The Nashville Predators had a sluggish response to Filip Forsberg’s suspension. Fortunately, it didn’t last for the for the entirety of the game.
The Nashville Predators began their Eastern Conference road trip on Monday night. The New York Islanders were waiting in the Barclays Center and were hoping for another goal explosion like the last time they met the Predators. They got it. They also got a heck of a fight from the defending Western Conference Champions.
The Islanders go on the power play at 3:04 when Mattias Ekholm interferes with John Tavares. They had a good chance just before the PP, and they capitalize at 4:55 when Tavares puts it in the net. John Bailey & Anders Lee get assists. It doesn’t take long for the refs to send another Predator to the box again, as Alexei Emelin & Jason Chimera have coincidental minors. Nashville got lucky there, as Chimera shouldn’t have retaliated against Emelin. It’s a 4 on 3 for Nashville at 6:31 when Tavares hooks Ryan Ellis. An Ellis shot hits the post and that’s the closest Nashville comes during the 4 on 3. The power plays are killed off, and soon after that Roman Josi gets called for a slash.
On Saturday night the referees didn’t call much. I don’t know if the Filip Forsberg suspension tightened the Predators’ leash or what, but they’re calling everything tonight. The Predators kill that power play, and Kevin Fiala puts a Kyle Turris pass in the back of the net at 11:59!
That’s three goals in two games for Fiala. Craig Smith also gets an assist. Fiala doesn’t take long to get his fourth goal in two games, as he drops another one in from down low at the 13:27 mark. He was in the right place at the right time. Smith, Ellis & Nick Bonino get assists.
We don’t even get time to tweet about it, as the Islanders tie it up at the 14:05 mark. Ryan Pulock slaps it right past Pekka Rinne‘s glove. Andrew Ladd & Brock Nelson get assists. Casey Cizikas puts it out of play & the Predators get the man advantage. They do nothing, and right after it ends, Cizikas gets the puck off a block & takes it down for a goal at 17:03. P.K. Subban‘s defensive skills weren’t exactly on display that time.
Mercifully, the rest of the period passes without incident. 3-2 Islanders.
Not a great start for the Nashville Predators, as the Islanders go on the PP 55 seconds into the second period. Ryan Johansen managed to slash on the faceoff, well that’s what they said happened anyway.
Some World Cup-level acting there. Predators kill that off, but Nick Leddy shoots the puck through six players into the back of the net at 3:39. 4-2 Islanders. The Predators go on an offensive charge over the next few minutes but Jaroslav Halak stands his ground. Nashville gets a power play of its own at 9:43 when Cizakis cross-checks Viktor Arvidsson. That guy spends a lot of time in the box. Islanders kill the PP and get another scoring chance out of it. Mattias Ekholm gets called at 12:57 for a hold and I’m begging these referees to go a few minutes without their whistles in their mouths. Islanders getting some good chances here.
The Predators have been out-shooting the Islanders a bunch this period, and it finally pays off when Calle Jarnkrok chips one in at the 16:25 mark. Or did he? The replay shows some possible interference with Halak by Scott Hartnell, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they overturn this. The review doesn’t last long, and the goal is good! The Nashville Predators are back within one. Hartnell & Nick Bonino get assists. I like that line.
The Predators are out-shooting the Islanders 37-20, but down 4-3 in goals after two periods.
Some back & forth action early & the goalies doing the opposite of what they did in the first. Extended Yannick Weber puck time isn’t what I would have recommended for the Nashville Predators here. The Islanders nearly add to their lead but Rinne makes one of those PEKKA saves. One shot for the Predators in seven minutes isn’t ideal. Rinne stops one with his skate. Subban makes a turnover & Rinne is all over the place trying to protect the net. The Islanders have been good on defense this period.
One shot on goal in thirteen minutes isn’t ideal either. Islanders are getting better chances but haven’t capitalized yet. Ellis is down there making saves. The referees finally stopped calling things. Nashville goes empty net with 2 minutes left. TOP SHELF OFF THE PIPE FOR Ryan Johansen AND WE GOT A TIE GAME AT 19:19! It’s his first in quite awhile, and it couldn’t have come at a bigger moment.
Bonino makes a big play on defense & it’s free hockey in Brooklyn!
The Islanders get a couple of 2 on 1s real quick. Rinne’s out of the net, but yet nobody scores. Rinne is dominating this overtime period! Which is great because, well, you know how well the Nashville Predators do in overtime. Arvidsson is denied by Halak on the other end. Smith breaks away & Halak closes his glove on the puck. A centering pass in front of the net goes nowhere for the Islanders.
Captain Roman Josi takes the puck on a breakaway! He passes it to Bonino, Bonino passes it back & Josi puts it in the back of the net! 5-4 Predators.
The Nashville Predators steal a win & two points! It’s the Predators’ first win when trailing after two periods this season. Granted, they haven’t trailed after two periods very often.
Steve’s Three Stars
Third Star: Pekka Rinne
Rinne had a pretty bad first period + 3:39. After that, he shut the Islanders down. Multiple saves, including a couple in that back & forth overtime period that could have gone either way. Even when Rinne isn’t on his A game, he’s still better than most in the NHL.
Second Star: Kevin Fiala
Fiala scored the first two Predators goals. He’s one of those guys that manages to be in the right place at the right time. Every hockey team needs one or two of those guys in order to reach their full potential. If he’s available in your fantasy hockey league he won’t be for much longer.
First Star: Roman Josi
When you’re the captain and you score the game-winning goal in OT, you get the first star. I don’t make the rules. Josi and his first mate Ryan Ellis were the best defensive pair of the evening from a statistical & eye test perspective. When you get locked down in a battle like this & your team isn’t on its A-game, your leader has to step up. Nashville’s certainly did.
The Nashville Predators are heading north of the border for a back to back against Canadian squads. On Wednesday night they’ll be in the Air Canada Centre to meet Auston Matthews & the Toronto Maple Leafs. You better believe all of Canada’s eyes will be on this matchup. Puck drop will be around 7:30 PM ET/6:30 PM CT on Fox Sports Tennessee & 102.5 The Game.