Roman Josi, Nashville Predators Owned Overtime in Win over Maple Leafs

Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the Nashville Predators (R) celebrates his power-play goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on October 28, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the Nashville Predators (R) celebrates his power-play goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on October 28, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

We knew Roman Josi wouldn’t stay scoreless for too much longer, and he ended his goal drought by scoring the overtime game-winner on Saturday night to give the Nashville Predators a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Add another early season impressive win to the Predators’ resume. Including the win over the New York Rangers, the Predators have two victories over Eastern Conference teams I could see eventually hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2024.

The Predators really had to dig deep in this one. Nothing came easy, as you would expect against the Maple Leafs. Twice the Predators had to come back from being down a goal, and to keep it from becoming a multi-goal deficit, Juuse Saros was absolutely clutch.

The “Big 3” Step Up for the Nashville Predators vs. the Leafs

In my matchup preview, I had one key to the game being that the Predators needed their veteran trio to show up; Josi, Ryan O’Reilly and Filip Forsberg.

O’Reilly tallied two power play goals to tie the game each time, while Forsberg played important roles and getting the assists on both goals from O’Reilly.

The first O’Reilly power play goal was set up initially by Forsberg’s smooth zone entry using his puck skills, and then Josi made the primary assist to O’Reilly who capped it off. Great power play work from those three to get the equalizer.

O’Reilly’s second power play goal, to again tie the game back up, was off a perfectly executed deflection directed into traffic by Forsberg. Also huge credit to Luke Evangelista for making the diagonal pass to find Forsberg on the other side.

The Predators’ power play is really starting to become a strength from this club. It has surged to ninth in the NHL with a 23.5 percent success rate. Additionally, the Predators are drawing a lot of power play chances, with the fifth-most opportunities at 34.

This is your recipe for success moving forward. Draw a lot of penalties with your fast pace while also becoming consistent when getting those ample amounts of opportunities.

O’Reilly now has four goals on the season, with three of those coming on the power play. Forsberg has six assists, while Evangelista has five points in his last three games.

Evangelista has the same amount of points on the season (5) as Connor Bedard currently. Just going to leave that out there since Evangelista is considered a rookie.

Defensively speaking, the Predators heavily relied on Saros to be the best version of himself, and that he was. Saros makes 33 saves on the night, but the Maple Leafs also settled for a lot of low danger shots, and only having eight high danger chances.

Dante Fabbro and Jeremy Lauzon finish with four blocked shots each to lead the team, while Sherwood dishes out five hits to lead in that category.

Other Game Notes from Leafs-Preds

The Maple Leafs didn’t necessarily play a bad game, but they did pick the worst time in the game to show fatigue and that was in the overtime period. The Predators basically put on a puck possession clinic and keep away from the Maple Leafs until Josi finally found the opportunity to fire a shot coming into the slot.

Related Story. Why Roman Josi's Slow Start is Nothing to Worry About. light

It’s Josi’s 30th career game-winning goal, per NHL Public Relations. Among defensemen, only seven players have more career game-winning goal with one team.

Liam Foudy made his Nashville Predators debut, but got minimal ice time playing on a line with Philip Tomasino and Juuso Parssinen. This line registered just one shot on goal combined, with Foudy getting 5:25 TOI, Tomasino 7:55 TOI, and Parssinen 9:57 TOI.

It’s hard to see Tomasino in a fourth line role. I don’t see how he’s going to be successful with his skill set in that spot in the lineup. There’s a logjam right now among the forwards and I’m not clear on how Tomasino is going to set himself apart to get back into a top-6 role.

A little surprising to see Parssinen taken off the top line with Forsberg and O’Reilly. Most likely just lineup adjustments and nothing to do with individual performance.

This gave the Predators a veteran top line with Gustav Nyquist joining O’Reilly and Forsberg. At even strength this line was outdone in terms of Expected Goals by the Kiefer Sherwood, Thomas Novak and Evangelista second line.

Healthy scratches for this game was Samuel Fagemo and Michael McCarron. Cody Glass remains on the shelf with a lower body injury, while Luke Schenn is still a ways away from making his return to the lineup and is on injured reserve.