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Mully's Musings: Oct. 15 vs. New Jersey

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
The good news? The Nashville Predators earned a point. The bad news? They were so close to earning two before a third-period flurry from the New Jersey Devils, who won 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd Bridgestone Arena.

Predators coach Barry Trotz was mostly upbeat in his postgame press conference and said he saw his team improve from its 5-2 loss to Phoenix on Thursday. Nashville did begin the game with more urgency, the power play continued to perform well, and the Predators proved they could play physically when they had to. And goaltender Pekka Rinne was excellent once again, stopping 39 of 41 shots in regular and overtime.

Nashville jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but New Jersey countered with two in the third to force overtime and then the shootout. On to the musings…

Suter is fine: There was a quick flashback to last season when defenseman Ryan Suter was hit hard near the boards on Saturday. He stayed down for a moment, mirroring a situation that led to him missing an extended amount of time last year. This time it was the Devils’ David Clarkson who made the hit. Suter headed to the bench and went directly to the locker room, but not before Shea Weber exacted some physical pain on Clarkson, who was whistled for a major penalty (boarding). But Suter returned to the ice, and after the game said he was fine, was just a little stiff, and that he didn’t believe Clarkson did it intentionally. Suter finished with five shots, second on the team to Weber’s six.

Wilson shining: As nice as Colin Wilson’s power play goal in the first was, the play he made moments earlier may have been more impressive. Wilson won a battle on the half boards to keep the puck in Nashville’s offensive zone, then headed to a perfect spot where Sergei Kostitsyn hit him with an ideal pass, which Wilson redirected pass New Jersey goaltender Johan Hedberg. Wilson’s energy on the ice is at a different level this year and Nashville is benefitting.

Block it out: It’s one of the most difficult things a hockey player can do. Convince yourself to get your body to get in front of a frozen puck as it is being launched from the stick of an opposing player. Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum and Kevin Klein put on a clinic on how to do that on Saturday. Blum locked seven shots and Klein had three. Then there was Jerred Smithson, who blocked a shot and came up in obvious pain, but later returned and didn’t appear bothered. Nashville blocked 16 shots to New Jersey’s 10.

D Ryan Suter on New Jersey’s comeback: “We didn’t do anything different in the third period. When you’re down (like New Jersey), you push and you don’t care what happens defensively. You just go for it. That’s what they did in the third.”

F Colin Wilson on the result:
“They just had some good play. Looking forward, we just have to be better than that and play the full 60 minutes.”

Coach Barry Trotz: “There are so many more positives out of the whole deal. You saw more of the Predators hockey, especially in the first. I’ll take this game over that last game. We started to do what we needed to do.”

G Pekka Rinne: Stopped 39 of 41 shots in regulation
F Colin Wilson: Power play goal and continues to show energy
D Jonathon Blum: Seven blocked shots, +1 rating in 23:06

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