(UPDATE: Bortuzzo has been suspended for four games.)
The good news for the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames is that they both ended their respective six-game losing streaks on Saturday. The bad news is that the bad news isn’t so easy to ignore.
In the case of the Flames, it’s that they, frankly, didn’t play very well. Some would argue they didn’t deserve their shootout win against the Flyers.
Nashville’s bad news is less about team play: they lost Viktor Arvidsson during the game, as he didn’t return thanks to a lower-body injury suffered from a pretty ugly set of cross-checks from St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo:
Arvidsson makes much of his living scoring ugly goals close to the net, and that means taking plenty of hits like those — sometimes from goalies. Chalking that up to it being the nature of the beast won’t make Bortuzzo’s blows sting any less for Arvidsson, though. Arvidsson was limited to 58 regular-season games played last season, so there has to be at least some concern for the smallish 26-year-old Swedish winger.
But, hey, the Predators did win, and looked pretty good doing so.
One almost gets a sense that Nashville was in a rush to pull off that Band-Aid against the Blues. Filip Forsberg scored the 1-0 goal just 20 seconds into the game (primary assist: Arvidsson), Mattias Ekholm made it 2-0 a little more than three minutes later, and the Predators ended the opening frame up 3-1.
The Blues scored a late goal to make things interesting, but Nashville collected an empty-netter to lock up that treasured win for the Predators.
Looking forward, the Predators play the Blues again on Monday, face the Golden Knights on Wednesday before a quick road jaunt against the Hurricanes and Panthers. None of those games seem like gimmes, so the Predators must work to shake off what’s still been a larger losing trend (now merely 2-6-2 in their last 10 games).