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Nashville Predators 3, New York Islanders 4: THUD.

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Signs of life were found, and the team looked much better... but it's now five games.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In a snow covered Music City, the Predators took to the ice to right the wrongs of the past week. The first 10 minutes went about as good as Nashville would've asked for, except for that whole scoring goals thing. The Isles scored on the 4th shot of the game, and then cashed in after mere seconds on the power play. This not only marks the 10th straight game where Nashville has given up the first goal, but another when they allow the second goal as well. Not good. But the effort didn't stop as James Neal pounded one in with fractions of a second remaining. If that goal doesn't happen, this team would be in serious trouble.

The second period felt more like it belonged to the Islanders. There was a stretch during the second half of the 2nd where the Islanders could've easily added one or two more, but Rinne matched the shots that actually got to him. To the credit of the team, only half of the attempted shots made it through to the big guy.

The Predators power play looked better than it has as of late, and that scoring chance from Filip Forsberg that bounced off of Mike Fisher that caught the post would've been a goal to tell your kids about. Speaking of the Prince, he played much of this game like a man possessed.

So down a goal at home, going into the third period of a very important game to hold onto the driver's seat in the Central Division, how would the Nashville Predators respond?

The skaters kept pressing, and created chances. Even after the Isles goal to make it 3-1, the Preds stepped up and tied it and the building was rocking. In fact, they looked to have been the better team for most of the night and the third period was no exception. But the Islanders had Jaroslav Halak, and he was better than Pekka Rinne tonight. Dare I say... much better. That last goal by Brock Nelson was indicative of that statement. The Islanders sweep the season series, and the streak grows to five.

Random Observations

  • The lines now make much more sense, and the production showed it starting with the first period. Nashville was solidly ahead on shots, attempted shots, scoring chances, and even face-offs.
  • That fourth line looked good at entering the zone. Gabriel Bourque and Taylor Beck don't get a chance to play alongside each other much due to their similar roles on the team, but they seemed to mesh well orbiting around Paul Gaustad.
  • We missed you, you little human rocket ship. Ryan Ellis is mighty good at hockey, and that pairing with Ekholm is mighty good.
  • Fine, I'll say it. IT SEEMS EVERY SINGLE (FULL) SEASON, PEKKA RINNE GETS A NEW MASK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR. HIS PLAY AFTERWARDS IS NOT AS STELLAR. HIs positioning has been bad (look at the Minnesota game) and he's not seeing the puck as well. He normally gobbles up the goals that the Isles scored in the third. But tonight? That was bad.
  • Forsberg's pass to Smith was celestial. The kid is on his game.
  • Halak was awesome tonight. But you know it's not your night when you hit the post 3 times, including a rocket from Taylor Beck.
  • Brock Nelson sounds like a guy my grandma had the hots for back in 1961. He probably had a Harley.
  • Pulling the goalie with more than two minutes and dumping it in. Oof.

END GRAPH

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Nick Leddy. That new contract gets more justified with games like this.
  • Filip Forsberg. He was awesome. Anything else?
  • Peter Laviolette. Those lineup changes did well. No passengers.

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