Ryan Johansen’s Big Night Cools off Devils in Nashville Predators Win

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) celebrates with center Ryan Johansen (92) after defeating the New Jersey Devils in overtime at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) celebrates with center Ryan Johansen (92) after defeating the New Jersey Devils in overtime at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ryan Johansen decided to have himself a night to remember as he scored the overtime winner for the Nashville Predators as they cooled off the NHL’s hottest team, the New Jersey Devils.

The common theme surrounding the Nashville Predators coming into this matchup with the New Jersey Devils was finding ways to win games even if it’s ugly. It had just taken a narrow 2-1 overtime win on Tuesday to beat the NHL’s worst team, the Anaheim Ducks.

Safe to say the competition level multiplied greatly in this game against the Devils, a team that had just one loss in November in a streak that spans back to a week before Halloween to find their second loss.

Nashville Predators throw some ice water on the blazing Devils 

This game was high up on the drama scale as the Predators scored just 11 seconds into regulation when Johansen found a loose puck, quickly entered the Devils zone and scored on his own rebound to beat Vitek Vanecek:

Like the rest of his team, Vanecek has been on a blazing run and only suffered his third defeat of 2022-23. His GAA is still at an impressive 2.24, which is fourth among goaltenders with five or more starts.

The Predators’ offensive issues have been well-noted. When you’re struggling to find offense, getting that first goal of the game against a hot team like the Devils is crucial. Getting it in the first 11 seconds is just rare territory:

Oh yeah, and then Johansen proceeded to score the game-winner in overtime thanks to a valiant effort by Matt Duchene to battle three Devils players in the immediate area to get the puck. He found a streaking Johansen in the slot and the rest is history.

Johansen capped off his three-point night, his first three-point game since last April when he scored a hat trick against the Wild.

This all comes after the Devils exploded in the 2nd period for three goals on Juuse Saros in a span of less than three minutes of game time. A lot of people probably turned the television off after that thinking the Predators were cooked against the NHL’s hottest team.

Not so fast my friend, as the great Lee Corso always says.

Not to be outdone, Granny scores late to send it to OT

We can’t just gloss over Mikael Granlund’s tying goal to add even more craziness to this game.

Once again, as I’ve been preaching all week before the Ducks game, the Predators are finding ways to get rebound goals and play hard-nosed hockey. They’re getting rewarded for that.

The Predators aren’t giving up on plays. It’s a beautiful thing to see. It’s the Nashville Predators style of hockey that they’ve always been known for. Be the hardest working team on the ice and don’t get pushed around in loose puck battles.

One area of concern that did creep back up in this game, and assisted in the Devil’s three-goal barrage, was too many penalties. They surrendered five power play attempts to the Devils, while the Predators only had one and failed on it.

light. Related Story. 3 Reasons to Be Cautiously Optimistic about the Preds

With this latest win, the Nashville Predators have won six of their last eight games while also getting points in seven of those eight games. Even the shutout loss to the Detroit Red Wings reveals that the Predators dominated most of that game and just ran into a hot goalie.

To put that into perspective, the Predators have won tough luck regulation loss since November 10th. This has the Predators right back in the thick of the Central Division as they’re tied with the Minnesota Wild with 24 points for fourth place, and just three points behind the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche for third place.