Ryan Hartman sparked his team with two goals in the second period as the Nashville Predators defeated the Vegas Golden Knights, 4-1.
It wasn’t always pretty, but two points were well earned by the Nashville Predators. The victory gives the Predators a 4-3-0 record at Bridgestone, avoiding consecutive losses. Juuse Saros battled through a rough first period and finished the game allowing one goal on 24 shots.
The first period was the toughest on Nashville. Vegas outshot Nashville 13 to 5, with two power plays to their advantage. Reilly Smith gained the Golden Knights only goal of the night on the second power play of the first period. Vegas pushed the action for the opening 20 minutes, gaining two high-danger chances. It was a rather lackluster performance by the Predators to start.
The second period was a different story, though it didn’t start off well. Vegas extended their lead in the Corsi battle over the first five minutes of the period. However, a penalty by the Predators was a turning point. After being called for too many men on the ice, Nashville started to pressure Vegas on the penalty kill. Colton Sissons took two breakaway chances right to the net, giving the Predators some fuel. When the teams were back at even-strength, Ryan Hartman took over. Roman Josi cleared the puck and it wound up on Kevin Fiala‘s stick. Fiala made a beautiful pass to Hartman, who deeked Collin Miller and found the back of the net.
Less than a minute later, Fiala and Hartman teamed up yet again. P.K. Subban clears the puck down ice. Fiala gathers up the puck and patiently waits for a clearing. He passes to Hartman, who did not miss.
The rest of the game belonged to Nashville. Vegas earned 11 total shots after the first period, earning only three more high-danger opportunities. In the third period, the Predators extended their lead off the stick of Calle Jarnkrok. Linemate Craig Smith stole the puck away from Vegas and led Kyle Turris into the offensive zone. Jarnkrok shot up the center of the ice, giving the Predators a 2-1 breakaway. Turris slides the puck to Jarnkrok, who’s one-timer blasts by Malcolm Subban.
The Predators would add an empty-net goal by Viktor Arvidsson, winning the game 4-1.
Players of the Game
Number 3 – Viktor Arvidsson: While his goal came on an empty net chance, it was the rest of the game that proved important. Arvidsson gained 2 high-danger chances on his own, and the team had four such chances while he was on the ice. Furthermore, he was one of five Predators with a > 50% CorsiFor rating. He also had 4 SOG himself.
Number 2 – Kevin Fiala: After being exiled from the team’s second line, Fiala responded with 2 primary assists tonight.
Number 1 – Ryan Hartman: What else needs to be said? Hartman scored two goals. But, he also gained three high-danger chances on his own and energized his entire team.
The win gives the Nashville Predators a 2-point lead in the Central Division over Colorado and Winnipeg. They travel to Tampa Bay to face the Lightning on Thursday evening in a battle of the top teams in their conferences.