The Nashville Predators looked to finish their road trip on a positive note in Buffalo, as they faced the bottom-dwelling Sabres. They saw a familiar face on the opposing bench in Phil Housley, a former assistant coach in Nashville, and a current head coach in Buffalo.
For Nashville, the first period was one they would probably like to forget. The majority of it consisted of failed offensive drives, with the occasional bail out from Pekka Rinne. Despite continuous shots being slung at him, Rinne stood tall and kept the score sheet clean. In terms of offense, Nashville finally found a bit of a groove late in the period, despite never capitalizing.
The second period gave the Preds a two goal lead, thanks to a tip in from Mike Fisher, and a second tally from Ryan Johansen. There was a significant decrease time in the defensive zone it seemed, and whenever threatened, Rinne was a brick wall. Jack Eichel was active all night, but was left off the scoresheet, along with the rest of his teammates. A team like the Sabres are obviously not on the same level in terms of quality, but Eichel can stand toe to toe with anyone. Shutting down a guy like him is a good thing.
In the third, the Predators came out with some passion, but it left rather quickly. The team was left fighting in their own end for the a majority of the third, before Filip Forsberg extended the lead to three in front of the net. Right before the final horn, Ryan Hartman put a bow on this game with a final goal.
Not a perfect win, but a solid one to end the road trip. Let’s go home!
- Early scare in Pekka’s net. Not sure how it didn’t go in, but no complaints.
- Eichel drives to the net, but stopped by Peks. This goalie isn’t too bad, huh?
- Nashville can’t get anything set up on offense, and going on the PK typically doesn’t spark offensive prowess.
- Penalty killed, however it doesn’t appear any momentum was gained from the kill. Not ideal.
- Seeing so many Preds fans in Buffalo really warms my heart. Comparing today with just a few years ago, when seeing one gold jersey in a road arena was a success, really puts how far we’ve come into perspective.
- We’re 18 minutes into the first period, and your Nashville Predators have completed a full offensive posession!
- Eichel almost gets one in at the buzzer, but can’t get it done. Zeroes after one.
- Chaotic first few minutes of the second period, both teams getting plenty of chances.
- The team is really playing down to the Sabres’ level. Habits like this just won’t work in the playoffs.
- Fiala showing off the dangles, but can’t generate a shot.
- Big breakaway stop by Rinne, but that was probably the worst turnover I’ve seen in months.
- Everyone wake up, someone scored! Officially credited to Fisher, but Hartnell could have also tapped it in. Great work to get some much needed net presence by both.
- Hmmmm, they may have been on to something with the challenge, but what do I know?
- ANOTHER ONE. The “JO” in “JOFA” strikes again, and the lead has doubled.
- Contrary to popular belief, scoring goals does not require giving the opposition as many shots as possible.
- Ten seconds left, pretty successful perio- Emelin gets sent to the box.
- As the buzzer sounds, Josi hobbles to the bench. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
- Start of the third, and Josi is on the ice. Everyone can exhale.
- Penalty killed, 17 to go.
- Nice offensive pressure early in the 3rd, definitely not turtle-ing.
- Scary oppurtunity in front of Pekka, but still scoreless.
- Buffalo beginning to play with some urgency, Nashville’s defense will need to react accordingly.
- FORSBERG. Just when we all thought Nashville was content leaving with a 2-0 win, the prince jams it in right in front of the net. 3-0.
- Just before Sabres fans could get out earshot from the arena, Ryan Hartman sends them home with a goal.
- Nice shutout for Peks, and nice win for the team.
OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game
1. Pekka Rinne- He was asked to keep us in this game while the offense figured out what it was doing, and he did it with ease. #Pekka4Vezina
2. Mike Fisher- Fishy had the first goal, as well as the game winner thanks to Pekka.
3. JOFA- The trio had a combined 5 point night, and watching these guys dazzle is simply mesmerizing.
Tweets of the night
What an honor! @PredsNHL and our fans nominated for sports team of the year. https://t.co/Ljk183zGPB— Chris Junghans (@CJJunghans) March 19, 2018
After a slow first half of the season, Nick Bonino has stood out down the stretch. Seeing his value as the 3C that contributed to two Stanley Cups.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) March 20, 2018