The Nashville Predators gained a huge two points tonight, beating the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in the shootout in a back and forth affair.
Homecomings are often filled with enjoyable moments and stressful times. Many players when returning home will put extra pressure on themselves and try too hard to make a statement. That is exactly what Kevin Fiala against the Nashville Predators last night. In his first game at Bridgestone with his new team, the Minnesota Wild‘s forward notched two goals and nearly added a game-winner in overtime.
However, the Predators prevailed in the end, 5-4. Thanks to an amazing goal by Ryan Johansen.
It all started when Craig Smith tucked home the rebound of a Matt Donovan shot to give the Nashville Predators a 1-0 lead just under two minutes to go into the first period, but that was just the beginning of the goal scoring barrage.
With under five minutes to go, a familiar face in Kevin Fiala slipped a wrist shot past Pekka Rinne to tie this game up at one goal apiece, the first of two goals he would score in his return to Nashville.
The Predators would then get their first power play opportunity of the game just over halfway through the second period, and they would take advantage of that opportunity as Brian Boyle tipped a P.K. Subban shot into the net to give the Predators a 2-1 lead.
Another familiar face would strike for the Wild, as Pontus Aberg sniped a wicked wrister past Pekka Rinne to tie the game at two goals apiece with just over two minutes to go in the second.
Eric Fehr would then follow with a goal of his own just two minutes into the third period to give the Wild a short-lived 3-2 lead.
Viktor Arvidsson would soon follow, giving the Predators a 4-3 lead with a wicked wrist shot nearly halfway through the third period, but the Wild weren’t done yet.
With the goalie pulled and just over two minutes to go in the third, Kevin Fiala would get the best of his former team again, wristed home a shot off the faceoff to tie the game at four and send the game into OT.
The Predators had to head to the penalty kill in overtime, following a Mikael Granlund hooking penalty, but the Predators were able to hold on and send this game to a shootout.
The goalies were perfect through the first three rounds of the shootout, sending it to a sudden-death fourth round where Ryan Johansen scored and Pekka Rinne stopped Ryan Donato to give the Nashville Predators a huge 5-4 victory.
The Predators special teams were perfect, with the penalty kill going 4/4 and the power play scoring on its only opportunity of the game, which is great news for the Predators.
The Nashville Predators now move to first place in the Central Division, now having a one-point lead on Winnipeg, who have three games in hand on the Predators.
The Predators will now wait until Saturday to attempt to add to defend their lead in the division against Carolina to wrap up a two-game homestand before they head to California.