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Nashville Predators 4, Vegas Golden Knights 1: Secondary Scoring Shows Up With a Vengeance

I’m still sad we didn’t get the Hartman hat trick.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators entered the evening against an up-and-down Vegas Golden Knights team. The Preds wanted to get above .500 at home, while the Knights just wanted to get more wins than losses on the season.

Both teams started the game with a few chances during a long stretch of uninterrupted hockey. After that, the period tilted toward the Knights, with a brief flash of hope from the Johansen line before Ryan Ellis took a penalty. Shea Theodore broke up a shorthanded chance, leaving Bonino in the offensive zone well behind the play as the Knights went back on the attack. The penalty ended without either team scoring.

Toward the end of an uninspiring first period, Juuse Saros made a few great saves, and then Viktor Arvidsson took a holding penalty. This time the penalty kill was unsuccessful, as Reilly Smith scored straight past Saros’s catching glove. The Predators got out of the period without further damage on the scoreboard, but trailing the Knights 5-13 in shots on goal and 9-17 in total shots taken. Even 5v5 it wasn’t great, but the two penalties really sealed the deal.

The Predators probably needed to come out for the second period with their hair on fire. They did not, but Zac Rinaldo drew an early penalty to put the Predators on the power play. Unfortunately, the Knights’ penalty kill was aggressive and efficient, and the Preds weren’t able to even the score. The power play did seem to give the Predators some momentum, though, as they were able to keep play going in the Knights’ end for a while.

Then, once again, things went awry. Yannick Weber decided to join five of his friends, and the Preds were called for a really egregious too many men. Colton Sissons had two great shorthanded chances, and Calle Järnkrok added another; the Preds had the better of the looks on the Knights’ power play but were unable to score. If they’d been playing like this 5v5 all game the score would probably look pretty different.

Ryan Hartman, who’d been threatening all night, broke through to tie the game a little past the halfway mark with a ridiculous backhander off a nice assist from Kevin Fiala, then the two of them did it again less than a minute later.

The Knights cranked up the pressure after Hartman gave the Predators the lead, but this time the Predators were able to hold their own. Arvidsson drew a penalty and the Preds got an extended sequence in the Knights’ end with Saros pulled for the extra skater, but just seconds into the Preds’ power play Ryan Ellis took a penalty behind his own net and the period ended 4v4.

The third period opened with some lively back-and-forth play even once the penalties ended. The Knights rang iron twice early, but Järnkrok was the first to score in the third, with a beautiful assist by Kyle Turris to make it happen.

Arvidsson almost got the fans Frosties, but a great save by Malcolm Subban kept the score within two. Arvidsson did draw a penalty, leaving the Predators to kill off another power play. Fortunately, it went better than their recent late PP against the Sharks. Unfortunately, just as the penalty had expired, the Knights cleared the puck over the glass and went back on the penalty kill for delay of game. The Preds escaped the second power play without incident, the Knights pulled Subban for the extra attacker, and Viktor Arvidsson got the fans frosties after all, being awarded a goal after being hauled down on a tenacious play at the empty net.

The Predators secured the win and got a few things they needed—better play at home, secondary scoring, and solid play from Saros in net.

Random Observations:

  • Is there a NHL fan on the planet who still hasn’t noticed that Shea Weber got traded for P.K. Subban? C’mon, MSNBC. It’s 2018.
  • Fourth line + third pairing get saved from their third consecutive icing by a door luckily popping open.
  • Okay, we went from no whistles to every whistle at once.
  • What is Nick Bonino doing here.
  • Ryan Hartman, however, can stay.
  • Vegas keeps going offside and it’s probably one of the bigger strokes of luck for the Preds this period.
  • Spoke too soon. Saros is probably going to want that back.
  • NBCSN found a shot-on-goal counter! It was there for one brief beautiful moment, and then it was gone again. How dare they taunt us like this.
  • Craig Smith has 40% of the Preds’ SOG going into first intermission.
  • Hartman is looking good out there.
  • Also, he’s playing some darn good hockey.
  • How do you play that badly with six skaters on the ice?
  • Wow, Sissons.
  • Bridgestone has woken up.
  • I, a resident Ryan Hartman Believer, am pleased with this turn of events. Fellow Ryan Hartman Believers are welcome to join us in a treehouse for club meetings.
  • I don’t know what these lines are but I think I might like them.
  • What an effort from Viktor Arvidsson.
  • PK Subban really, really wants to score on Malcolm Subban. He has four shots on goal through the second intermission, plus one additional shot that didn’t make it.
  • Yannick Weber activating deep into the OZ. I’m pretty sure I’m still awake and haven’t lapsed into some kind of fever dream.
  • Calle.
  • That would’ve been the goal of the month from Arvidsson if Malcolm Subban hadn’t stopped it.
  • Colton “Power Play Forward” Sissons is a better look than Bonino on that unit, at least.
  • Ah, the awarded goal! The last time I saw one of those I think it was Joe Thornton, who’d meant to pass.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game:

  1. Ryan Hartman: Both of those goals, y’all.
  2. Kevin Fiala: Both of those assists, y’all.
  3. P.K. Subban: Really good on both sides of the puck tonight.

Tweets of the Night: