Nashville Predators: Three Big Reasons They Got First Win of Season

Nashville Predators players celebrate after a goal during the third period against the Los Angeles Kings at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators players celebrate after a goal during the third period against the Los Angeles Kings at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators got their first win of the season last night, defeating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in Viktor Arvidsson‘s return to Nashville.

Although it was a low-scoring affair, this was easily the most complete effort the Nashville Predators have given in their first three games.

They got several scoring chances and did not allow many on their end. And when Juuse Saros had to be sharp, he absolutely was.

The Predators didn’t tally a goal until the third period, but that was because they just could not get anything past Cal Petersen, who was exceptional in this one.

Eventually, they would break through, with Matt Duchene getting a dirty goal on the power play, and Tanner Jeannot finishing a perfect setup from Colton Sissons early in the period.

Oh, and how can I forget Jeannot’s absolutely crushing hit on Drew Doughty late in the first? He’s igniting this team right now in major ways that they’ll need throughout the season.

It was not easy, but the Nashville Predators were the better team last night and earned this victory. They won in three different areas, which ultimately made the difference in a close contest.

Sturdy back end for Nashville Predators

As mentioned earlier, the Predators were stingy in their own end and prevented the Kings from getting many prime chances. The Kings’ best stretch of the night seemed to be the time in between their goal and the first television timeout of the second, and even then, Saros hardly struggled.

Other than that, their only true opportunities would be on occasional counterattacks, and Saros made some exceptional saves. There were moments of intense scrums right in front of Saros where he had to come out of his net to challenge, including a sequence with Arvidsson that nearly led to a Kings tying goal.

One of the biggest questions for the Predators coming into the year was whether or not Saros would struggle early in the year, as he usually does.

So far, the answer to that question has been a resounding no. The Predators better hope he can keep his form because even when they dominate offensively, they lack high end talent and will have to win several ugly games.

Nashville Predators win special teams battle

How good does this feel to say, Predators fans? Yes, it is incredibly rare but tonight, special teams was one of the areas that they decisively won.

The Predators were effective in penalty killing, as the Kings struggled to get set up and generate many, if any, opportunities. The power play still has questions in terms of how it is being run, but they recorded a goal by doing dirty work down low with Duchene tying it up.

There have been several games that the Predators have lost or struggled in over the years because their special teams have put them in such a hole.

In close games, can we not see the difference winning that battle makes? It certainly did last night, and it has to carry over against more talented teams coming up on the schedule in October.

Nashville Predators carry momentum at right time

The Predators were getting better and better in the first period, came out swinging in the second, but still found themselves down 1-0 early in the period. You could tell they were getting frustrated as they were nearing the end of 40 minutes of play, but that was the moment in which they completely took over.

Filip Forsberg drew a penalty shot with a sensational move at center ice to gain a breakaway, and although he would miss it, the Predators would not take their foot off the gas.

After that unfortunate miss on the penalty shot, the Predators would draw yet another penalty at the very end of the second, which would result in the Duchene goal, and the Jeannot goal shortly after.

From then on, the Predators didn’t look back, as they kept the aggressiveness in the offensive zone, and clamped down in their own end when they had to. They avoided those bad stretches of five or ten minutes that can cost you games like they did against Seattle.

It may have been closer than it should have been, but they absolutely earned this win with the way they played. Not to mention the Kings had already disposed of one Stanley Cup contending team in the Vegas Golden Knights by a lopsided score of 6-2, so this was a gutsy win over a much-improved Kings team from last season.