The Nashville Predators took their first loss in a game at the new Barclay Center in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders. The Preds played arguably their best game of the season but came up on the short end of a 4-3 score. The Predators jumped out to a 2-0 lead but gave up four consecutive goals to the Islanders.
So much for the 82-0 season but there were certainly things we learned from the loss. Here are five things we learned from the Nashville Predators first loss of the season:
5. The Preds can play with the big boys.
Going into this game, there were worries that the Predators three wins came at the expense of three of the worst teams in the league that haven’t won a game between them. Last night they showed that they can play toe-to-toe and maybe even dominate one of the better teams in the NHL in the Islanders.
Coach Peter Laviolette told The Tennessean:
"“It was our best game of the year by a mile,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “Not even close. Worst result of the year by a mile. Best game of the year.”"
They have games coming up against the Senators, Lightning, Ducks and Penguins so they will need to be on top of their game.
4. Austin Watson Can Contribute
The Predators young forward Austin Watson hasn’t had a lot of playing time, but he shows up when called upon. Last night in only 8:30 of ice time he had two shots and a hit and seemed to be flying around the ice. He was also credited with his first goal when Marek Zidlicky tried to clear his shot near the line and hit the post and into the net. This prompted tweets about Zidlicky scoring for the first time in 10 years for the Predators:
Nashville needs young players to step in when asked and help out and both Watson and Viktor Arvidsson have chipped in with goals in the first four games.
3. Mike Ribeiro looks out of sorts.
Last night Coach Lavy moved Ribeiro to center the second line between Craig Smith and Colin Wilson. They never seemed to click and didn’t look good defensively. While Fisher seemed to add energy and physical play to the top line, we need to have at the very least, two lines that are scoring for us.
So far, in four games, Ribeiro has one assist, four penalty minutes and is minus one. The Preds need him to step it up to help with their lack of scoring.
2. Penalty Kill is Special
So far this season the Predators have killed 12 of 13 power plays from their opponents. That is at a 91.7% rate and is fourth in the league. They shut down the Islanders on both of their man advantages last night. That is something that they need to continue.
They were zero for two on the power play themselves last night but had plenty of opportunities during those two chances. They have been better this year on power plays after a dismal year last season. They are currently a little over 22%.
1. What Sophomore Slump?
Filip Forsberg showed once again what a special player he is. In nearly 16 minutes on the ice including 1:24 on the power play and :30 killing penalties, he managed his second goal and an assist on a laser shot that James Neal tipped in to bring them within one late in the third. He had a pushing match with John Tavares that took them both off for two minutes.
Nashville Predators center Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates after a goal. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
He just stands out when he is on the ice, looking smoother and shooting from amazing angles. He had a really nice night offensively, but his best play was late in the third when the Predators had pulled their goaltender to try and tie the game. The Islander’s Ryan Strome gathered in the puck inside the Red Line and had a break for an empty net goal. Forsberg was at his own Blue Line and somehow caught up to Strome and incredibly stripped the puck from behind saving the goal.
He is worth the price of admission just to watch and see what he will do next.
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