The Nashville Predators are at the bottom of the National Hockey League in scoring.
They’ve also won five of their first seven games to begin the February portion of their schedule, thanks in large part to the red-hot play of goaltender Pekka Rinne.
On Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes, Rinne stopped all 19 shots he faced to backstop the Predators to a 3-0 win.
All three goals came in the third period. Suddenly the Predators, losers of five of their first six games, albeit three of those defeats were in the shootout, are now fourth in the Western Conference with a 7-3-4 record.
Thursday marked Rinne’s third shutout in the last four games.
“I don’t know where we’d be without Pekka,” Nashville blue liner Ryan Ellis told NHL.om.
“He’s the best goaltender in the world.”
With a team that ranks at the bottom of the league in goals-for – at a rate of 1.86 goals per game – the goaltending has to be good.
So, too, does the defense.
“Everything we do if you’re going to be successful, it starts with being able to defend, and once you’re able to defend, everything sort of piggybacks off that,” head coach Barry Trotz said to The Tennessean.
Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.
Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.
While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.
A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.