The Predators emerged from the bye week with an impressive win over the Western Conference leading Vegas Golden Knights tonight, beating them 1-0 on a goal by Kevin Fiala.
Nashville came out with some energy in the first. Craig Smith had an early chance that went just wide, and then Miikka Salomaki almost converted a brilliant play by Mattias Ekholm for a goal. But Marc-Andre Fleury was there to stop the Preds early.
After the Preds killed an Alexei Emelin interference penalty, they went on the power play at the end of the period thanks to a slash by James Neal. The Knights killed the penalty. Then the Preds got another power play chance that the Knights killed, this coming after a furious start to the 2nd by the Preds.
Back to back penalties by Colton Sissons gave the Knights a couple of power plays, but the Preds held on to keep the game scoreless, thanks in part to Austin Watson stopping the puck on the red line with his skate. Juuse Saros and Marc-Andre Fleury continued to keep their teams in it, stopping tough shots and redirects all night.
At the end of the 2nd period, William Carrier hit Ryan Johansen up high on the side board and Joey went down immediately. There was no call on the play, but probably should have been. Carrier came in late and aimed his shoulder high. It wasn’t an elbow or anything, but it was dirty.
Johansen would not return to the game. And remember, the Preds were already without Viktor Arvidsson, who went on injured reserve earlier in the day.
The third period was quite a ruckus. Both teams were furiously trying to get a goal on the board, but the goalies weren’t having it. That is, until Kevin Fiala pounced on a rebound and roofed it by Fleury with 12 minutes left in the game. The Golden Knights poured it on in the final 10 minutes, but just couldn’t solve Saros.
Saros was sensational tonight. He finished with 43 saves and looks so, so much better than earlier this season. Love this kid.
Now we wait to see about Arvidsson and Johansen.
- Some early sustained pressure by the Knights. The Preds will need to spend a lot of time in the offensive zone in order to get a win here tonight. They will need to get a lot of shots on Fleury.
- The Preds have some spring in their step. Moving well through the neutral zone. They’ve had two solid chances so far in the period, but Fleury was right there.
- Oh man, Matty Eck with a great move low in the circle to give Salomaki a chance. Wow, that would have been the assist of the year.
- Saros looking mighty fine in net.
- The power play doesn’t look terrible. Just needs to score.
- Transition game is looking pretty good. Right after Bonino cleans up a loose puck in front of Saros, two passes later Hartnell gets a good look on Fleury. Been that kind of game all night. Lots of speed through the neutral ice by both teams.
- Goodness, Subban can absolutely dominate a shift from time to time. It’s like he’s the only one out there.
- Fleury is keeping the Knights in this one right now.
- SO many chances are coming now. By both teams.
- That first 5 minutes of the 2nd was incredible for the Preds. Still no goal.
- Man, that sequence in front of Saros on the penalty kill was insane. Watson made the kick save off the red line and then dove for the clear from in the circle. Crazy stuff.
- Sissons with two penalties here in this period. He’s not been awesome in replacement for Forsberg on that top line.
- Jesus. Joey just got drilled up high. He stays down for a while and is headed to the locker room.
- And he doesn’t come out for the 3rd. Oh my god, that’s terrible.
- Saros and Fleury have both been incredible.
- FINALLY!! A GOAL! I definitely didn’t think that went in at first. My angle of it, it look clearly off the cross bar, but it definitely got in under the net. Great shot by Fiala, who had a wide open net.
- Incredible finish. Some great defensive work by the Preds to preserve the shutout. Amazing.
- Whoo hoo! No bye week blues.
Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Saros: Best goalie tonight, and that’s saying something.
- Fiala: Needed something like this from him. Great goal to put the Preds on the board.
- Subban: He was everywhere tonight. Made some incredible plays at both ends to keep the energy going.
Tweets of the Night
Seeing Jarnkrok skate by Neal and imagining all the things that could be said— Marya, huge lacrosse fan (@_marya_k) January 17, 2018
Jeremy Roenick called Kid Rock the greatest musician in the world tonight. #NHL— Mark Harris (@TweetsByHarris) January 17, 2018
not if you like seeing goals— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) January 17, 2018
And here’s the hit on Joey:
Will Carrier may have to answer the bell for this one. He just decked Ryan Johansen. pic.twitter.com/JqMesh0Gn6— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 17, 2018