After a sulky three game losing streak, the Predators found themselves in the win column after a tough defensive battle with the Minnesota Wild.
Roman Josi started things off in the 1st period, catching Devan Dubnyk off guard with a change-up from the blueline. That made it a 1-0 game with just under three minutes gone in the game. The Preds had their speed game going for the rest of the period, generating plenty of quality chances on Dubnyk. Miikka Salomaki was all alone in front, Craig Smith nearly stuffed home a goal short side, then Ryan Hartman had a hard shot after a penalty had expired.
Everything was working pretty well for Nashville in the 1st, they just couldn’t get more than one goal by Dubnyk.
Things continued much in the same way early in the 2nd, but then the penalties started. First, the Preds had a power play that featured—if you can believe this—a ton of passing but not much shooting. Then Ryan Hartman got called for a bogus trip, but the Preds penalty kill did its damn thing. Another power play for the Preds came and went without a shot on Dubnyk.
The teams returned to even strength for a while, until they didn’t. Daniel Winnik elbowed Hartman, then Dubnyk was called for diving when Arvidsson interfered with him. Mikko Koivu tripped Fiala, which led to a brief 5-on-3 for the Preds, but the ensuing power play time went for nothing.
Going into the 3rd period, the power plays were 0-7 and there were only 32 shots on the board. But Nashville had a 1-0 lead, thanks to some solid defensive play at even strength and the lone Josi tally.
It stayed that way for a while, with both teams doing their best to maintain possession but with quick line changes. Dubnyk had a huge save on Arvidsson, who sped through the slot and found a wide open pass from Forsberg.
The Preds were doing a ton of passing around the outside of the zone all night, just nothing of quality through the danger area. Because of that, the Preds led in shot attempts and shots all night, but didn’t have much success against Dubnyk.
Maintaining dominance in shots and shot attempts deep into the 3rd period, the Preds began clogging the middle of the ice and forcing Minnesota to take shots from the outside. Rinne was pretty comfortable with that (except for one time when Josi saved a puck off the goal line with Rinne behind the net expecting the puck cycle).
Then with less than four minutes left, Eric Staal picked up a pass on a short breakaway and tucked in a goal. Staal had a good angle and got Rinne moving to his left, leaving the 5-hole open. It was a timely pass from Granlund that set it up. And suddenly the game was tied.
Despite good chances from both sides, the game headed to overtime tied 1-1. It appeared to be over just 40 seconds in off a slick play by Turris leading to a bomb from Ellis, but it was contested for offside. Everyone back on the ice!
Chances continued back and forth for the remainder of the period, although the Preds seemed to have lost their fire after the disallowed goal. The game went to a shootout, and Rinne was perfect for three with Turris scoring the long goal for the Preds. Preds win!
- No Austin Watson, but the Preds updated him to just day-to-day, plus he skated this morning. Both good signs.
- ROMAN JOSI!!! Whoo hoo. Quick shot off the faceoff fluttered by Dubnyk who I guess just lost sight of it.
- The Preds have their legs tonight. Great speed up and down the ice.
- Filip Forsberg just did this: bounced the puck up in the air at the blueline, spun around a check, got his bearings, deked, then ripped a square pass over to Johansen. It didn’t go anywhere after that, but it was one of those beautiful moments from Forsberg that just blow your mind.
- How does Matt Irwin lead all skaters in ice time in the 1st period?
- The Preds have done a good job cleaning up the loose pucks in front of Rinne so far. Something they struggled at in Minnesota on Saturday.
- What a terrible call on Hartman. Neiderreiter stuck out his leg and got a call after flipping through the air.
- Clinical penalty killing from the Preds.
- The power play is just so in its own head. I know we complain about the blueline emphasis on scoring but at least get a shot from SOMEWHERE.
- The Wild are hanging around, despite being doubled up in shots. Preds just can’t get anything real dangerous on Dubnyk.
- Hartman draws more penalties than any Pred I can remember. It’s awesome.
- So much pressure, but just nothing on Dubnyk that looks troubling (save for the least troubling shot of the night by Roman Josi)
- Omg! Then Arvy had a wide open shot and Dubnyk got it. Unbelievable save.
- The penalties have thrown the brakes on this game. Both teams are just scrambling to keep possession now, with both forechecks doing well to force quick exits. A lot of muck in the middle in this 3rd period.
OTF’s Super Duper Awesome Possums of the Game
- Roman Josi — He scored the opening goal and saved a sure goal more than once.
- Pekka Rinne — Perfect in the shootout and a perfect human being.
- Ryan Hartman — If only the Preds could cash in on some of the penalties he draws.
Tweets of the Night
My “Irwin’s better” chant did not take off— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) March 28, 2018
Ryan Hartman’s shadow to the box for tripping there.— Mark Harris (@TweetsByHarris) March 28, 2018
The power play loves to fall drastically below our lowest expectations. https://t.co/Bj4hZK250a— Kate (@statswithkate) March 28, 2018
Deep-dive stat: #Preds' Josi scored his 12th goal earlier in this game. He's one of just 2 NHL D-men to score at least 12 goals in each of the last 5 seasons. Other is Coyotes' Oliver Ekman-Larsson.— John Glennon (@glennonsports) March 28, 2018
Matt Cullen is still future Craig Smith— Caroline (@carolianne_) March 28, 2018