It’s not the longest road trip in terms of games, but the two-week excursion west of the Mississippi River is an annual November tradition for the Nashville Predators.
It’ll also encompass this and three-fourths of next week’s version of the weekly rewind.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your coffeemakers:
The Fast Money Round
Wednesday: Predators 4, Colorado Avalanche 1
A first-round playoff rematch kicked off the road trip, and a line that needed to step up did so in Denver. Nick Bonino’s unit handled the offensive output, especially Colton Sissons, who continued to terrorize the Avs with a hat trick. One of those goals was a power-play deflection of a Kyle Turris shot near the end of the second period. Bonino also had three assists.
Video coach Lawrence Feloney and Andrew Meloche checked the video on Ian Cole’s goal and found enough evidence that former Pred Sam Girard brought the puck back out of the zone. The replay confirmed it and Cole’s goal was wiped out. Ryan Hartman added an empty-netter to cap off the Preds’ fifth-consecutive victory.
Saturday: Predators 5, Dallas Stars 4 (overtime)
A badly beaten-up Dallas Stars team with an inexperienced defense should have been a recipe for a good afternoon, right? Wrong. Dallas put up a spirited fight and led 3-1 after two periods, only to be bamboozled by a rally catfish as the Preds rallied to tie the game twice in the third period.
With Juuse Saros pulled for an extra attacker — and on the power play, no less — Ryan Johansen found Roman Josi with a cross-ice pass through the low slot and the captain finished to even the game at 4-4. After taking a penalty late in regulation, Mattias Ekholm waited patiently while his teammates killed the penalty in overtime and cashed in with the game winner. Nashville improved to 13-3 and 8-0 on the road.
Player of the Week
In all reality, Nick Bonino’s entire line could go here for their work this week. But, since he did get himself a hat trick at Colorado, Colton Sissons joins the list of players to earn POTW honors so far. There are certain teams he simply lights up and the Avs are one of them.
Favorite Thing of the Week
Humanity still exists. Case in point:
Gotta admit: When the Capitals' 50/50 winner who donated his $19K in proceeds to the shooting victims of Pittsburgh said this earlier today, it got really dusty in my office all of a sudden. #NHL @Capitals @penguins pic.twitter.com/BEew1N8qze— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) November 9, 2018
Concern of the Week
Viktor Arvidsson had just returned to the lineup and then leaves before the end of regulation holding his hand. Here’s hoping it’s not serious.
Scheduling Quirk of the Week
The CMA Awards take over Bridgestone Arena every year in November, rendering the Preds nomadic for two weeks while “country” music is celebrated. It’s two full weeks between home games while all that goes on, but with the Preds’ road record at 8-0 so far, that’s okay. The only question is will that record be 11-0 when they return to Bridgestone Arena on Saturday?
Taking the good with the bad from the previous week, in chronological order:
Minus: Thanks, NBCSN, for that later-than-usual puck drop in Denver.
Plus: Shorthanded breakaways.
Plus: Colton Sissons scores against Colorado. Again.
Minus: Is it time to look beyond Miikka Salomaki?
Plus: Pekka Rinne’s proving the “fine wine” analogy to be true.
Plus: The Sissons/Bonino/Hartman line is having quite a night.
Plus: Get to a high-danger area, score a power play goal. What a concept.
Plus: All the hot mics.
Plus: Whatever they’re paying Lawrence Feloney and Andrew Meloche, it needs to be increased with each successful challenge.
Plus: Welcome back, Arvy.
Plus: Good to get Juuse Saros a start in this spot. Means he’ll get at least two on the road trip. The split still seems pretty good so far.
Minus: 14-4 shot edge in the first period, but the Preds trail 1-0. Natch.
Minus: Should really be seeing a better effort in this matinee game given the two days off before it.
Minus: Tyler Pitlick had better have a good sense of humor over his surname.
Plus: That was quick, Ryan Hartman.
Minus: Power play zone entry is just...well, this is a minus for a reason.
Minus: This second period has been mostly Dallas aside from Hartman’s goal.
Minus: The chirping is fun, Subban, but the penalty you took after that wasn’t.
Plus: Might have been on to something with the catfish, nice finish Joey.
Plus: Well, all of a sudden, this thing’s tied. Thought it was Turris with the tip, but it’s Weber’s goal instead. They don’t ask you how, just how many.
Minus: Oh, hey, a guy gets his first career goal against Nashville.
Minus: Arvy just gets back in the lineup and then he goes awkwardly in the boards late in regulation.
Plus: That power play sequence didn’t look good to start, but it ended perfectly.
Minus: Jason Spezza didn’t act as badly as Brad Marchand did last week, but he might have a career in sales after getting that call.
Plus: Angry Mattias Ekholm turns into game-winning goal scorer Mattias Ekholm, and the perfect road record stays intact.
This week’s grade
Whew. That third period in Dallas was quite a ride, and overtime was simply the payoff. That came after a solid win at Colorado. The undefeated road record remains intact, and it came against a pair of Central Division foes. It’s a pretty good week, but Arvidsson’s injury is a concern, especially if it could mean a longer-term absence. Final grade for the week: A-
Your turn: If Viktor Arvidsson is out for a while, who should take his place on the top line? Kevin Fiala, or should somebody else get a shot with Johansen and Forsberg? Sound off in the comments.
Who’s your Player of the Week for Week 5?
This poll is closed
Somebody else (say who it is below)