A game that finishes 1-0 on a Thursday night in November might not look like much on paper, but the return of a star player, a penalty-shot save in overtime and an OT winner from a rookie sensation, all on Thanksgiving no less, made for one of the most memorable contests from the Nashville Predators 2014-15 season.
The Preds defeated the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 27, 2014, at Bridgestone Arena, thanks to Filip Forsberg’s overtime tally, the only marker of the game. Goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped all 37 shots he faced, including a penalty shot against Jordan Eberle in overtime, for what was his 15th win of the season and 34th career shutout.
The night also marked the return of Preds forward Mike Fisher, who skated in his first outing of the season after suffering an Achilles injury while training during the summer of 2014.
With the victory completing the season sweep of the Oilers, there was plenty to be thankful for after Nashville’s third victory in a row which pushed their record to an impressive 15-5-2 mark through the first 22 games of 2014-15.
Check back next weekend for Game No. 5 to be revealed!
There’s only one to choose from in this case, but it’s still worthy of a nod. Filip Forsberg’s team-leading 10th goal of the season came with just 1:05 remaining in overtime, after the rookie forward took a pass from defenseman Roman Josi, shook off the pressure of Taylor Hall at the top of the left circle and rocketed a shot past Viktor Fasth blocker side, the only one of the Preds 25 shots to find the back of the net on the evening.
“I was pretty tired,” Forsberg said of his OT shift. “We were out there for a while and we had a couple of chances. I kind of saw [Shea Weber] and [Roman] Josi lining up for the one timer but it was a hard pass to make, so I just tried to spin away and tried to shoot it at the net and I was lucky it went in.”
Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne made 37 stops through regulation and overtime, but none were more impressive, or held greater importance, than the denial of Jordan Eberle on a penalty shot just 13 seconds into the extra frame. Rinne waited out the dekes of Eberle and then used every inch of his 6-foot-5 frame to extend his left pad out to stop the Oilers forward and keep the game scoreless.
“Eberle is really nifty in penalty shots,” Rinne said of the chance. “I think he’s one of the better shooters stats-wise in the NHL in penalty shots and shootouts. You just try to stay patient with a guy like that because he has multiple different moves. I thought he got a little bit too close to me and I was able to get my leg over there and he didn’t put it over my leg. That was in OT, so a big save and I’m happy I made that stop.”
The two stars of the Thanksgiving Day contest embrace following the home team's dramatic 1-0 victory.
Filip Forsberg may have tallied the game winner, but he was praising the play of his goaltender after the Thanksgiving night matchup.
“He’s an unbelievable player and we’re so happy to have him,” Forsberg said of Pekka Rinne. “He keeps us in games that we shouldn’t be in. I can’t even count how many times he’s done that already this year. We’re just so happy he plays on our team and not against us.”