In a game billed as one that we could very well be seeing by the time the playoffs roll around, the Nashville Predators made sure to make a statement against the Los Angeles Kings.
Ryan Johansen had a three-point night, James Neal had a goal and an assist, and Mike Fisher, Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg all lit the lamp, including Forsberg's 30th of the season. Even though it looked like the Kings may storm back to tie the game in the third period, Nashville buckled down and pulled out the win.
The two points doesn't mean anything as far as the postseason goes, but it's great to see Nashville keep their momentum rolling as the 2015-16 campaign winds down.
- As long as Colin Wilson is a professional hockey player, there will always be questions about his performances. But the dude had a hell of a first period, even if it didn't result in anything. First he split the entire Kings team and gets stopped by Jonathan Quick. He may have been able to pick his spot a little better, but you can't fault him for that in the heat of the moment. Later, he rang the iron on a pretty slick shot. If his new role is going to be a bottom six player, that's what you want to see from him.
- Viktor Arvidsson almost had another highlight reel goal moments after Wilson's post shot. Skating down the right wing side, Tiny Vik faked a slapper then cut in front of Quick to fire a backhand shot. The move was so smooth everyone in the arena and even the broadcasting crew thought he scored. Alas.
- Six minutes into the second period, nothing was budging on either side. For as entertaining as the game was, there wasn't a whole lot to discuss. But Tiny Vik decided he wanted to team up with Quick to put everyone's jaw on the floor for a bit. Arvisson engaged his turbo boosters to pull away from any white jerseys and close in on the goaltender all by himself. It looked like he had him beat, but somehow Quick was able to shoot his right pad out to stop the puck.
- James Neal continues his torrid goal scoring hot streak. On a set play following a face off, Neal fired a perfectly placed shot out of the reach of Quick's glove. Nashville turned their heavy pressure into the opening tally of the game.
- Let's also take a moment to appreciate the effort the gold team has put forth so far.
- There's nothing coaches hate more than getting scored on after being whistled for a too many man penalty. Mike Fisher made sure Darryl Sutter glared and mumbled incoherent curse words at his team following a goal to give his team a two-goal lead. (That's not much different from Sutter at any other point in the day, though.) Neal fired a gorgeous pass from the corner straight to Fisher, who collected the rebound off his initial shot and deposited it into the empty cage.
- That was a hell of a goal to score after the disgustingly cute display of Mike, Carrie and Isaiah ahead of the game. Another reminder his life is so much better than ours.
- Nashville has a 30-goal scorer for the first time since 2009-10. The puck somehow found Filip Forsberg to give him a touch before heading straight into the net.
- The Kings did exactly what they needed to do to start the third period when Tanner Pearson broke Pekka Rinne's shutout. The Predators were going to have their work cut out for them, given LA's desperation in the final 20 minutes. They're one of the best possession teams in the game right now, so if they want to turn on the gas they can do so.
- Here come the Kings. Alec Martinez scored from the point to give us a game. Refer to the last bullet about what the Preds were facing, and so far they've given all the momentum to the away team. Hoo boy, hold onto your butts.
- Ryan Johansen saw the worry in your eyes and decided he'd had enough of the Kings' comeback. Joey, who had arguably been the best player on the ice all night, deflected a Shea Weber point shot to restore the multi-goal lead. It was his third point of the night.
- In case you were wondering, the fourth line was drowning tonight. We're talking less than 30% CF at even strength. It's impossible to say if that's matchup and the Kings being the Kings, or if Eric Nystrom is every bit the anchor we expect him to be, but I have my suspicions.
- A regular season game doesn't prove anything, but if these two teams are to meet in the playoffs it would certainly be a hell of a series. It's hard to deny that Nashville has been building momentum into the postseason like the proverbial snowball down rolling down a hill, but it's also hard to bet against the Kings. One thing's for sure, it wouldn't be boring.
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Ryan Johansen: No question he was the best player on the ice for both teams tonight.
- James Neal: There's not much to say about what he's been doing over the past few weeks other than to add that it better keep up in April.
- Mike Fisher: Finally got truly recognized for his 1,000th game, and had his adorable family in attendance. Then scored a goal. Way to go.
Tweets of the Game
@OnTheForecheck +10 charm against all humans, but -5 agility against giants— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) March 22, 2016
On the Jumbotron, Bono just sang "I would play 500 games and I would play 500 more" to the tune of the proclaimers. This is very weird— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) March 22, 2016
Filip Forsberg. 30 goal scorer. #Preds lead the Kings 3-0 in the 2nd #LAKvsNSH: pic.twitter.com/9pUxCCOgFY— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) March 22, 2016
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