It wasn’t a full-blown criticism, but Pekka Rinne minced no words in explaining why the Preds have just five wins in their first 11 games.
“It’s tough to win when you don’t score goals,” he told The Tennessean following Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Chicago. “This is the third time in 11 games now that we got shut out.”
Nashville sits dead last in a number of the NHL’s most significant offensive stat categories: goals per game (1.83), shots on goal per game (21.1) and third-period goals (five).
Even worse? The Preds have 22 goals on the year, nine of which came in two games against St. Louis (a 4-3 shootout loss on Jan. 21 and a 6-1 win on Feb. 5).
Taking away the St. Louis games, Nashville has just 13 goals in nine games.
Obviously, that’s not good.
Rinne’s in an awkward position because, as a goalie, it always sounds bad when you get after your teammates for not providing enough offense.
But given his impressive numbers — a 1.92 GAA and .929 save percentage — it’s easy to understand why he’s frustrated about having just four wins to his credit.
“Obviously, my job is to keep the pucks out of our end and our net,” he explained. “It was just one of those nights. [Chicago] created some momentum in the second period. They got the first goal and right after that got the second one, and that was pretty much the game right there.
“But overall, obviously we’ve got to create a little bit more [offense]. We can’t hide behind any excuses like this being a back-to-back game or anything like that.”
Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.
Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.
You can also see it up close via this GIF:
Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:
At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.
Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.
The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.
So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.
You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.
Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.
Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.
The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.
This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.
From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.
“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”
Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.
At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.
Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?
We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.
Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.
Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks
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Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks
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