly involved in any of the goals he won half his faceoffs and had two shots on goal.
Head coach John Hynes was happy with the chemistry between the three in training camp and that carried over into live action.
3. Two good options in net?
Pekka and Juuse both saw time in net and split the game pretty evenly. Saros started and played 30:32 while Rinne played the second half of the game.
Saros stopped all 12 shots he saw and Rinne saved 14 including a couple of big one-on-one chances. The assumption around the team is that Saros will get the majority of the time once the playoffs begin, but Rinne could and likely will start a game or two (if the Preds make it out of the qualifying round).
Saros has now played over 150 minutes in two and a half games without allowing a goal against the Stars. This is a promising sign of what's to come in the qualifying round against Arizona.
The Predators are on a four game wining streak now and they look ready for Sunday afternoon!