The Nashville Predators are back in the series with the San Jose Sharks.
After going down two games to none in San Jose, the Predators returned to Bridgestone arena in a must win game. They whipped the Sharks 4-1 and sent a message for the rest of the series.
Although they are down 2-1 now in the series, the Nashville Predators arguably outplayed the Sharks in two games in a row. All of the stats point to that and it has to be in the back of the Sharks heads too. A loss in game three would have basically ended the series but now the Preds response makes thing much more even. A win on Thursday would send the series back to Cali all even.
There were many interesting stories in this game, but let’s take a look at the video recap:
There are some great takeaways from last nights game:
Lavy Sends Message with Ribiero – In a surprise move, Coach Laviolette sat Mike Ribiero as a healthy scratch and inserted Pontus Aberg in the lineup. Ribiero had raised the ire of the fans with basically an invisible playoffs. He had only one point in nine games and was a minus three. He has never been good on faceoffs but was particularly bad in the post season.
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The Sharks are a much faster team and Pontus Aberg is a speedy winger with some offensive punch. He was the third part of a Swedish Mafia line with
. They didn’t score but were all over the ice with tremendous energy and speed. It remains to be seen what
will do in the next game with this situation.
Martin Jones May Have a Soft Spot – The Predators continually shot high on Jones glove side and scored at least three of their goals in the top right corner. Roman Josi just missed another. Perhaps the Preds found a spot that Jones is having a little trouble with. That bears watching in the series.
“Playoff” Colin Wilson – As frustrating as Wilson was during the season with his lack of scoring, he has made the signing debacle of a certain college player look like a stroke of genius. Wilson looks like a different player, throwing his body around, out hustling and looking faster against opposing players.
It is showing up on the score sheet as well with Wilson leading the team in scoring during the playoffs with three goals and eight points in 10 games. If he can carry the Predators to the playoff promised land, no one will complain about his regular season.
Bridgestone Rocking – Watching the crowd in San Jose on the TV made it look like a mid-week regular season game. Empty seats and lack of emotion were the rule. Last night’s crowd in Smashville registered on the Richter scale and shook all of downtown Nashville.
Those are the kinds of things that can help push a team to new levels and the Sea of Gold showed why the ‘Stone is known around the league as one of the loudest buildings around. Expect the same on Thursday.
Special Teams were Special – Both sides of the Nashville Predators special teams did well last night. The Sharks were 0-4 on their Power Play and the Predators were 2-5 on theirs. That made a huge difference in the final outcome and is paramount that the Preds continue that in the series.
Big Guns Scored – Goals from James Neal, Shea Weber, and Filip Forsberg were welcome additions to the goal by Colin Wilson. Forsberg and Neal were 30-goal scorers during the season that had been too quiet.
Weber got his third of the playoffs but didn’t have a goal since Game 6 of the Anaheim series. He has had several chances on Power Plays and last night hit a laser that supposedly was measured at over 107 mph past Jones. These are the players that have to score to keep the playoffs going for the Preds.
The Nashville Predators remain in the friendly confines of the Bridgestone on Thursday planning to even up the series before returning to California.