Nashville Predators Clamp Down on Islanders: It's a Block Party in Smashville

The Predators and Islanders put on masterful performances on defense, but somehow had to eventually take the 2 points.

Jan 13, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) makes a
Jan 13, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) makes a / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Clutch goaltending and outstanding defense from both sides was the theme of the night between the New York Islanders and the Nashville Predators, before things finally started to open up in the third period.

The Predators and Islanders combined for 48 blocked shots while Juuse Saros made 24 saves to get back on the winning track after some rough times as of late.

Ilya Sorokin on the other end was just as impressive, making 25 saves and falling victim to a whacky deflection goal off a shattered stick to put the Predators ahead with just eight seconds left in regulation.

106. Final. 3. 151. Preds Beat Islanders. 1

Preds Play a Rock Solid Game Defensively, Saros Takes Care of the Rest

Alexandre Carrier nabs his third goal of the season and just his ninth of his NHL career. He also blocked three shots and has the team lead in that category with 82.

It was a deflating goal for the Islanders to give up so late in the game considering this puck changed direction off a shattered stick. Credit to Carrier for firing the puck in with the seconds dwindling down and letting the chaos unfold.

The Predators really responded admirably on defense in this game. Two games in a row where the offense took some time to get going, and being on the back end of a back to back after a grueling road win over the Dallas Stars on Friday, this was to be expected.

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However, the defense held strong by helping Saros see the puck better, blocking shots and limiting the penalties to just two minors, both taken by Jeremy Lauzon.

After the Islanders finally broke the scoring open and went up 1-0, it took just over three minutes for Luke Evangelista to respond with a goal on the power play. His eighth goal of his rookie campaign, and one that comes as a big boost on the Predators' second power play unit.

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Filip Forsberg adds another assist to his 2023-24 point total, bringing him to 48 points in 43 games. Philip Tomasino, Roman Josi, Ryan McDonagh and Jeremy Lauzon also tally assists.

Denis Gurianov, playing in his fourth game since being called up by the Predators for the first time, led the team in shots on goal with four. He was very aggressive in his skating and looks to be getting more comfortable in the Andrew Brunette system.

It's only Saros' second win in the last three weeks. He had given up five goals in four of his last five starts. Going into the game I stressed the need for Saros to have a clean first period, and he did that by stopping all nine Islanders shots he faced in the opening period.

The Islanders were hoping to at the very least make it to overtime and get their league leading 11th overtime loss. Instead they take the regulation loss and fall one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Eastern Conference's top wildcard spot.

The Predators move to 24-18-1 with the two hottest teams in the NHL right on their tails in the wildcard race. The Oilers are riding a 10-game winning streak, while the Kraken are 9-0-1 in their last 10 and just two points behind the Predators.