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Nashville Predators 4, New York Islanders 2: Top Line Shines, Powers Preds to Convincing Win

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Ryan Johansen, James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok all had a hand in a win against the New York Islanders.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators continued their dominance through the NHL by defeating the New York Islanders tonight.

For nearly 40 minutes the Preds peppered Thomas Greiss with shots and wreaked general havoc in their zone. James Neal, Ryan Elllis and Ryan Johansen made their mark during the game and Austin Watson iced it with an empty net.

Despite leading by two goals multiple times throughout the game, Nashville out attempted the Islanders 61-42 and outshot them 32-22. A great effort against a very good team that is trying to solidify their position at second place in their division.

That momentum is going to help as tomorrow brings a game against the very best the league has to offer in the Washington Capitals.

Random Observations

  • Nine minutes into the game the Islanders decided they wanted to have a defensive breakdown. Every skater within a 10 mile radius gravitated to the lethal weapon that is Calle Jarnkrok. Meanwhile, mild-mannered and ineffective James Neal was left wide open in the slot in front of Greiss. Just kidding, both of those adjectives are false, and Neal buried his 27th of the season. Give Nashville the early lead and mark it as absolute neutral on the Jame Neal Hateful Goal Scale™.
  • Other than Ryan Ellis turning Ryan Strome inside out and Greiss making a save like an angry octopus, nothing really stood out in the first period. But Nashville dominated that one in every sense of the word.
  • Call me crazy, but I prefer when Barret Jackman is in the lineup. Like comfy moccasins or a beer koozie, you probably don't give them much thought when they aren't in use, but when they are you wonder how you ever survived without them.
  • Directly following a faceoof, Ryan Pulock scored his first-ever NHL goal out of nowhere. It was a deflating goal for the Predators to give up, and by the way their shoulders sagged you could tell they knew it.
  • Filip Forsberg just Craig Smithed it. Missed a wide open net in embarrassing fashion. Woof.
  • With the power of a ginger beard bred of a thousand rocketships, Ryan Ellis leaned into a slap shot that pierced Greiss to restore Nashville's lead. The goal was scored on a power playing earned from Cal Clutterbuck's trip on Roman Josi.
  • Ryan Johansen provides an insurance marker in the most beautiful of ways. Dude was skating so fast that if he was a 12-year-old with a bike it would have flames on it. That top shelf snipe is the kind of thing we all expected from him when he was brought in, and one of the things elite players can do. That first line has been showing up to play recently. See, we told you not to worry about him.
  • Woof. Just over two minute into the third period, Brock Nelson waltzed right into the offensive zone and snuck a puck through Pekka Rinne. It wasn't a good goal to give up, and it continued the Islanders' surge which they started toward the end of the second period.
  • Again, call me crazy but I'm not nearly as uptight or nervous when Tony "Two-Bit" Bitetto is out on the ice. He's not a flashy defenseman and hopefully won't play any minutes above the third pair, but he's been less noticeable out there than earlier in the season and recently the times you do see him he's making an offensive move. Try not to split hairs over the sixth defenseman, but he's not terrible.
  • Austin Watson puts the icing on the cake.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • The First Line: Each of the dudes on the top line had a point, and supplied a combined five points for the game. It gives a little bit of relief to those who were concerned that they weren't producing much recently.
  • Anthony Bitetto: An assist and a pretty sweet move that almost resulted in a highlight reel goal.
  • My moccasins: Seriously. Get you a pair.

Tweets of the Game

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - War-on-Ice - HockeyStats - Natural Stat Trick