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Mully's Musings: at Calgary

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
The two points are important. And a road win always helps. But the Nashville Predators’ 2-0 shutout victory at Calgary meant much more than that.

After failing to pick up a win in their previous four games, the Predators showed some resilience and picked up a huge confidence boost. It was way, way too early to call this a must-win game, but a loss could have sent the Predators spiraling downward as they returned home. Instead, Nashville will start a three-game homestand with positive vibes.

Now the musings…

Turning point: The second period was the turnaround. Calgary controlled the puck for almost the entire opening 20 minutes, and as a result, Nashville spent hardly any time on offense. That changed in the second. Nashville started skating, getting a forward push and got the puck through to the net. The extra jump put the Flames on their heels, and it was the first time in four games that Nashville looked like the team from late last season.

Offensive spark: The offense appears to be coming around. Niclas Bergfors opened it when he scored at 2:34 of the second. It was his first as a Predator -- actually first point as a Pred for all three guys in on that goal (Brian McGrattan and Jack Hillen had the assists). And while it was an unconventional goal (the puck deflected off his chest and into the net), he was in the correct position on the play. The line of Matt Halischuk-David Legwand-Colin Wilson created some nice scoring chances, and Blake Geoffrion triggered the goal scored by Bergfors. With 5:24 to go in the third, Sergei Kostitsyn scored off a perfect pass by rookie Craig Smith, who showed veteran patience before giving up the puck. Like Geoffrion, Halischuk triggered the Kostitsyn goal by making a play on boards to create the breakout. Multiple players contributed on offense, and that’s the style Nashville wants going forward.

Rinne shines: This time, Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne got some help but still faced too many shots. Rinne stopped all 33 shots he faced and was impressive throughout, stopping a few close, point-blank shots and working well in traffic. Midway through the third, he got some huge help when defenseman Jonathon Blum dove across a wide-open net to block a shot from Calgary’s Olli Jokinen. Entering Saturday, Rinne had an all-time record of 0-4-2 against Calgary. When it was over, Rinne found himself tied for the franchise record in shutouts (21) with former Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun.

G Pekka Rinne: “I’m just happy I was able to regroup tonight and build from those five or six games before this one. It was a good bounce back from the whole team.”

G Pekka Rinne: Stopped all 33 shots for the shutout
F Craig Smith: Assist, +1 rating, 16:51 of ice time
F Niclas Bergfors: Goal, +1 rating

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