The Nashville Predators start off fast, and finish strong over the St.Louis Blues to help break out of their November slump.
A fast-paced first period, a solid defensive effort and complimentary goaltending was the recipe for success as the Nashville Predators break out of their slump and took down the current Stanley Cup champions. A complete team effort across the board.
This kind of a win goes to show you that it doesn’t matter who the Predators are up against, they’re capable of beating anyone when they play up to their talent level. And they did it by putting together a complete 60-minutes performance.
How it unfolded
The Nashville Predators started out fast out of the gate with a quick shot from Viktor Arvidsson, which led to a big rebound that was put in the net by Filip Forsberg just twenty seconds into the game. It was goal No.10 for Forsberg on the season.
A little over three minutes later, Mattias Ekholm threw the puck towards the net, it bounced off of two St. Louis Blues defenders and went in the net. The Predators finally caught a lucky break and held a 2-0 lead early in the first period. Eventually some lucky bounces had to start going Nashville’s way.
With 6:05 left in the first, Klim Kostin of the Blues sniped a shot for the score to get one back. This was his first NHL goal and only his fourth NHL game. The Predators managed to respond before the period closed. Mathieu Olivier made a power move toward the net and Colton Sissons was credited with a goal for poking it in.
After the first period the Predators led 3-1. They had only scored two first period goals in all of November prior to this. Crazy stat, but we’ll take it nonetheless. Best part is, the Predators played solid with the lead.
The next tally would not be until Alex Pietrangelo scored on a slapshot during a six-on-four with 3:08 left in the game. Only up by one, the Predators gained possession of the puck and closed out the contest with an empty net goal from Calle Jarnkrok.
Jarnkrok’s goal to salt this one away may have been on an empty-net, but the degree of difficult was higher than you may think coming from mid-ice. Big win for the Predators as they’ll see the Blues again 48 hours later back Nashville.
Juuse Saros stopped 24 of 26 shot attempts with a save percentage of .923. After a rough October, Saros has bounced back and given the Predators a chance to win during each of his starts in November.
He’s also been called in to relieve Pekka Rinne more than a handful of times this month. When coming in as relief, Saros hasn’t played as well. However, it seems like a very tall task to be on your top level when you’re come in during the middle of a game against a hot offense.
When playing as the starting goaltender in the month of November, Saros holds a .938 save percentage. When coming in as relief this month, he holds a .815 save percentage. Overall, Saros is playing solid hockey as he displayed tonight, I believe he should be rewarded with another start on Monday. You have to go with the hot hand and the guy that’s giving you the best chance to win.
Arvidsson was cross-checked by Tyler Bortuzzo in the first period, during a power play. Bortuzzo was called for a penalty, looked at the referee in disbelief, then proceeded to cross check Arvidsson again while he was defenseless on the ground. When Arvidsson got up, Jordan Binnington took a shot at him.
This was a dirty play and should have resulted in more than a single penalty and the league has announced that Bortuzzo will have a hearing about the questionable hits today. These kinds of hits against defenseless players after the play is clearly over is something that has no room in the sport.
Arvidsson didn’t return and his status is unknown. If he is hurt who would the Predators replace him with? Kyle Turris was a healthy scratch for the third game in a row, and there is plenty of mystery surrounding this. If he isn’t Arvidsson’s replacement, assuming Arvidsson can’t play Monday, then the Turris conspiracy theories will quickly heat up even more.
The other option would then be to make another call-up from Milwaukee. Perhaps a Daniel Carr would get another opportunity on the NHL level. There’s a host of other possibilities as well.
Goal: Forsberg (10th). Assists: Arvidsson, Josi
Goal: Ekholm (4th). Assists: Granlund, Fabbro
Goal: Kostin (1st). Assist: Schenn
Goal: Sissons (6th). Assists: Olivier, Watson
Predators 3, Blues 1
Goal: Pietrangelo (7th). Assists: Perron, O’Reilly
Goal: Jarnkrok (8th). Assists: Watson, Ellis
Predators 4, Blues 2
St. Louis Blues (14-5-5) @ Nashville Predators (10-9-3). Puck drop is at 7 PM Central time at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators have four more games left in November to try to salvage what’s been a difficult month and also make up some ground in the Central Division.
Big notes to takeaway from this game is the future status of Arvidsson, what will end up happening with Turris and will Saros starts getting more opportunities to start over Rinne? Plenty to talk about as the Predators finally get back on the winning track.