Chaos erupted in the second period of the Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, ending in a 6-5 overtime winner for Filip Forsberg. His second-straight game carrying his team to victory.
The Predators are 12-3-0 over their last 15, and during this stretch have shown they can win games in low-scoring, grind it out fashion or they can get into the track meets and win that way. The Predators had to win low-scoring affairs in their two previous wins over the Flyers and Canadiens.
On a night when goaltending wasn't reliable for the Predators with Kevin Lankinen between the pipes, the Predators had to turn on the jets and light up the scoreboard. A stretch of 52 seconds of game clock in the second period saw the Predators score twice and the Hurricanes score once.
A Rollercoaster 2nd Period, But the Preds Don't Back Down
After Ryan O'Reilly made it 4-3 in favor of Carolina only to give up a quick goal back to Carolina, it felt like this just wasn't going to be the Predators' night. The Hurricanes were buzzing all over the net with some great passing and structure, and Lankinen wasn't at the top of his game seeing the puck.
My turning point of this game is Tyson Barrie breaking loose in transition and finishing by beating Antti Raanta. Of all players to score in this situation, you get a veteran who is now on the trade block and getting healthy scratches to make this play.
You always feel like you have a chance when you're only down a goal, and for Philip Tomasino to get the transition going to Cole Smith, and then for Smith to deliver a perfect set up pass to Barrie, it's just glorious team hockey and Head Coach Andrew Brunette's system working to a tee.
Brunette told the team's official website that the Predators did a great job pushing back against a Hurricanes team that is a "well-oiled machine". Can't argue with that, and refreshing to see the Predators hang toe-to-toe like they did, and ultimately seal it in overtime.
Preds are an Unstoppable Force in Overtime
And let's talk about how difficult the Predators are going to be to beat in overtime. They're 4-0-0 in overtime games and one of just three teams who have yet to take an overtime or shootout loss yet.
The trio of Filip Forsberg, Ryan O'Reilly and Roman Josi in the 3-on-3 overtime format is going to be challenging for any team to deal with. Especially if they win that opening faceoff, which they did in this one against Carolina.
Forsberg has three overtime goals already this season, and all in the first minute of overtime. That joins him with just three other players in NHL history to accomplish that feat (Jonathan Toews, Leon Draisaitl, Brad Marchand).
To add to Forsberg's overtime heroics, he's just the fourth player in NHL history to score opening minute overtime goals in back-to-back games. So what I'm gathering from all of this is you have to feel pretty confident in the Predators when they push it to overtime.
Josi stuffed the stat sheet on this night as well, registering three points and having a vintage wraparound goal to win the race to the other side of the net over Raanta.
With so much to praise on the Predators right now, Josi has kind of flown under the radar which is crazy to think is even possible. He's up to 26 points on the season and tied with Forsberg for the team lead with 19 assists.
Josi is still performing among the best at his position in terms of producing offense. Among NHL defensemen Josi is seventh in points and tied for third in goals with 7.
Pick Your Poison with this Predators Team?
More and more we're seeing that this Predators team can beat you with their depth, their special teams, their star players and with their goaltending. They don't always click at the same time, but they're showing they can excel in any of those categories on a consistent basis.
Finally, to put a bow on this game, how about some more kudos to some unlikely heroes like Jeremy Lauzon? He jumped in on the rush for the tying goal in the third period off a primary assist from Luke Evangelista. Again, beautifully executed transition hockey from the entire line on that play.
If Lauzon is starting to get in on the offensive rushes and put pucks in the back of the net, then what else can you say other than this team is having fun right now and getting rewarded for it.
Brunette's style of play he preaches to his players gives you a chance in games like this. You can be down, but you're not out as long as there's time left on that clock. Especially when you still have over half of regulation left. It was deflating to allow the Hurricanes to get back the two-goal lead so quick after O'Reilly's goal made it 4-3, but they kept at it.
The Predators are at 34 points on the season and have the top wildcard spot 30 games in. A lot of hockey left to be played, but it's fair to say the Predators are arriving ahead of schedule for a lot of folks who expected this to be a learning curve type of year under Brunette.