Nashville Predators: Three Reasons They Defeated Hurricanes in Overtime

Nashville Predators (Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
Nashville Predators (Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

The preseason is winding down, and the Nashville Predators have definitely given plenty of reasons for optimism with their play over their five exhibition games. Their latest preseason win a 3-2 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes .

What a game this was between the Predators and Hurricanes, their first meeting since the heated first round playoff series back in May. This had all the feels of a regular season game. The crowd was into it, the players didn’t hold back, and the goaltenders were tested early and often.

The final score isn’t normally a point of emphasis in the preseason, but in this case it felt like a dry run of the regular season. Both teams had most of their top players on the ice, so this result is something Head Coach John Hynes has to be pleased with.

Philip Tomasino would end up being the hero with the overtime game-winner by sticking with the puck on a shot, skating into the high danger zone to get the feed from Filip Forsberg. His second goal of the preseason.

Here’s three reasons why the Predators got this win to bring their preseason record to 3-1-1 with one game left, back home against the Hurricanes on Saturday night.

1. Saros picks up where he left off

Tell me you haven’t heard this one before, but yes, Juuse Saros once again carried the heavy workload to get the Nashville Predators to victory.

The game started off in crazy fashion with one goal being scored by each team within three minutes of regulation. The Hurricanes scored with a lot of bodies in front of the net and a sprawling Saros just couldn’t find the puck.

In that case, the Predators have to do a better job of clearing the puck out of that area. Saros tightened up after that.

The Hurricanes would get one more goal to tie it up at 2-2 late in the third period on a laser from Jesper Fast that appeared to be slightly deflected off Roman Josi‘s stick. Again, another very difficult save for Saros to make and one where the Predators got caught a little flat footed.

Saros finishes with 40 saves on 42 shots, illustrating that he’s clearly ready to go for what’s going to easily be his heaviest workload of his NHL career this season, barring any lengthy injuries.

2. We might have a top line for the Nashville Predators

This has been a mystery all offseason. Who will exactly be on the Nashville Predators top line? Plenty of options, but no clear cut answer until maybe now.

The trio of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene made things happen all night. They wasted no time by getting the first goal of the game just 27 seconds in as Johansen found a loose puck in close to slam it home.

They continued their line chemistry throughout the night, with Duchene nabbing a deflection goal on the power play off a shot from Josi. Johansen would get the assist on that play.

This is perhaps the more promising result from the game than the final score itself. The fact that Hynes seems to have his top line figured out for the regular season opener on October 14 against the Seattle Kraken.

I would be incredibly shocked if this doesn’t end up being the initial top line. They’ve earned it, they’re veterans and you need leaders at the top. Let’s just hope they don’t revert back to old habits and disappearing acts.

3. Disciplined hockey

Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, albeit in two dominant wins, the Predators committed 14 penalties. Seven in each game, and that’s just entirely too much, regardless of how good you think your penalty kill might be.

They did kill off 13 of those 14 penalties, to their credit, but it was nice to see them play smarter in this game against a Hurricanes team that will make you pay when you’re in the box. The Hurricanes went goose egg on the power play in three attempts, and that all came in a flurry of special teams play in the second period that also saw some 4-on-4 action.

It’s understood that the Predators are going to be an ultra physical team and probably commit a lot of penalties. It comes with the territory when you play that way, but it’s good to seem them play a little more disciplined hockey and avoid the sloppy penalties.

The Predators were also opportunistic in one of their two power play opportunities with Duchene’s deflection goal to make it 2-1.

Up next the Predators close out the preseason back home against the Hurricanes again. Not sure who all we’ll see in the lineup, but Hynes has to be feeling pretty certain about his starting lineup at this point.