The Nashville Predators franchise-best point streak extended to 14 games, but the team could not secure the extra one.
Johnny Gaudreau scored two goals in 10 seconds during the first period, and with the way goaltender Joni Ortio was playing it looked like the streak was all but over. Except Anthony Bitetto and Mike Fisher had other ideas, and chipped away at the lead in the third period. Fisher's goal came in a ravenous sequence with an extra attacker, and tied the game with just over a minute to go. Overtime loomed...
We all know where this goes from here, though. In no time at all, the Flames potted the OT winner and sent Nashville en route to Vancouver without the extra point. How can a team be so bad at 3-on-3? In a couple of weeks we won't care.
It wasn't a pretty game at all. Nashville looked a step behind for 40 minutes before they were able to muster any energy. It's kind of what you expect from the second of a back-to-back, but they somehow managed a point out of it. Take it, move on, reset for a better effort next time.
- Moments after the fourth line had a pretty dominant shift, the Flames countered with a strong one of their own. Johnny Gaudreau was able to find some extra space on the ice, and took his time to pick a spot. At first glance it sounded like the puck hit the iron, but the horn blew in the middle of play signifying Toronto had given that one an extra look. Sure enough, Calgary were owners of a quick lead.
- Before you could blink, Johnny Hockey did it again. Right off the ensuing faceoff the diminutive hellion sped into the offensive zone. Ryan Ellis made a very un-Ryan Ellis play and tripped over himself and Mattias Ekholm, once again giving Gaudreau nothing but free ice. He pounced on the massive five hole Carter Hutton afforded him, and 10 seconds later the Flames had a two goal lead.
- Few things in hockey chap my ass more than diving goaltenders. Mike Fisher made minimal contact with Joni Ortio, but the latter acted like a Magikarp with epilepsy. Fisher, of course, got two minutes for goalie interference, but thankfully nothing came of it.
- For those of you out of market people, or the explorers who like to venture to different feeds, SportsNet had a fantastic breakdown during the intermission. They compared the difference in styles of Gaudreau's wrister against Forsberg's, complete with fancy graphics and visuals with the replays. FS-TN could take some notes.
- I'm not going to say that Forsberg roughing call on Johnny Hockey was weak, but if it were a person it wouldn't even be able to pick #13 off the ground.
- Not much to say about that second period other than it felt like it was five hours long and Nashville didn't look great through any of it. Total shot attempts were 44-39 in favor of the Flames after 40 minutes, but only 13 of the Predators attempts actually made it to Ortio. Not incredibly surprising, considering they're playing a back-to-back.
- Hey, look at that. Signs of life! Anthony Bitetto scored his first NHL goal to bring the Predators within a goal. Good forecheck and an even better pass by Miikka Salomaki... but it actually wasn't the wrecking ball. Mike Fisher shuffled the pass right to Tony Two Bit, even though he was planted firmly on his tuchus.
- Peter Laviolette decided to put his lines in a blender through most of this game. It seemed to work, as the third period was the strongest of the game. *shrugs*
- THE POINT STREAK LIVES. With just over a minute to go, it was on its last legs. But Fisher was camped out in front of the crease, and a mad scramble ensued with Hutton pulled. Ryan Johansen, James Neal and Viktor Arvidsson all helped keep the puck into the zone and guide it to Fisher's stick. 15 games.
- Oh. Right. Overtime. Gaudreau put a cap on his excellent night when he assisted on Mikael Backlund's winner barely a minute into the extra frame. Don't know why anyone would expect anything else at this point. Harumph.
- Again, not a great effort by Nashville but they managed a point. All games aren't going to be perfect, but with where they are in the standings they don't have to be. Bank those points and prepare for the games that matter.
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Johnny Gaudreau: It takes longer to buffer a video on your phone than it did for him to score two goals tonight.
- Sean Monahan: Had assists on both of the Flames' early goals. I guess that's OK.
- Mike Fisher: A literal bum assist and a tying tally to keep the streak alive. Cool beans.