Nashville Predators: Offense Opportunistic In Thrilling Win Over Pittsburgh

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

Revenge tastes sweet for the Nashville Predators as they get a massive shootout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Smashville.

The winning streak now sits at four games for the Nashville Predators as they’re looking to keep pace with St.Louis and the rest of the stacked Central Division. This game was a tale of two halves. The Predators, despite surrendering the first goal, took charge during the first 30 minutes. Certainly, no one expected Pittsburgh to just lay down and die.

The Predators needed an offensive outburst to get the split of the regular season series with Pittsburgh, and didn’t disappoint. Granted against a backup goalie, but still an impressive showing. Filip Forsberg ended up scoring one of two shootout goals that cemented this win for the Predators. It was nice, and slightly relieving, to see this team fix some of the troubles that they have had with shootouts.

Power play stays hot

Two more power play goals for the Nashville Predators puts their season total now at 15, which is near the top of the NHL. Only three teams have more. These two goals, from Craig Smith and P.K. Subban, gave the Predators a two-goal cushion in a game full of momentum swings.

The success from the power play this season is a major reason why the Predators are sitting in a good spot in the standings. To a smaller degree, it bailed them out against Pittsburgh. A struggling power play unit and we’re probably not in the midst of winning four in a row.

Subban’s power play goal was reminiscent of what we’re used to seeing from Ryan Ellis. A one-timer set up by a big faceoff win, and the puck was in the net. The faceoffs were even after 65 minutes, which certainly helped the power play produce.

Even-strength scoring chances

A big area that the Predators need improvement in is at even strength, but there’s progress after last night’s game. Getting healthy looks at the net is an area the Predators were doing well, per Penalty Box Radio’s Justin Bradford and Natural Stat Trick.

The first goal from Kyle Turris is a perfect example of the Predators getting an excellent scoring chance and capitalizing, via the Predators official website:

The Predators are going to be hard to beat if they start playing with that kind of chemistry, especially with the addition of Kyle Turris. Again, the shot totals were lower than you would like to see going into the final period, but they made the most of their opportunities by getting to great spots in Penguins’ zone.

At even strength, Kevin Fiala stood out as a leader in Corsi percentage, per Natural Stat Trick. Here’s a look at the team leaders against Pittsburgh:

Player                        CF %   

Kevin Fiala               62.96

Mattias Ekholm      52.94

Austin Watson        52.00

Colton Sissons        52.00

Turris shines in debut

It didn’t take long for Turris to make his impact. His numbers are extremely solid for a player’s team debut. The centerman had a goal, an assist, a big hit and a decent faceoff percentage. His Fenwick and Corsi numbers are respectable as well in his Predators debut.

Turris undoubtedly makes this team better. It’s tough losing two promising prospects in Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev, but Turris has the ability to make this offense click again. His capabilities as a center on the Predators’ second line is going to make them a tough opponent for even the NHL’s most elite teams.

His positioning on the ice will be a fun thing to watch moving forward. Check out his goal, which tied the game 1-1 in the second period. Specifically, pay attention to how he set himself up for a shot from a high-danger area:

Usually it takes a couple games to really see the results of a blockbuster trade, but Turris isn’t wasting anytime highlighting what looks like another brilliant move from GM David Poile. The Predators are a more complete team and fully equipped to make another Stanley Cup run.

Next: The New Third Line Excelled In Tough Matchups

Regardless of some shaky moments in the latter half of this game, beating the defending Cup Champions is always a good sign. Last night was certainly no exception.