The Nashville Predators were relentless on Thursday night as they took down the Detroit Red Wings 7-1. The Predators have been on a hot streak recently and are now 16-17-1.
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However, last night our questions were answered, and Grimaldi exploded back onto the scene.
Let’s break down the tape!
1ST PERIOD HAT TRICK
Thirteen seconds after Tolvi’s goal, Grimaldi scored his second goal of the night on a ridiculous angle from the side of the net, and the Preds took a 3-0 lead. The Red Wings quickly pulled their goalie as a result.
Thirty seconds after that, Grimaldi buried his third goal of the night, again assisted by Haula. This gave Grimaldi the fastest hat trick in Predators franchise history, taking only eight minutes and eight seconds.
Despite tons of sloppy play, the Red Wings managed to score their only goal of the game on a power-play with less than a minute remaining in the 1st period. This broke a Predators streak of 17 consecutive killed penalties.
Tolvanen almost scored again with 30 seconds left in the period, but it was reviewed and waved off due to a somewhat questionable offsides penalty.
The Red Wings attempted to create some momentum to start the 2nd period, but the Predators kept their cool. While most of the period was relatively uneventful, Mikael Granlund scored on a beautiful assist from Roman Josi with seven minutes left in the period. The Preds then led 5-1.
The beginning of the 3rd period saw another Detroit power-play, but the Preds played lock-down defense, not allowing a single shot on goal. A few minutes later, Mathieu Olivier scored his third goal of the season, thanks in part to Yakov Trenin blocking the goaltender’s vision. The Predators extended their lead 6-1.
Grimaldi scored again on a breakaway with some flashy moves, his fourth goal of the night. This was his second career four-goal game, and the first time the Preds have scored seven goals since December of 2019.
Notably, Grimaldi almost scored again with less than a minute remaining but was blatantly hooked by a desperate Detroit defender.
AND NOW FOR SOME #ANALYSIS
The Predators completely dominated this game from start to finish, playing far more efficiently than their opponents. They started aggressively and kept their foot on the gas for 60 straight minutes.
Grimaldi showed his true potential as a speedy, high-upside player. Even after his fourth goal, he barely smiled, instead displaying a look of hunger, as though he wasn’t done yet.
Frankly, I think that’s the attitude that the Preds need to take with them for the rest of the season. The beginning was very rough, but the team has recently been on a hot streak. And yet, the team ought to take a page from Grimaldi’s book: they shouldn’t be done yet either.
Only one game under a .500 record, the Predators are now backdoor playoff contenders if they can keep this momentum.
Juuse Saros has allowed one or fewer goals in five straight games since returning from injury. Coupled with Pekka Rinne’s good play as of late, solid goaltending gives the Predators a chance to win any game.
Special teams have also improved dramatically, as Tolvanen and Filip Forsberg have been nightmares for opposing units.
Head Coach John Hynes seems to have finally settled on a lineup he likes, which has allowed players to build chemistry with one another. And now they’re winning more. Shocking, I know.
The Predators will look to continue their hot streak with a visit to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, March 27th at 7:00 pm CST.