Rinne Stands Tall, Roy Scores Lone Shootout Goal
By Brett LaBombarda @bplabombarda
The Predators hosted a struggling Bruins squad that seems to be taking a step back this season. Boston has yet to win since getting its captain, Zdeno Chara back from injury two games ago. The twentieth and twenty-second teams – respectively, between Nashville and Boston – got off to a mild start, but a Brad Marchand penalty gave the Preds the first real opportunity to sustain pressure. After only one shot with the advantage and handing the advantage to Boston not long after, the first period ended a competitive albeit sloppy one at 0-0.
The Bruins were quickly vaulted back to the man advantage early in the second period. A Derek Roy hooking call gave the Bruins the best flurry of shots thrown at either goalie to that point. Pekka Rinne was not only sharp for two mintues, but looked spectacular at points. However, the same shift on which they killed the Roy penalty, Milan Lucic stuffed in a rebound as the play collapsed in front of Rinne. Through the first half, the second Bruins power play and the subsequent even strength goal were the separation point; the two teams were neck-and-neck at five on five.
The second Nashville power play came at 15:35 of the second and, although it produced some energy, the Bruins escaped without allowing a goal. The Preds chipped at Boston’s shot margin and again went on the power play with a minute left. This time a Shea Weber wrist shot from the right point found Mike Fisher on its way through Tuukka Rask. Through two, the game was 1-1.
Momentum carried over into the third period and after one minute and thirty-one seconds – and a lot of fortuitous fore checking – Ryan Ellis created a turnover into the slot where Mike Ribeiro hammered it home.
Not two minutes later, a turn over at the offensive point had the Preds’ defenseman chasing a two-on-one. Riley Smith made a move to the middle and tied the game. Things turned even worse as Colin Wilson took his second minor of the game and Boston was rolling.
Solid defense keeping the Bruins’ rush to the outside held the power play without a shot. This was a moment of resolve for Nashville as the stellar defensive play seemed to jump start the offense – instant pressure off of the penalty kill drew a power play, their fourth of the night. While advantage was fruitless, the Preds continued to press. The even strength shot attempt lead was Nashville’s since the middle of the second period, but a strong third period resulted in a lead in total shots on goal; a testament to their ability to sustain pressure on the opponent. Still, regulation would end knotted at 2.
Overtime saw each team trade clusters of shots with the Bruins utilizing three forwards and one defenseman during the four on four. With a little more than a minute left, a Milan Lucic steal at the Nashville blue line were the Bs’ best chances of the OT and forced Rinne to make his two best saves of the night. At the end of overtime, the goalies had really shone through.
Derek Roy started the shootout with a goal ala Peter Forsberg ala Kent Nilsson – it was the only goal of the shootout as the net minders again proved their worth and Rinne just barely bested Rask.
1. Mike Ribeiro (G)
2. Pekka Rinne (W, 33 SV)
3. Riley Smith (G)