The Predators entered the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night and made a statement in a rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs by the final score of 9-2. With the win the Predators showed the hockey world that they are a very serious hockey team, at least 18-games into the season. Nashville retook the top spot in the Central Division with the win.
No, the Leafs aren’t a top team in the league, but going into Toronto and routing the Leafs 9-2 is most definitely a statement.
The moment the puck was dropped the ice immediately fell to one side; the Predator’s side, and it would stay there.
Fiip Forsberg found himself in front of the net 1:30 into the contest and elected to send the puck to James Neal but his wrister was blocked aside by a fantastic Jonathan Bernier save. This scoring chance would act as a preview for the following 18:30 of the opening period for the Predators.
Taylor Beck would soon receive the puck around center-ice courtesy of Shea Weber and turn on the jets, go half the length of the ice and send a wicked wrist-shot past Bernier to give Nashville the lead just under two-minutes into the contest.
Derek Roy later converted on an incredible tip-shot and put the puck past Bernier to give him his first goal in a Predators’ uniform. Matt Cullen and Ryan Ellis would be credited with the assists on what was Roy’s 500th career NHL point.
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The first-period scoring barrage wouldn’t end there. The Predators found themselves on the power play for the second time of the night and made the opportunity count. Beck lit the lamp for his second time in the opening 20-minutes after the puck caught him in the stomach, dropped to his feet, allowing him to send a backhand shot past Bernier.
The second-period wasn’t as lopsided as the first, but the Predators would light the lamp yet again courtesy of another bottom-six forward; this time on James Reimer who replaced Bernier in net to start the middle frame.
Eric Nystrom would send an impressive wrist-shot past Reimer after receiving a pass from Beck who recorded his third point of the night. Mattias Ekholm also found the point sheet with the secondary assist on the Predators’ fourth goal of the night.
Nashville held a 26-20 shot advantage and a 4-0 lead after 40-minutes with 11 of their shots coming on the power play.
Safe to say Leafs’ fans weren’t too thrilled with their team’s play thus far:
But things would get worse for Toronto fans.
The final period began and would see Nashville get off to an extremely hot start.
Mike Ribeiro gave the Predators a 5-0 lead just 53-seconds into the third via a tip-in following a Ryan Ellis slap shot. Thirty-three seconds later Forsberg would deflect the puck past Bernier on a controversial kick-in, but following review the goal original no-goal call would be reversed and Forsberg was credited with his ninth-goal of the season. Then, exactly 1:40 later Roman Josi gave the Predators an 8-0 lead less than halfway through the third period. Three-shots, three-goals.
The Leafs followed the three quick goals with two of their own to take the shutout away from Rinne, but don’t make the mistake, this contest was all Nashville.
The Predators then later tied their franchise record of nine-goals after Colin Wilson put back a redbound to cap off a seemingly perfect night. Craig Smith and Jarnkrok would be credited with the assists.
The 9-2 final marked the biggest win-margin of the season for the Predators and just the third time in franchise history to record nine-goals in one game.
The only players on the Predator’s roster to not record at least one point in Tuesday’s game were Neal, Jokinen, Volchenkov, and Rinne.
Leafs’ fans weren’t taking the loss too well:
Roll the highlights:
We will give you the final stats seeing how so many goals were scored:
GOALS: Beck (2,3), Roy (1), Nystrom (3), Ribeiro (5), Forsberg (9), Jarnkrok (1), Josi (3), Wilson (2)
ASSISTS: Weber (4, 5, 6), Gaustad (4,5), Cullen (4), Ellis (7,8), Forsberg (13), Jones (5), Beck (2), Ekholm (6), Ribeiro (11), Wilson (4), Nystrom (3), Jarnkrok (2), Smith (4).
Rinne stopped 29 of 31 shots he faced.
The Predators out shot the Leafs 37-31.