Nashville Dreams, Nightmare Head Checks

From the NY Times Slap Shot blog:

The Rodney Dangerfield of the N.H.L, the Nashville Predators, are the
only club unbeaten in regulation this season. They’ve earned 13 of a
possible 16 points with five wins and three overtime losses, good enough
to be first overall in the league.

They are never discussed as one of the better teams in hockey,
because they have no playoff success. But almost annually, Nashville
sneaks up on everyone and puts a scare in their post-season opponents.
In two of the last three seasons, the team that knocked them out in the
first round went on to win the Stanley Cup, but not without some
anxious moments

It is early and the Western Conference is strong, but imagining a
Predators playoff run this year is no wild dream.

The difference this season is their strong start. Last season, after
eight games, they had only won once in regulation and lost six straight.

This weekend, their two road wins came without their best all-around
defenseman, Ryan Suter, and against two of the league’s early surprise
teams. They shut out Dallas, 1-0, with goalie Pekka Rinne stopping all
30 shots he faced. Then, following a flight that didn’t land until 3
a.m., they polished off Tampa Bay, 4-3, behind rookie goalie Anders
Lindback, who turned aside 42 Lightning shots.

Lindback is 6-foot-6 and Rinne is listed as 6-foot-5. That’s
literally standing tall in goal. Play-by-play man Pete Weber remarked
during the post-game wrap from Tampa (video)
that the Predators have “almost 13 feet of goaltender” this season.
It’s no joke that these two have combined for a .939 save percentage,
second in the league to Boston’s .946 (which is all thanks to Tim
Thomas’s great start).

Continue reading “The Morning Skate: Nashville Dreams, Nightmare Head Checks.” >>

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