Now there’s a player for a Tennessee team that proves why he’s worth what his team pays him (Yes, we took that stab). After what could possibly be the best birthday gift ever (signing a 7 Year, $49 Million contract), Pekka sealed the celebration by stopping all 35 shots (35, coincidence?) thrown at him from the Coyotes, shutting them out in their own arena 3-0. This is Pekka’s third shutout of the season, and the Predators have only won six games (Yea, you can do that math). From his interviews before and after the game, it was clear Pekka was more than excited to extend his contract with the Predators. “It’s just a big day for me and obviously I couldn’t be happier right now. It’s the organization that drafted me and now I have a chance to play next seven years here in Nashville. It feels great and I’m so happy right now.” What does this extension mean for Ryan Suter and Shea Weber? We’ll get to that in a moment, but let’s discuss last night’s tremendous win:
- The Coyotes may have needed to be more prepared tonight as they welcome the Predators to their home arena last night, for the guys were itching to return the favor Phoenix bestowed upon them back on October 13th. The Coyotes beat the Predators 5 – 3 on their season home opener, sending the Preds into a three straight losing streak. Luckily, the Predators toughened up and realized preseason was over and were ready to remind the Coyotes that first win was just the Preds getting warmed up.
- The first period was relatively quiet, with no goals for either team. The Predators, however, kept most of the puck time down at the Coyotes goal line.
- Jonathon Blum struck first for the Predators with help from Blake Geoffrion. This was Blum’s first goal of the season, which was nice since his family, who are from California, came to watch him play.
- Matt Halischuk, who helped screen Blum’s first goal of the season, was sent to the box for boarding during the second. This turned in the Preds’ favor when, upon leaving the penalty box, Halischuk found himself in the “right place at the right time”. With a quick and pass from Craig Smith, Halischuk was able to slip the puck to the back of the net, setting the score to 2-0.
- Patric Hornqvist sealed the final goal for the Preds, and the game, with an empty-net goal with one minute left in the third period. He was assisted by both David Legwand, who is known for his empty-net goals, and Colin Wilson. This is Horny’s fifth goal within the last four games. We’d like to see him keep it up!
- Although the game was a shutout, the Predators pulled their old “third period fallout” routine, and the Coyotes almost capitalized on it. Luckily, Pekka was in his usual form and deflected all 14 shots at the net.
- The Predators fell behind in shots, more than likely due to their lack in the third, 35 to 31. The Predators, with help from the new kid Craig Smith, are finally shaking the passing routine and are taking shots at the goal. They aren’t completely rid of this, though but help from Smith is drastically improving.