After a lackluster performance over the weekend, the Nashville Predators needed two points on Tuesday. They got them in Dallas.
The Nashville Predators squeezed out a victory on the road against the Dallas Stars. The hard-fought game should serve as a winning recipe and a reminder of how this team can play. It was a classic Predators win that showcased scoring depth, clutch goaltending, and offense from the defense.
It’s easy to critique this Nashville team. The concerns are glaring and somewhat scary. But just when we doubt the team, the players, and coaching staff, they turn it all around and remind us just who they are.
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The first two of the Nashville Predators goals were scored by Brian Boyle and Rocco Grimaldi. Neither of those players is on the JoFA line where most of the Predators offense has been seen lately. After finishing a check, Boyle skated the length of the ice straight to the net where he buried a rebound. Later, to break a 1-1 tie, Grimaldi handled a high saucer pass from Ryan Hartman and burst toward the net, deking the Dallas goaltender for his fifth tally.
Scoring depth is a key to the Nashville Predators style of play. While we all agree the JoFA line is one of the NHL’s best, depth will help you win games.
Another key to winning games is stellar goaltending. Pekka Rinne showed up when he needed to, most notably this sliding save:
While it wasn’t the most dominant of games by Rinne, he certainly kept his team in this one. He gave up two goals in 26 seconds, which can be a point of no return for some goalies. But Rinne bounced back and held the Stars scoreless in the third period, leading the Nashville Predators to their 35th victory.
Offense from the Defense
Perhaps the most important ingredient to the Nashville Predators success is the defense generating offense. Four of the five goals were directly owed to the play of Nashville’s top defensive pair–Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. Josi created the rebound that Boyle buried. He also scored the game-winning and game-sealing goals in the third. Ryan Ellis finished with three assists, but his biggest was the setup for Filip Forsberg‘s 21st goal. Ellis let a shot rip from near the blue line with clear intentions of trying to get a rebound. And he executed it perfectly to tie up the game.
Scoring from the defense and bottom-six players, plus timely goaltending is the recipe for victory for the Nashville Predators. As long as there is a fighting chance, the team can return to their (consistent) winning ways. We know what they are capable of, and the team showed it last night in Dallas.