After a roller coaster of a game, the Nashville Predators are wishing they could have this one back, as the Detroit Red Wings leave Nashville with a win and improve their record against coach Peter Laviolette to 10-1.
The Detroit Red Wings started hot and took advantage of the few opportunities they had in the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead on just 9 shots. After a slow start, the Nashville Predators rallied in the second period to tie the game at 2.
The Predators first goal came from a perfectly executed power-play. Filip Forsberg created a turnover and sent the puck to Roman Josi, he dished it to Ryan Johansen on the right side of the blue line who then passed it to Matt Duchene, alongside the net, and then Duchene beautifully found an open Viktor Arvidsson who hammered the puck into the net. Tic-tac-toe.
The second goal of the period was a laser from Filip Forsberg from the left circle to tie the game. Nashville dominated the 2nd period outshooting Detroit 24-16 after 40 minutes and felt in control going into the locker room.
Early in the third, the Red Wings scored on a hard slap-shot from Dylan Larkin at the point. Less than a minute later Mattias Ekholm tied the game with a backhander on a wild play that sent Rocco Grimaldi into the net. (Ekholm’s crazy goal is in the link below.)
After trading goals early in the third period, the Wings found a way to tally a fourth goal and eventually an empty netter to prevail against the defending Central Division champs, 5-3.
The Good: the Matt Duchene effect
Matt Duchene had an incredible debut tallying 3 assists against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night and did not let off the gas at all in his second game as a Nashville Predator. He added two more assists against the Red Wings bringing his season total to 5 assists.
The Predators have scored 8 goals and Duchene has been involved in 5, which is a remarkable statistic even though the sample size is very small. Oh, and not to get ahead of ourselves, but he is on pace for 205 assists this season. That is highly unlikely but it is an interesting way to point out how effective Duchene has been in his first two games with Nashville.
He can move the puck more efficiently than any Predator in recent memory, and he has been a force on the Predators power-play. Even though the power-play is only 1-4 thus far, it is evident that adding Duchene in the mix creates a recipe for success.
At 5 on 5 Duchene’s line along with Mikael Granlund and Filip Forsberg has been flashy, creating a team-high of 10 scoring chances and allowing a team-low of only 2 scoring chances thru the first two games. With 80 games left, you can only imagine what this line will accomplish.
MATT DUCHENECenter, Nashville Predators
The Bad: Saros struggles?
Juuse Saros had a little bit of rust to shake off in his season debut. The highlight of his night was an acrobatic shorthanded save on back-to-back shot attempts in the second period. Other than that, and a few tough saves in the third period, Saros struggled. Only stopping 23 of 27 shots.
He was able to stop the only high danger shot that the Red Wings produced, but the alarming statistic is that Saros allowed 2 medium danger goals on just 4 comparable shots and 2 low danger goals on 20 low danger attempts. Last season his low danger save percentage was 0.959 compared to his unusually low .900 tonight.
Every player needs time to get acclimated after taking the summer off, goalies especially. This is nothing to panic about, last season Saros seemed to play better as the season progressed. His debut tonight was not one to remember but a bounce-back for Saros should be expected during his next start.
JUUSE SAROSGoalie , Nashville Predators
The Ugly: The third defensive pair
At even strength, this is the only defensive pair that has not produced any points. To make things worse, they have allowed the most goals (3) with the least amount of time-on-ice.
On the Red Wings first goal of the night, Dan Hamhuis turned the puck over in the defensive zone which led to a cross-ice pass to Tyler Bertuzzi who netted a goal. Yannick Weber was turned around right next to Bertuzzi and did not even contest the shot. If he could have been more aware of his surroundings it would have been an easy block for Weber.
Although this pair had a rough defensive outing, Weber had three nice looks at the net. He missed two of those shots and was only credited with one shot and one high danger chance.
Even though Weber created offensive pressure, it led to Hamhuis getting burned on more than one occasion with little support to back him up.
This pair has been a sore spot through two games and is an area I would expect the Predators to address soon. It may be time to give Milwaukee a call.
YANNICK WEBERDefense , Nashville Predators
DAN HAMHUISDefense , Nashville Predators
The best and worst line of the night
On a positive note, Kyle Turris is looking much better than he did a season ago. Believe it or not, Turris’ line was statistically the Predators best line against the Red Wings Saturday and Turris deserves much of the credit.
The Grimaldi-Turris-Jarnkrok line held constant offensive pressure against the Wings for the majority of the night. This line outshot Detroit 13-3, created 7 scoring chances while only allowing 1. They also created 2 high danger chances and allowed 0.
Individually, Turris had 1 assist and was all over the offensive zone. He set up Calle Jarnkrok multiple times but Jarnkrok failed to convert on three separate occasions.
The Predators need more secondary scoring than their bottom 6 produced last season. This line has shown some promising signs early on.
KYLE TURRISCenter , Nashville Predators
On the other side of the spectrum, the Sissons-Bonino-Watson line had a rough outing. They were out-skated by the Wings all night and failed to maintain possession of the puck for most of the night.
This line produced only 1 shot and 0 takeaways during 8 minutes of time-on-ice. In two games they have had a team-low of 4 scoring chances and allowed a team-high of 9 scoring chances. Although they scored against Minnesota, this line is the weakest link. The lack of speed on this line puts them at an immediate disadvantage.
This was previously Nashville’s shutdown line but it may not be much longer. If any changes happen offensively, this is most likely where they will occur.
NICK BONINOCenter, Nashville Predators
The Predators next game will take place in Nashville against the San Jose Sharks (0-3-0) on Tuesday, 10/8, at 7 pm CDT. This game will be televised on NBCSN.