The Nashville Predators hoped Kyle Turris would add a spark to the offense. At least for one game, that mission has been accomplished.
The Nashville Predators were looking for a little revenge on Saturday night. Obviously, one regular season victory won’t make up for the pain the Pittsburgh Penguins brought Nashville at the end of last season. However, one win is a good start in evening the score. As expected, this game had a little bit of everything.
Kyle Turris‘ line starts the game, in a major vote of confidence from Peter Laviolette & the coaching staff. It doesn’t take long before a Nashville player finds their way to the sin bin. Craig Smith hooks less than a minute into the game. Preds kill off the PP, a nice change of pace from the usual PK performance in Bridgestone Arena. Cody McLeod almost got himself an assist but Roman Josi shoots it wide. The Smashville crowd is into it tonight, even more so than usual. The Predators get a PP chance of their own with 9:02 left when Conor Sheary gets caught on a hold.
Unfortunately, the scoring goes the wrong way, as Bryan Rust gets a short-handed goal & puts Nashville down 1. No excuse on that one. The Predators are getting absolutely nothing done on offense. 4 on 4 with 3:46 left, as Ryan Johansen & Jake Guentzel interact with each other. RyJo is getting too many penalties this season. We head to intermission with the Nashville Predators down 1-0.
An unimpressive showing on offense so far. Nashville will have to hope that Pittsburgh wears down in the second & third period on night 2 of a back to back.
Kyle Turris puts Nashville on the board two minutes into the second after a nice pass from Mikka Salomaki. That’s something I hope to see a lot of.
In something I haven’t seen before, Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry decides to run halfway down the ice and trip a guy. That’s a power play. P.K. Subban makes him pay soon after with a one-timer that finds the back of the net. Things get chippy right afterwards because people hate it when P.K. scores on them.
The Predators are smelling blood, the Penguins are getting chippy, and things are breaking down. Another Nashville power play leads to a Craig Smith goal. We’re not even six minutes into this period and everything has happened.
Mattias Ekholm high-sticks Rust with 11:16 left and puts Pittsburgh on the PP. Not ideal, but the Predators kill it off with Pekka Rinne making a couple of nice glove saves. Phil Kessel puts Pittsburgh back on the board with 7:33 left, then P.K. Subban heads to the box shortly afterward with a hold. Preds kill the PP but are losing men by the instant.
Justin Schultz gets caught holding & sends Nashville on the power play. This will continue in the next period. I need a cigarette, and I don’t even smoke.
It doesn’t take long for the Penguins to tie things up. Guentzel gets loose thanks to Subban’s skate getting loose and scores on a breakaway 2:27 into the period. Before we can get too down, Calle Jarnkork puts one in the back of the net to retake the lead & get the Bridgestone Arena crowd some free Frostys. Turris & Smith with assists on that one.
Things feel good for a couple of minutes, but Brian Dumoulin ruins the mood with a goal. Assist from Conor Sheary, and I think Alexi Emelin did as much as anybody to distract Rinne there.
Kevin Fiala puts the Penguins back on the power play with a cross-check. Austin Watson wipes that out though, going 1 on 3 on a breakaway and drawing a penalty from Phil Kessel. It’s 4 on 4 & then a very brief PP for Nashville. Nothing doing, but Watson helped Nashville dodge a bullet there. Gotta give Jarry some credit, he’s made some big saves down the stretch. Predators are pushing late & the Penguins are blocking everything. The clock hits 0 & both teams will get at least one point.
Both teams get plenty of chances, but neither can take advantage. Guys look ready to drop out there. Nashville draws a penalty from Evgeni Malkin with 21 seconds left & gets a brief power play. Too brief to get anything done, and we go to the shootout.
Turris misses top shelf on Nashville’s first shot. Malkin finds Rinne’s glove. Kevin Fiala finds the net! Sidney Crosby is as good as it gets, and yup he ties it. Filip Forsberg gives Nashville a second point. Kris Letang needs to score to continue, and he doesn’t! Predators win their fourth game in a row!
Steve’s Stars of the Game
Third Star: Filip Forsberg
Prince Fil racked up two assists & got Nashville’s final shootout goal. He also wiped a dude out.
Just another average game for Forsberg though. Dude brings it every night.
Second Star: Craig Smith
Smith soaked up most of the extra work tonight with Scott Hartnell disappearing during the first period. He made the most of it, getting himself a goal & an assist. The Nashville Predators need a big season from him, and he’s doing work so far.
First Star: Kyle Turris
P.K. Subban, Ryan Johansen & my guy Cody McLeod all scored goals in their first game with the Predators. You can add Turris to that list. His play seemed to energize Nashville tonight & give them a boost over a game Pittsburgh squad. I liked the trade that brought him here, and I like it even more now.
The Nashville Predators will welcome another top Eastern Conference squad to Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. Former Predators coach Barry Trotz returns to Smashville with Alexander Ovechkin & the Washington Capitals. NBC Sports Network will be there as the puck drops at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT.