The schedule for the Predators so far this season has had them play against some pretty tough teams. After winning against the Islanders, a team that has questions but also has the potential to be very good, victory seemed entirely possible against a Florida team that has lower expectations.
Captain Weber opened the scoring with a bomb from the point after an intense forecheck by the top line. More on them later. Things started to seesaw after that, with Florida and Nashville trading goals until it was tied at 2 at the end of the second period.
Then things got good. Craig Smith put the Preds ahead just over a minute into the period, and a few minutes later, team leader in awesomeness Patric Hornqvist scored the eventual game-winner on the power play. Because he didn't want to send the Nashville faithful home without some drama, Matt Gilroy brought his team back within a goal so the Panthers could do the extra skater thing. Fortunately, there were no last minute heroics for the Kitties. Predators win, 4-3, and are to the .500 mark.
- For the most part, the top two lines looked like they were the top two lines. Everyone was involved in the play and was working hard to cycle and get the puck deep. More of this please.
- However, the little lull in effort that seemed to happen in the second period is not welcome anymore. Florida was able to score twice on some pretty gnarly defensive lapses. Nashville was able to pull through tonight, but doing that against a Chicago or a St. Louis is not a recipe for success.
- With the exception of the Shea Weber goal, every tally tonight was scored by crashing the net. Looks like the Preds are finally starting to realize that crashing the crease is going to pay off. Mike Fisher made a bee-line for it from straight off the bench, and just look how that turned out.
- Speaking of that goal, superb heads up play by Craig Smith to find Fisher streaking through the zone undefended. Brilliant pass. The Honey Badger finished 1-1-2 in 13:52 of ice time, recording 4 shots on goal. If he can keep this type of play up, he might just change a few people's perceptions about his role on the team.
- Former Predator Marcel Goc scored after the teams decided they wanted to start playing volleyball in front of Pekka Rinne.
- There are now two Predators with multiple goals on the season. Woah, fellas, try to save some red lights for the rest of the team.
This was by far the most fun game this season, something that Predators fans haven't had a chance to experience a lot in recent memory. When the fans have fun, the players have fun, and when players are having fun it usually correlates into wins. Chemistry is starting to build with these lines, and I would expect Clune and Spaling to stay out when LA comes to town on Thursday.
Roll the video highlights...
More from On the Forecheck:
- Nashville Predators vs Florida Panthers: 3 Questions with Litter Box Cats
- Tuesday's Dump & Chase: Predators Try to Get Even
- Nashville Predators vs Florida Panthers Preview: Here Comes Barkov
- Barry Trotz Comes Out As Hockey Analytics Devotee
- The Nashville Predators' Week Ahead: Getting the Lineup Locked In