The Nashville Predators carried third-period momentum from a game one loss into their game two win. They must build on this in game three and take the lead in this best-of-five series.
The Nashville Predators had to win game two. Losing the first two games in a best-of-five series would have probably sealed their fate. While not impossible to come back from that deficit, history would not have been on their side.
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The Predators had a lot of work to do to correct all of the issues that arose in game one. The adjustments that they made helped this team get a much-needed win in game two. Now they have to keep up their intensity to prevail in today’s game.
The Predators came ready to play in the first period of game two. After a very early Filip Forsberg penalty was killed off, they settled in and started playing their game.
There were some areas of the Predators’ game that still looked a little shaky, but they were energized by a Nick Bonino no-look goal around the eight-minute mark of the first period. Ryan Johansen tallied a goal two minutes later, putting the Predators up 2-0.
The Predators smothered the Coyotes in the second period, holding them to four shots in total. A Colton Sissons pass from behind the net to Calle Jarnkrok allowed him to net his first goal of these playoffs, making the score 3-0 Predators.
The third period saw a push by the Coyotes, but the Predators continued to nurse their lead. An absolute rocket by Viktor Arvidsson put the Predators up 4-0.
Unfortunately, the Predators went into cruise mode in the waning minutes of the third period. Their sloppy play led to two rapid Coyotes goals making the score 4-2, ruining a playoff shutout for Juuse Saros.
The Coyotes pulled Darcy Kuemper to try to get some quick goals to equalize. The Predators were able to hold them off, sealing a 4-2 victory.
Game 3 Matchup
The Predators played a good solid game two. They came out strong and dominated throughout the game. They have to play with this same intensity and focus for a full sixty minutes in today’s game.
All of the offensive lines were productive and had some excellent looks throughout game two. Balanced scoring was also another plus that has to carry over to game three.
The Predators played excellent defense in front of Saros this time. They blocked 21 shots in game two. Keeping up the defensive pressure and helping to block the net is a must as the Coyotes are sure to come out firing and looking for redemption.
The Coyotes scoring two quick goals at the end of the game should send an urgent message to the Predators. You can’t let up against the Coyotes at any time. They will capitalize on any weakness that they can find, as evidenced in the closing minutes of game two.
For game three, we should expect to see the same lineup for Head Coach John Hynes. Saros’ performance in game two should seal his game three start as well. He was able to stop 24 out of 26 shots for a .923 save percentage.
The Predators can’t rest on their laurels for game three. We have seen this team implode after wins like game two. Arizona will be tough to handle after the humiliating game two loss.
For the Arizona Coyotes, it’s back to the drawing board. They had to feel pretty good about their game one win. The game two loss should be a huge wake-up call for them. The Predators aren’t going to go away.
The Coyotes’ star forwards were non-existent in game two. They were able to get pucks to the net but were unable to get anything past a focused Saros and a defensive-minded Predators team.
They will need to try to lure the Predators from in front of Saros to open up the shooting lanes if they are to be successful.
The defense was unable to stop a charged-up Predators’ offense. They did a good job containing the Predators offense a few times but had to spend much of their time in their defensive zone. Moving the puck into the Predators’ half of the ice and keeping it there will be a must for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes will have a decision to make in goal for game three, but the decision may already be made. Antti Raanta was the backup goaltender for game two but left the bench in the second period after suffering a puck to the head during warmups.
If Raanta is healthy, we may see him in favor of Kuemper in game three. Kuemper had a rough game two. The Predators sent several quality shots to the net, especially in the second and third periods. Kuemper stopped 24 out of 28 shots on goal.
We are also waiting to see if Nick Schmaltz will be available for game three after being deemed “unfit to play” before game one. He has yet to play in this series and could be a factor in this game if he is healthy.
Puck drop is scheduled for 1:30 P.M. CDT today and will be televised on NBCSN and locally on Fox Sports Tennessee.