Posts tagged Steve Sullivan
On a day that sees the Nashville Predators play their most important game in franchise history, Pekka Rinne, has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy, the award given to the goaltender judged to be the best in the National Hockey League.
- Rinne has been nominated for the Vezina Award
Rinne’s regular season statistics were undeniable. Having played in 64 games, the Finnish netminder ended the season with a 2.12 GAA, good for third in the League behind the other two Vezina nominees, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins and Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. His .930 save percentage was second in the League to Thomas.
Thomas is the favorite to win the Award. A Vezina winner in 2009, Thomas lost his starting position last season to Tuukka Rask but regained it this year on his way to leading the League in both goals against and save percentage.
Luongo also put up good numbers, leading his team to the President’s Trophy. His 2.11 GAA that was second only to Thomas and he finished fourth in the League with a .928 save percentage.
In the NHL, teams can win games on the strength of their power play. The penalty kill, likewise, can keep a team in games. For the Nashville Predators, while their penalty kill has improved steadily from the start of the season, the power play has gone in the other direction. Through 21 games, Nashville has scored 9 power play goals in 78 opportunities — but two of them came Friday afternoon when the team was already losing 4-0 in the third period to the Wild.
It is too early to know if the late efforts from Nashville on Friday will act as a turning point in sparking the Predators offense. But one thing is for certain, when you struggle to score goals at even strength, the man advantage can be a real difference maker. And the Predators have struggled to score goals as of late, scoring just 3 times in the last three games.
When asked about the Predators scoring woes, Coach Barry Trotz said “One of the biggest mistakes that the Nashville Predators make is when we say well we got to score lots of goals. All of a sudden we are not Nashville Predator-like and therefore we will lose 6-4 or something like that. That’s not the way we play. Our team identity is that we play solid team defense as a group and piggy back some of our offense off of that.”