Nashville Predators remember how to hockey at even-strength

The Nashville Predators returned to their winning ways with a strong even-strength match. The rest of it almost caused a loss.

Now that was what a hockey team was supposed to look like. Strong defensive play suppressing shots and denying their opponent the puck in the neutral zone. It was as strong as the Nashville Predators have played in quite some time. Their play during 5v5 time was extraordinary.

Their special teams, however, that is another story. And it almost cost the Predators the game. Three goals for the Vancouver Canucks game during special team action. The first a short-handed goal after Mattias Ekholm turned the puck over in the neutral zone. Then, down 3-1, Brock Boeser blasted a power-play goal by Pekka Rinne. The final tally for the Cancucks was notched in the game’s final moments. With the Predators on the power play, Vancouver pulled Anders Nilsson from the net, giving them 5 men on the ice.

Bo Horvat cleaned up the puck from a scrum in front of the net and tied the game.

Domination at 5v5

Honestly, the game should never have been in doubt. The Nashville Predators dominated the action from the moment the puck drop, except for two nearly fatal turnovers from Rinne. Nashville set the pace, gaining a CorsiFor of 67.09% during 5v5. They held the Canucks to only 12 shots at even-strength and only 5 high-danger chances, cutting in half the Canucks’ production just a week ago.

The Nashville Predators’ play was set by the top line. The trio of Ryan Johansen, Ryan Hartman, and Kevin Fiala held their opponents to only five shot attempts while gaining 10 high-chances. Hartman scored the team’s first goal on the evening with a wicked wrister through a defenseman’s legs.

In my opinion, Nick Bonino was the star of the game. While his CorsiFor was only 50% and he allowed 2 HDCA while only gaining one, his play set the team up for victory. He also provided key defensive play during the penalty kill and throughout the game. But, it was two other moments that proved important. First, it was his goal in the opening period.

Colton Sissons made an excellent pass to Bonino, who then wired a perfect shot to the top corner. The two would connect later in the game, this time for the game-winning goal. The Predators third-line center waited until the perfect moment to pass the puck to Sissons, who directed it into the net.

The game also marked the return of Kyle Turris from the Injured Reserve. Turris finished with a primary assist in 14 minutes of action during 5v5. The {Predators also gained 5 high-danger chances with him on the ice. It was a great first game back.

The game was dominated by the Nashville Predators during 5v5 action. Their victory keeps them ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who also won in overtime last night. For the moment, they also lead the Western Conference with 43 points. Next up is a match Saturday versus the New Jersey Devils.