Predators players, coaches have strong showing in All-Star Game
Scoring 29 goals between both squads, Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette and his staff led Team Toews to a 17-12 victory over Team Foligno in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game on Sunday. Although Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was unable to attend because of an injury sustained early in the month, teammates Shea Weber and Filip Forsberg both found the scoresheet, including a franchise-first midway through the game for Nashville.
In his first appearance as an All-Star, Forsberg accomplished a feat that no other Predators player has ever done: recording a goal. With Team Toews already up by a score of 7-6 early in the second period, Calgary Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau broke in on Team Foligno goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. After the initial save on the Gaudreau shot, Forsberg glided in and deposited the rebound attempt behind a sprawling Fleury.
That wasn’t enough for Forsberg, who collected his second goal with time winding down in the third period to give his team a 17-11 lead.
On a season where he’s poised to compete for the Calder Trophy, it’s just another feather-in-the-cap for the rookie phenom. To a degree, it almost seems fitting that Nashville’s first ever goal in the All-Star Game would come by the hands of a rookie forward. Even though he left Columbus with a brand new car thanks to being picked last in the Fantasy Draft two nights prior, he turned quite a few heads with his performance in both the game and the skills competition.
Netting the NHL’s hardest shot at 108.5 miles per hour in the Skills Competition one night before, it was a fairly quiet night for Weber. Finishing the night with an assist and a +4, defensemen aren’t expected to be the true goal scorers for their respective team of All-Stars. Granted, Weber did tie the lead in blocked shots for both teams.
It’s no secret that defenseman are more assist producers in the All-Star game than anything else. Only three of the 29 goals scored by both teams were registered by defensemen, while 16 assists were attributed during the course of the game. Not being out to hurt their teammates and competition, it’s highly unlikely to a player like Weber would actually unleash a slap shot toward the net in search of a goal.
As for Laviolette, he had the chance to coach both of his players on the same team. Alongside the rest of his coaching staff, Laviolette paired Weber and former Predators defenseman Ryan Suter together as well as attempting to offer as much playing time to the seven other players from Central Division teams on his roster. Of course while that may not truly be the case, it’s interesting to wonder if that thought ever came across his mind.
Overall, on a night where the city of Columbus was set to shine brightly across the league, the Predators made their presence known on the ice. It could just be a setup for what should be an entertaining weekend in Nashville next season, now that the countdown for the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend has officially begun.