For a second night in a row, the Nashville Predators had a wild night that ended in a thrilling win. This time it came against the New Jersey Devils.
A lot of different milestones happened last for the Nashville Predators as they added another win and inched closer to being in a playoff spot for the first time in a long time.
GM David Poile of the Nashville Predators now has the most wins by a GM in NHL history after this 6-5 win over the Devils in the shootout:
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 31, 2020
The milestones don’t stop there. Filip Forsberg had an incredible night as well as he scored two regulation goals and scored in the opening round of the shootout. His two goals move him to a tie with Shea Weber and Martin Erat for most goals in Predators franchise history.
Forsberg will certainly claim the top spot most likely at some point next season as David Legwand sits at the top with 210 goals. The Predators desperately need stars on this team, like Forsberg, to step up and help carry them back into the playoffs.
Wild and crazy night
The Predators just don’t play ordinary games anymore. You can expect pretty much every game to be wildly entertaining and frustrating all rolled up into one. This one against New Jersey falls into that category.
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It’s a big night for head coach John Hynes as he got some redemption over the team that fired him just less that two months ago. It wasn’t a smooth ride, but Predators continue to show that they’re not going to roll over and die.
Hynes is keeping his new team hungry and aggressive as they try to salvage the season and make a second half surge into a playoff spot. The Predators are now 5-4 under Hynes, although I really don’t want to count the Boston game against him as he didn’t even have one practice under his belt yet.
This game opened up with the Predators scoring first, and the seesaw battle commenced. Mattias Ekholm struck first, then Forsberg would retake the lead for Nashville for his 17th goal of the season.
New Jersey would take back the lead with two unanswered goals, both coming on the power play. Pekka Rinne and the rest of the penalty killers continue to struggle when having a player in the penalty box.
Nick Bonino would then tie the game back up with his 15th goals of the season on a wrist shot. This all happened in a 2nd period where defense was optional for both teams. We would enter the final period with New Jersey having the 4-3 lead.
Matt Duchene would get in on the scoring parade with his 11th goal of the season, with Roman Josi tallying one of his two assists on the night, Then Forsberg would get the tying goal to send it eventually to a shootout.
Forsberg and Duchene would score the shootout goals and Rinne would stand tall to only surrender one goal on three New Jersey attempts to deliver his 17th win of the season.
Still no defense
As great as these two wins have been, you have to ask yourself if this style of play is sustainable? Maybe it is long enough to sneak them into a playoff spot, but I don’t see it working in a seven-game series against any legit playoff opponent.
The Predators are an exciting team to watch, both in positive and negative ways. They surrender a lot of goals, and in return play aggressive hockey than generates a lot of goals for themselves.
Rinne is unfortunately no longer the goaltender he once was as age eventually catches up with everyone. However, he’s not as bad as his stats suggest. There’s virtually no defense from Nashville as they’re missing Ryan Ellis and getting burned constantly on special teams.
Maybe the Predators can keep riding this wave of scoring long enough to snatch up a playoff spot. They clearly have plenty of offensive weapons to pile up goals and win high-scoring affairs.
The Predators are now 6th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.34. They’re also top-five in the league on 5-on-5 goals with 120. They’re going to have to be extremely disciplined and stay out of the penalty box to strengthen their chances of keeping teams from scoring.
Other game notes
Josi’s two assists moved him past the 50-point mark on the season making him the first defenseman in team history to do that through the first 50 games. He’s just third player overall, joining Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya:
Roman Josi became the first defenseman, and third @PredsNHL player, to record 50 points through their first 50 games of a season. The others: Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya in 2006-07. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/CjBzPFork1
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 31, 2020
The Predators are now just two points out of a wildcard spot, trailing the Vegas Golden Knights. Perfectly enough the Predators have the Golden Knights up next on Saturday night back home at Bridgestone Arena.
This game will undoubtedly be and feel like a playoff game. The Predators need to keep this positive momentum going, and Vegas has been stumbling through the month of January with six losses.
The ability of this team to go on scoring surges and light up the scoreboard on anyone gives you reason for hope, but there are still a lot of glaring weaknesses that gives you reason to doubt them.