The Nashville Predators unbelievably topped the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 in last night’s matchup, and boy was this one something special. Preds Goaltender Juuse Saros stopped 64 shots, yes, 64 shots, to help the Preds get the win over the Canes.
The Preds actually didn’t have any business being in this game, being outshot by Carolina by a margin of 67-25. The Preds found a way with the outstanding play of Saros making the game all that more historic. I’m going to nail down 3 reasons the Preds were able to get the win for 2 points and to cap off the evening for Saros’s stellar performance.
Juuse Saros Was On Another Level
When I say that Saros was playing out of his mind, I really mean it. I know it sounds like a broken record when we say Saros keeps them in games, but here it was truly special.
Saros put up an astounding 64 saves on 67 shots, the most in franchise history and tied for 2nd in the NHL all-time in a regular season regulation game. You don’t see performances like that often at all, so this was truly a sight to behold. Just take a look at the effort Saros was putting in last night:
Saros was undeniably the X-factor in last night’s win. I don’t know if we’ve seen a better outing from the star goaltender since he became the starter. It was truly a historic night for the Finnish goaltender, but he didn’t have to do all the work himself. The team was behind him even with a low shot volume.
Nashville Predators Would Not Go Away
The Preds’ actually didn’t hold the lead until the game-winning 4th goal was scored in the third. They trailed or were tied for the majority of the game, and the Preds seemed to answer rather quickly when they found themselves trailing.
Cane’s forward Paul Stastny opened the scoring with a deflection on the power play to give Carolina a 1-0 advantage 7:41 into the 1st. Just under 3 minutes later, Filip Forsberg got a great feed from rookie Juuso Parssinen to tie the game on the power play. This power play had some nice passing to get the puck to Fil, and boy he did not miss with his shot.
From here it was more of the same. The Canes would get one back, and the Preds would answer shortly after. After it was tied up at 3 during the second intermission, the Preds came out in the and at 5:06 into the third, Mark Jankowski would tip in a shot from Ryan Johansen to make it 4-3, ultimately the game-winning goal.
The Canes weren’t throwing in the towel yet, however, and would proceed to absolutely pound the Predator’s net with shots. Saros, as mentioned before, was up to the task, and with 3 seconds left on the clock Colton Sissons scored the empty net, sealing the Preds’ victory.
The Preds simply were strong when it came to adversity. They may not have had many shots, but found a way to respond to each of Carolina’s 3 goals. This leads me right into my last key: opportunistic.
Preds Were Opportunistic With Their Chances
The Nashville Predators were only able to muster up 25 shots to the Canes’ 67. They really didn’t have any business being in this game, but when they had chances they did not miss.
The Preds answered ever Carolina Hurricanes goal, and quite frankly, when they had chances, they finished. There weren’t many times where the Preds would get a good look but ultimately come up short. They were able to bury most of what they got last night.
As mentioned above, Forsberg tied the game at 1 with a great feed from Parssinen. The second goal would come from a slap shot by Mattias Ekholm, who pounded one home right after an offensive zone faceoff.
The Preds would once again tie the game at 3 after a great feed down low by Mikael Granlund to a wide-open Cody Glass, which closed the scoring after 2. In the third, as mentioned Jankowski was able to tip Johansen’s shot resulting in the game-winning goal.
The Preds were able to get goals where the opportunity arose. When they got chances, they were able to finish. Even with the low shot volume, the score is ultimately what matters, and the Preds offense mustered just enough to get the job done.
The Nashville Predators got themselves a gutsy win last night, carried by the outstanding performance of Saros. Without Saros, this game would’ve easily been a blowout win by the Hurricanes.
The Preds were able to weather the storm (get it?) and strike back even when they found themselves trailing. This is how you deal with adversity, and it ultimately became an X-factor in their win.
When the Preds got chances, they were able to bury them. Seeing the Preds finish off their chances was a nice sight to see, and that kind of opportunistic offense is what the Preds needed in order to win this game.
All in all though, I believe we can all agree that the stellar play of Juuse Saros is what ultimately pushed the Preds over the edge to get the 2 points. It was a historic evening by Saros, and I am sure we won’t forget this one for some time. The Preds are right back in action will face off against the Washington Capitals tonight at 6 PM. Go Preds!