The season is still young, but the Nashville Predators went out and got a big win over a Western Conference foe on the back of their captain.
It’s hard to believe that the San Jose Sharks have stumbled out of the gate at 0-4, but the Nashville Predators have helped send them to that ugly start. The Predators move to 2-1 on the season in what was a great team win from top to bottom.
The Predators have had the luxury of opening the 2019-20 season with four home games in a row. Something you don’t see very often. They’ll finish off the homestand with a matchup against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
This game was overall a dominant performance by the Predators. There were times when the Sharks tried to show life, but the speed and aggression of the Predators took over to force a lot of penalties and scoring chances. It’s the worst start to a season for the Sharks in 25 years, while the Predators have reason to be excited about how far they can go.
Roman Josi scores twice
I’m on record of predicting that Roman Josi is going to come closer than he ever has to winning a Norris Trophy this season. He’s never finished higher than fifth in the voting. He put his stamp all over this game by scoring two goals and playing well defensively. Here’s what he had to say about the game from the Predators official website:
"We played pretty well in all three games offensively. Obviously, there’s some things we can clean up defensively, but I thought offensively we’ve been playing really well. We’ve been creating a lot of chances, so that’s definitely a good sign."
The offense has definitely been clicking with 13 goals through three games. Josi’s first goal opened up the game’s scoring after he pushed the puck up the ice to get it to Colton Sissons. After a nice feed from Sissons, Josi put on a quick wrister that San Jose’s Martin Jones had no chance at. It’s an example of Josi’s ability to create quick offense unlike any other defenseman.
Nearly halfway through the 2nd period, Josi struck again, this time on the power play, on a scoring chance initially created by Filip Forsberg. After hitting off the post from Forsberg, Josi was able to clean it up with Jones out of position in net. This goal was a product of a fluid power play and Josi being in the right spot. Jones had zero chance at making this save as Nashville connected for the second time this season with their new-look power play.
San Jose just couldn’t match the team speed that the Predators had right out of the gate. They came out sluggish early on, and Josi was able to take advantage of that for much of nearly his 24 minutes of ice time. Big game for Josi on the national stage.
Great team win
Top to bottom, you really can’t find anything wrong with this win. Sometimes you see where the winning team got some lucky bounces or stood on the back of a ridiculous performance from their goaltender. Pekka Rinne had a solid game, but in this instance, the Predators won it thanks to a nice effort all the way around.
Rinne gets his second win of the season in as many starts with 33 saves on 35 shots faced. Through two starts, he hasn’t shown any signs of age catching up to him. It’s a long season, but still a great start for the 36-year-old former Vezina Trophy winner. He had to make some big saves late to keep San Jose from making this much more interesting on the scoreboard.
It was a great effort from the bottom six of the roster with Kyle Turris standing out with his first goal of the season. He’s been a major topic of conversation trying to figure out his place in the lineup. Last season was one to forget, but maybe he’s finding his place on the third or fourth line, and Craig Smith playing on the top top line.
Ten different players scored a point for the Predators. That’s a winning formula for teams who want to go deep in the playoffs. The Predators were relentless at keeping the pressure on the Sharks thanks to their depth showing up in full force.
The Sharks may not be as bad as their 0-4 record, but the Predators definitely dominated most of this game to cruise to about as easy of a win as you can hope for in the NHL. Game MVP goes easily goes to Josi, but Matt Duchene also gets some love for adding to his season assist total as he now has six through the first three games.