The Nashville Predators pulled out a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames Friday, but the biggest story of the night is what happened in the 3rd period. After an awkward collision with Kevin Fiala, Pekka Rinne had to leave the game with an apparent injury.
Juuse Saros came on in relief of Rinne and played well, but an injury to Rinne would be devastating.
No word from the Predators on why exactly he left. It could have been part of the NHL’s concussion protocol (he was seen talking with the refs before coming over to the Preds bench) or it could have been something else.
The Predators only update after the game was not really an update:
HC Laviolette had no update on Pekka Rinne, but did say: “We didn’t pull him, so something was wrong.” #Preds
— Thomas Willis (@TomAWillis) October 20, 2018
Meanwhile, the Preds pulled out a nice win over the Flames. Five different players scored for the Preds and Juuse Saros had nine saves in relief to get the win.
Quick Score, Then A Few More
It didn’t take long for the Preds’ top line to make an impact. Ryan Johansen scored off a Filip Forsberg pass just 51 seconds into the game to make it 1-0 Nashville. It was as smooth and easy a goal for Johansen as you will ever see.
Following the goal, the Preds then dominated most of the 1st period. But most of the shots put on Mike Smith were of the low danger variety.
Then as the period was winding down, and on just their 2nd shot of the game, the Flames tied it up on a goal by Elias Lindholm. It was a deflating way for the period to end for Nashville, which had been controlling the game to that point.
In the 2nd period, Craig Smith got the Preds back in front. He backhanded a beautiful goal by Smith to make it 2-1. A sustained offensive possession led by Kyle Turris led to the goal and the Preds were back in front.
But the Flames would answer. After Mark Giordano drew a slashing penalty on Viktor Arvidsson, Matthew Tkachuk scored on the ensuing power play, tipping a deflected puck just in over the goal line.
Kevin Fiala then gave the Preds a 3-2 lead with his first goal of the season. A rebound off Smith came right to Ryan Ellis, who made the touch pass over the Fiala on the backdoor. His quick wrist shot didn’t miss and Nashville had a goal lead again.
Rinne Leaves In 3rd Period
The Flames tied the game at 2:20 of the 3rd period, but the real worry for Preds fans was what happened soon after. After some discussion on the bench, Pekka Rinne left the game in place of Juuse Saros, presumably due to injury.
It was unclear whether the injury was because of a lower body problem (he was seen stretching his legs after the hit by Fiala) or because of concussion protocol (he was seen talking to refs, which could indicate protocol). Either way, we won’t likely know anything for at least a day or two.
In the meantime, the Preds got the lead back on a ridiculous play by Zac Rinaldo. Coming down the right wing, he fired a wrist shot over Mike Smith to give the Preds a 4-3 lead.
After killing a late penalty by Fiala, the Preds sealed the win with an empty netter by Filip Forsberg.
Obviously the biggest news in this one is not the win itself but the nature of the injury to Pekka Rinne. If the Nashville Predators have any chance of dominating the way they have this year so far, they will need this injury to not be a big deal.
— Featured Image via Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports —