They don’t always have to be flashy, but the Nashville Predators went out and got a much-needed win with a lineup nowhere near full strength.
Putting the weak opponent aside in the LA Kings, the Nashville Predators got the win thanks to disciplined and smart hockey on Saturday night. They ended their three-game losing streak despite being without multiple key players to their starting lineup.
Ryan Ellis, Matt Duchene, Colton Sissons and Dante Fabbro all missed this, evening out the deck of cards against one of the worst teams in the NHL in the Kings. It’s never a lock to beat any team in the league, especially when you’re missing four starters.
The Predators leaned on their role players and guys recently called up from the Milwaukee Admirals to score four goals and get a relatively comfortable win.
How they did it
The Predators opened up the game in sharp fashion, peppering the Kings with a lot of shots on goal. They had 20 shots on goal in the opening period which resulted in goals from Rocco Grimaldi and Ryan Johansen.
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How about the season that Grimaldi is having? He’s quietly been an unsung hero to the bottom six and that third line. He’s reviving his NHL career and is up to seven goals on the season.
The Kings would finally crack Rinne in the 2nd period with a power play goal. They would capture some momentum back, but this is where the Predators would respond and take over the game. They didn’t panic despite being in danger of letting this game slip away.
Other game notes
Roman Josi is continuing his charge towards the Norris Trophy after this game. He tallies two assists and has his point streak up to nine games. That ties Shea Weber for longest point streak by a defenseman in franchise history:
Roman Josi has extended his career-high point streak to nine games (7g-9a) to tie Shea Weber for the longest point streak by a defenseman in #Preds franchise history.
— Nashville Preds PR (@PredsPR) January 5, 2020
Josi also is in rare company in the franchise’s history to have this many points through the first 40 games of the regular season. He’s up to 43 points, good for 2nd in the NHL among defensman and only trailing Washington’s John Carlson by eight points.
Rinne wasn’t tested all that much, but he makes the saves he has to and improves his season record to 14-8-3. His goal against average gets back below three goals per game now as well.
The Predators power play failed to convert on five attempts. They’re now 24th in the NHL in power play percentage, which is still better than last year’s team that finished dead last. Still not the big improvement we were hoping for.
With this win, the Predators are up to 44 points and four points out of the final wildcard spot held by Winnipeg. They still have games in hand over teams ahead of them in the standings, so they’re nowhere near dead in the water yet.