Nashville Predators: Pair of Blown Leads Ends with Predators 6-5 Victory

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators entered the evening still looking for their first win. After one incredible game, they finally found what they were looking for.

The Nashville Predators returned to Smashville for the first time since game six of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight. The atmosphere was electric, and Nashville got to hang their first ever banner. Now, their Western Conference Champions banner will hang in the rafters for the rest of eternity. Seeing the Banner raised was nice and all, but the real reason 17,000 fans packed Bridgestone Arena tonight was to see some hockey, and boy, they were treated to a good one.

First Period 

 The Nashville Predators started the game off hot. There was a lot of energy in the arena, and the fans were as loud as ever. It was easy to tell that the Predators were enjoying getting to play in front of their home crowd again. Then, about four minutes in, Craig Smith tallied his first goal of the season on the power play. His team led 1-0, and it would stay that way heading into the intermission.

Second Period

The second period was when this game really started to take off. Nashville scored back-to-back goals to open the second from Scott Hartnell and Nick Bonino, respectively. Everything seemed to be going just the way Nashville wanted, but as we all know, a three goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey.

Five minutes after Bonino scored to make it 3-0, Andrew MacDonald ripped a slap shot home to put the Flyers on the board. 16 seconds after that, Nolan Patrick, the number 2 overall pick in this past year’s draft, scored his first NHL goal this season. Finally, to top off the scoring in the second period, Valtteri Filppula put home a rebound on the power play. We now had a tie game heading into the third, but it was still a long way from being over.

Third Period

 The third period was a wild one; it is as simple as that. Travis Konecny and Filppula each scored a goal to make it five unanswered from Philadelphia. However, just as a three goal lead is never safe, the same could be said for a two goal lead. Filip Forsberg answered right away when he lifted a close range shot over the left shoulder of Brian Elliot. The score was now 5-4 Flyers, with twelve more minutes to figure out a way to score again.

For the remainder of the period Nashville held most of the momentum, and generated the majority of the shots. The Flyers stood strong, though; playing their bend but do not break defense. Then, with 2:41 left to play in the game, Mattias Ekholm drew two separate penalties on one play. Dale Weise got called for Holding, and MacDonald for tripping. The Predators were given a two-man advantage, and they did not let it go to waste.

With only 1:17 left on the clock Hartnell took a pass for Filip Forsberg and buried it home. The Predators tied the game, but Flyers coach, Dave Hakstol challenged the call that Nashville entered the zone offside. It was ultimately determined Nashville was onside, and with the new rules Philadelphia was issued a delay of game penalty for losing their coach’s challenge.

Now, with another 5 on 3 power play to work with, Nashville set up in the same formation as before. Just as the Flyers got one of their men back from the box, Forsberg elected to shoot instead of pass, and he put one in the net far side on Elliot. The Predators were able to hold on for the remaining 36 seconds and pick up their first win of the season. In true Nashville Predators fashion, I might add.

Treigh’s Three Stars

Third Star: Samuel Girard

Samuel Girard played in his first ever NHL game tonight, and the young defenseman did not disappoint. Girard is only 19 years old but he did not look out-of-place one bit tonight. He had one bad moment when he turned the puck over, that led to the Flyers second goal. Other than that, though; he looked truly phenomenal on the ice for someone his age. Oh yeah, he also scored his first point with an assist on Forsberg’s first goal in the third.

Second Star: Scott Hartnel

Scott Hartnell played his first game in Nashville as a member of the Predators tonight for the first time since 2007. He picked up right where he left off. Hartnell had a fantastic game tonight, even more so than just what the box score shows. His physicality was present, and he was very sound game defensively. What the box score does show is that he had two goals, and the latter one being the goal that tied the game.

First Star: Filip Forsberg

Who else but Forsberg, am I right? Once Nashville went down 5-3, it was as if he just flipped a switch and was absolutely determined to come back and win the game. He scored immediately following the Flyers’ fifth goal. Then, on the two-man advantage he assisted on the game tying goal, and eventually scored the game winning goal. Forsberg was the difference maker tonight, and expect to hear that for many more games this season.

Next: Reactions to Predators late rally for first win of season

One thing I know for sure, is no matter what happens moving forward, Samuel Girard deserves to be in the starting lineup.