The Nashville Predators, three points out of the league lead with two games in hand headed into tonight, opted to rest Roman Josi, Craig Smith, and Scott Hartnell, as well as Yannick Weber. So that happened. Expectations were low headed into the game, despite the Predators’ dramatic success the last time they played the Canucks in Vancouver.
The Canucks got the first power play of the game when Alexei Emelin took a penalty trying to clean up a rebound, and immediately scored on it. For the third time this road trip, the Preds trailed early. I’m not sure if anyone’s told them, but that’s not really the best Plan A, even if it has worked out in the past.
Ryan Hartman proceeded to stuff Troy Stecher into the Predators’ goal behind Juuse Saros, giving the home team another power play. This time, the Preds were able to kill it off, with a few full-length netfront blocks from P.K. Subban .
Immediately after, the Predators got a power play of their own when Kyle Turris was crunched facefirst into the glass. Unfortunately, despite some good puck movement, they weren’t able to score. They continued pressuring through the rest of the period but again weren’t able to score, and trailed 0-1 going into the first intermission.
The Preds started the second period well, but Jacob Markstrom remained up to the task. Unfortunately, at that point the second-period snooze kicked in. The Preds idled for a while, then the Canucks started pushing back. A great chance from the Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson line seemed to wake everyone back up, but still no luck.
Juuse Saros made a showstopping series of saves to keep the Preds’ deficit to one with 7:10 left in the second. It’s good to see that he’s still awake. Unfortunately, not long after, Brandon Sutter skated through the Predators’ entire defense to extend the Canucks’ lead. The Canucks almost managed to extend it further, but Subban made another spectacular block and went to the bench in pain.
Mike Fisher got the Preds on the board before the period ended. Then Miikka Salomaki got them back in the penalty box.
The Preds started the third by killing Salomaki’s penalty, then Austin Watson drew one of his own. I’m not sure the power play really practiced thoroughly without Josi, Smith, and Hartnell, though the power play has been uneven enough that I’m not actually sure whether that was a personnel problem or just a problem. Either way, no joy.
Forsberg got dumped in the corner, Johansen jumped in to stick up for him, and some nasty extracurriculars broke out—Johansen received a major penalty and a game misconduct for spearing a bystander in the groin, while Brandon Sutter received two minutes for roughing Johansen. After some discussion, Kevin Fiala was freed from serving Johansen’s major penalty and ended up scoring on the ensuing 4v4. Unfortunately for the Predators, Daniel Sedin did that thing he does all the time and gave the Canucks the lead back early in the three-minute major. It’s been a very bad night for the penalty kill, even though they got through the rest of the major without giving up another.
Ryan Ellis managed to tie it up again with just over two minutes to go. Interestingly, he was out there with fellow righty Subban—something the Preds have more often done on the PP than 5v5 and at a time when pulling the goalie might have been recommended. Nice play, and it got the Preds to OT.
Calle Järnkrok secured the extra point with a great screen by Arvidsson and less than a minute of overtime elapsed. Nice work. Goodnight, everyone.
- Hartman looks decent so far.
- So does Fisher.
- The whole team looks better than I would have expected given who they’re sitting.
- ...and then they do that.
- And that.
- Is this the second high hit Turris has taken in the last two games?
- Fantastic shift by the top line and the...third pairing?
- The Fiala-Turris-Hartman line is really impressing me for a line that hasn’t scored. They look legit in a way that last season’s experiments with putting a fourth-liner in the top six really, really didn’t.
- “Enter Sandman” is an interesting pump-up song for the second period. Not complaining, though.
- Forsberg boosting his Norris case while Bitetto impersonated a forward. Johansen with a great play on the backcheck, too.
- So far on the Western Canada road trip we’ve learned that it’s not slashing to knock a stick entirely out of someone’s hands or to break it in half. Cool.
- The Canucks fans are doing the wave.
- Be okay, PK.
- $PLAYER, in his first game with the Nashville Predators, has scored a goal!
- Whoops, looks like my code miscued and didn’t correctly pull the player name. Congrats and welcome back to Fisher.
- Bad, bad play by Salomäki there. Unnecessary and poorly-planned.
- Playing Hartman, Bitetto, and Salomäki in the same game seems like it should have had every regular on the penalty kill cussing out the coaching staff. The three of them lead the roster in non-coincidental minors taken per minute played (i.e. times the team is shorthanded).
- Playing Bitetto, period, is not looking ideal.
- Good shift by the fourth line, though. Mike Fisher is looking good (and he’s playing hockey well).
- Johansen getting himself ejected while Subban was already playing through an injury and Josi and Smith weren’t in the lineup was not smart.
- Nice job by Arvidsson not to lose possession after he fell over. Then again, he’s had practice.
- Järnkrok smile sighting!
OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Viktor Arvidsson: He was everywhere. When Arvidsson is on, which is just about every night, he’s the best spark this team can have.
- Ryan Ellis: Not only did he force overtime, he had a 78% shot share with very heavily defensive usage and while deployed primarily against the Canucks’ top line. That’s ridiculous.
- Calle Järnkrok: OT hero. Nice assist to help set up Ellis’s game-tying goal. Also did very well at getting the puck up the ice. Very very solid all-around game.
Tweets of the Night
It seems to me that with a division, conference, and presidents trophy to consider, playing the junior varsity in early March is...not ideal?— ryan hart(trophy)man (@statsrespecter) March 3, 2018
The Derek Grant Memorial Intent To Blow 1-0 Loss may be more entertaining than this game.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) March 3, 2018
It's okay, #Preds have them riiiiiight where they want them being down 2 goals.— Justin Bradford (@justinbbradford) March 3, 2018
every time the Preds sign or trade for someone, they score immediately. David Poile should be exploiting this by just bringing in a new person every day— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) March 3, 2018
Hawt...I’d marry him!— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) March 3, 2018
Joey is taking maintenance minutes.— Eeli's Wicked Wrister (@BenStancliff) March 3, 2018
Nashville gets so bored out there, they create multi-goal deficits to come back from just to keep it interesting apparently— Michael Gallagher (@mpatrickg5) March 3, 2018