The Nashville Predators played their second-to-last preseason game on Friday at Winnipeg, and won 3-2 in a shootout thriller.
Like ripping off a Band-Aid, the preseason will be over in a flash for the club considering it hosts Carolina at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday to close out the back-to-back.
Now the musings …
O’, O’, O’, O’Reilly, shoots and scores:
There have been bigger storylines in training camp than the return of Cal O’Reilly from injury, but he is quickly made himself a hot topic. O’Reilly scored the game’s opening goal at 7:51 of the first and appears 100% healthy and well conditioned. He also converted Nashville’s first shot in the shootout. O’Reilly broke the fibula in his right leg against Columbus on Jan. 2, and had opened last season as one of Nashville’s most productive players. If he can follow that up at the start of the regular season, it would be a big benefit for Nashville. He scored his first preseason goal of this year against the Capitals on Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena.Depth at goaltender: Anders Lindback
got the start and went the distance. He continues to prove why he is a stellar backup to No.1 goaltender Pekka Rinne
. The 6-foot-6, 23-year-old Swede played in 23 total games last season and went 11-5 with a .915 save percentage and two shutouts. On Friday, he stopped 35 of 37 shots in regulation and overtime. Four minutes into the second and the scored tied 1-1, he made an incredible stop on Andrew Ladd.Loud as a jet:
There was a postseason feel to Friday night’s game, at least from the Winnipeg side. NHL-starved fans from this area packed MTS Centre and could barely contain their excitement. This will be a tough place to play for opponents this season. It was a sold-out crowd at 15,015, but the noise reached a level that sounded more like an arena that holds a couple thousand more.OT Experience:
You don't like to give up late leads, but it was good practice to get an overtime (and shootout) session under the team's belt. The coaches were able to try out different four-on-four combinations and give the guys a chance to experience the different nuances of OT hockey. With such a young team any "out of the norm" experiences are good learning opportunities, especially during the preseason.Three quotes
Cal O’Reilly on his goal in the shootout: “You just calm your nerves. I have a move I kind of like to start with and added a variation. It worked tonight.”Anders Lindback
: “I think we came out well in the first period and kept the puck pretty much in their end. In the second, we were a little slow and they came hard. The guys did a great job, though. I felt comfortable in the net. “
Barry Trotz: “That’s the loudest preseason game I’ve ever been in.”Three Stars
1. Jordin Tootoo
- The scoresheet doesn't tell the full story of Tootoo's impact. He was mixed and matched in different situations with different linemates, but his line was still the most consistently effective for the Preds tonight ... and his decision making in the offensive zone created several dangerous offensive chances.
2. Anders Lindback
- He stopped 35-of-37 during regulation and denied all three shootout attempts, including 30 saves after the first intermission.
3. David Legwand
- Leggy scored a key third period power-play goal and was highly involved in other quality scoring chances for the Preds, finishing the night with a game-high five shots on net, while winning 11-of-16 faceoffs (69%).