Predators-Panthers: Second Former Goalie Blanks Nashville

Bryan HollisterAnalyst IDecember 23, 2008

The Predator's all-time leader in shutouts was hot tonight, stopping 26 shots to earn his team a win and record his second straight shutout and 28th overall.

Unfortunately for Nashville, he wasn't wearing Predator Blue.

Tomas Vokoun, the one-time Predator goalie, blanked Nashville 3-0 to earn the Florida Panthers a victory at home in the Bank Atlantic Center. In doing so, he became the second former Nashville goalie to achieve this particular feat; Chris Mason, another former Preds net keeper, shut Nashville down with a 1-0 score at the Sommet Center on November 25th.

The current man in the crease, Pekka Rinne, didn't have a bad game by most standards, stopping 40 of 42 shots. But with the puck on his side of center ice most of the night, his efforts went unrewarded. With little offensive support, Rinne was pulled in the third period, which resulted in an empty netter by Michael Frolik with 13.1 ticks left on the clock.

With a road record approaching dismal—the Predators are 7-10-2 away from the Sommet Center this year—Nashville has struggled of late with scoring; in their last five games, they have managed more than one goal only once, a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars.

Goal defense has been the key and has given them a respectable, if not top notch, 2-2-1 record over that span.

But if Nashville needs motivation to get the offense rolling, it need look no further than the other professional sports team in Nashville to realize that defense is great, but games are won by the team with the most points.

THAT team with a stalwart defense proved this weekend that a two-dimensional team will emerge the victor over a team playing well on only one side of the, puck.

Trailing both the Blackhawks and the Redwings in the Central Division, Nashville needs to turn it up and start putting the puck in the net; otherwise, this could be a very long season for players and fans alike.

They have shown they are capable of doing it, managing better than 90 points and making the playoffs every year since 2003—the cancelled 2004-2005 notwithstanding—so what are they waiting for?

AS long as Rinne keeps performing, keep him in the net; but the rest of the team better step up, or Nashville will be iced come playoff time.