On the back end of their two-game road trip, the Preds matinee against the New York Rangers turned ugly early on and ultimately ended in a two-goal loss.
The Preds started off the game with solid possession but failed to convert on several good chances at even strength and on the man advantage. With roughly five minutes to go in the first period, a bad pinch and even worse recovery by Alexei Emelin allowed Jesper Fast to put the Rangers on the boad on a rebound.
Henrik Lundqvist made several nice saves on high-dangers chances including two from Kevin Fiala and Colton Sissons. The Rangers had as many defensive breakdowns as the Preds this game, but Lundqvist kept them in it.
Four minutes later, the Preds’ penalty kill finally broke as Chris Kreider buried one home when left alone in front of the net - completely alone, that is (seriously, both defensemen and Johansen were chasing the puck in the SAME corner).
The Preds continued to dominate possession at the start of the second period, and Mattias Ekholm put the Preds on the board a couple minutes into the frame. Ekholm fired home a solid shot from the high slot, and, suddenly, the Preds looked like they had some juice.
The Rangers tightened up their play in the middle of the frame as play began to move back and forth. The Rangers seemed to step up their play, and it led to another two-goal lead. Kevin Hayes coasted in on Matt Irwin, burned him, and buried one top-shelf with about seven minutes to go in the period.
The Preds responded well with some solid offensive zone time. With five minutes to go in the second period, Ryan Johansen gave Roman Josi a sweet pass who threw it on net and went in off Filip Forsberg.
The Preds began the third period with renewed urgency down by one. They dominated possession almost the entire period. After failing to capitalize on a late period, the Preds missed several chances with Saros pulled. Jimmy Vesey ultimately iced the game with an empty-net goal - his first of the season.
- The Preds are seeing a few chances in tight early, but Lundqvist is sharp.
- The powerplay is...interesting. Going in to today’s game, I was mildly impressed with the lateral movement the powerplay was creating and not relying completely on shots from the point.
- The Rangers are getting in passing lanes, and Subban seems completely reliant on his slapshot.
- Interestingly, Alexei Emelin is bad. Too bad he can’t skate that well. We could see the Rangers’ first goal developing from a mile away.
- Colton Sissons has been fairly impressive to start the season. Fiala is starting to improve. Hopefully they both start shooting more.
- I’m not sure what it is, but so far we’ve got a game of complete defensive breakdowns.
- The Rangers are doing an excellent job of drawing forwards into the corners and opening up players in the slot (i.e. their second goal).
- Saros seems to be setting up well. His awareness is lagging a tad when things get chaotic though.
- Austin Watson has silently been an excellent penalty killer this season. Let’s hope that keeps up.
- This is probably overstated, but Filip Forsberg’s play on the boards and his crafty stickwork ability in tight situations is something else.
- Irwin got burned on that third goal - plain and simple.
- Good pressure in front leads to the Preds getting one back.
- The Preds aren’t getting that outplayed, but their defense needs to step up, shut down passing lanes, and tighten up gaps for the third period.
- Too many penalties today. Regardless of how the refs are calling the rule book.
- Several missed high-danger opportunities in the third period. The Preds have to capitalize on those defensive breakdowns.
- Filip Forsberg backchecking is a thing of beauty. He always has his head on a swivel looking for the trailing forward.
- A strong possession game overall but too many miscues.
Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Mattias Ekholm: 20 minutes of ice time, 64% Corsi For, and a much-needed goal.
- Calle Jarnkrok: A quiet game, but he was 53% in the dot and finished with a 74% Corsi For rating.
- Roman Josi: An all-around solid game when his peers were oozing mistakes.
Tweets of the Night
Offensive superstar Alexi Emelin came within a hair’s breadth— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) October 21, 2017
Emelin, Irwin, and Johansen maybe isn’t a shorthanded unit the Preds should try again anytime soon.— Kate (@statswithkate) October 21, 2017
All I've got are puns about how Emelin isn't Fast, folks.— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) October 21, 2017
Juuse Saros hasn't gotten much help today, but dating back to last season, he has now allowed 3+ goals in 10 of his last 13 starts. #Preds— Ryan Porth (@PorthGame) October 21, 2017
Ryan Johansen got that pass off with one hand on his stick. And he does that all the time. It's a lot more difficult than he made it look.— Robby Stanley (@RStanleyNHL) October 21, 2017
Irwin doing work today to undercut everyone who was asking why we were complaining about him.— Kate (@statswithkate) October 21, 2017
There’s no excuse for continuing to play Matt Irwin. He’s been absolute garbage all year.— thicc bonino (@statsrespecter) October 21, 2017
"Just don't do anything my team would've done last season." pic.twitter.com/YQyn511yaI— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) October 21, 2017
Even if Ellis gets healthy Laviolette still won't play the top four thirty minutes each so— Marya (@_marya_k) October 21, 2017
why can't the Preds get guys like Jimmy Vesey?— Dave Lozo (@davelozo) October 21, 2017