Ah, it’s good to be back, isn’t it? The Predators opened the 2015-16 at home last night against the Carolina Hurricanes and picked up the first of many (knock on wood) wins of this young season. Despite the win, the Predators looked a little less “on fire” during the second and third periods, which allowed the Hurricanes to make a comeback in shots-on-goal and in score. Here are some highlights from last night’s opener:
- Just fifty-seven seconds into the match, Ryan Ellis took a hi-stick to the face from Jordan Staal, resulting in a powerplay opportunity for Nashville.
- In a déjà vu moment from last season, Craig Smith opened the season with a powerplay goal to put Nashville up 2-0 at 2:23.
- About twelve minutes later, rookie Viktor Arvidsson notched his first NHL-career goal at 17:05 to put Nashville up 2-0. The fact that Arvidsson could not contain his excitement afterwards makes me happy.
- Nashville would dominate the first period with 14 SOG compared to Carolina’s five.
- No goals, but the pace was more like molasses for Nashville as the air was let out of the tires a bit. Carolina put on the pressure, but the Predators were able to maintain the 2-0 lead.
- Again, the Hurricanes picked up the pace where the Predators left off and added even more pressure.
- Eric Staal was able to inch one past Pekka Rinne at 18:20 with the extra man on the attack.
- The last minute and a half was intense, but Nashville managed to keep Carolina from tying the game.
Overall, the Predators looked good during their season opener, but the “cooling of the jets” during the second and third periods could be worrisome. The defense stood tall against the Hurricanes and held them back, but I don’t know if Nashville could hold back a stronger team. The Oilers will take advantage of this easily on Saturday if the Predators don’t address it. The penalty kill looked fabulous last night and the powerplay is good as well. Improvements could be had here and there, but overall, I was pleased.
The Predators are back at it tomorrow at 6PM as they welcome in the Edmonton Oilers. The first 10,000 fans wearing gold will get a golden foam helmet! Whoop!