Fresh off of a successful northeastern road trip, the Nashville Predators returned to Bridgestone Arena to take on Taylor Hall and his visiting Arizona Coyotes. Pekka Rinne got the start in the teams’ final game before Christmas, as the Predators won a close one against Arizona, 3-2.
The first period opened with a surplus of Nashville Predators offense; the shot count was 12-3 in favor of the Preds at the halfway point, and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking it was more like 100-3. Nashville had no less than a handful of high-high-danger chances, and the fact that they didn’t score on a single one of them felt worrisome, as if these missed chances early would bite the Predators late. These worries were unfounded, though, as Filip Forsberg tucked in a goal with less than 120 seconds left in the period to put Nashville on the board to end the first.
Riding the momentum Forsberg’s goal gave the home crowd to end the first period, the Predators carried that momentum into the second quite well. The home team kept their foot on the gas pedal, and it resulted in another array of close calls for the Predators. Once again, these chances eventually added up to a goal, as Viktor Arvidsson scored a bizarre goal off of Raanta’s mask.
The period then shifted to a more even distribution of scoring opportunities, and this led to an Arizona goal late in the second, courtesy of Lawson Crouse. Dante Fabbro went to the penalty box soon after as the Predators entered the third period with a one-goal lead but with a penalty to kill off.
The Predators killed off that penalty kill, and then were soon after given a chance of their own with the advantage. While this power play was also unsuccessful, the Predators managed to maintain pressure for the period. This pressure resulted in a goal from Roman Josi, as he continues to set the world ablaze with his Norris Trophy campaign. Jakob Chychrun scored less than a minute later to pull Arizona back to within one, but Nashville survived the late push from the Coyotes to win this one 3-2.
I usually take those “this road trip was a real pivot moment for this team” talking points with a grain of salt, but this team really does look good. Maybe something changed? Who knows. Happy holidays, everyone.
- Predators seem to be living rent-free in Arizona’s defensive zone early in the first. No goals yet but if this continues, a tally is inevitable.
- Nearly a goal for Roman Josi, but no luck this time.
- Craig Smith gets his chance at a goal, and he gets the same result as everyone else so far. There’s gotta be a goal coming...right?
- There it is! Forsberg lights the lamp, and the ice has been broken. 1-0 Preds.
- Grimaldi gets a saucy pass from Matt Duchene to get out on a breakaway, but can’t find the net early in the 2nd.
- Pekka Rinne, in the first big moment of the game for him, makes a big save on the breakaway.
- Järnkrok hits post on a 2-on-1. Darn...
- ...But it’s okay because Viktor Arvidsson scores on one of the weirder goals I’ve seen in a while! 2-0 Preds.
- Rocco Grimaldi, stop me if you’ve heard this before, missed on a golden opportunity to score on Raanta.
- Lawson Crouse finds the back of the net for the Coyotes late in the 2nd. 2-1 Preds.
- In the first special teams opportunity of the game, Dante Fabbro goes to the penalty box for a delay of game minor. Preds on the PK to wrap up the second.
- Penalty successfully killed off to open the third.
- Nashville gets its first power play opportunity tonight.
- No luck on the power play, Nashville still holds a one goal lead.
- ROMAN JOSI. MAN ON FIRE. 3-1 Preds.
- Arizona answers back quick. 3-2. Preds.
- Predators really need an insurance goal right now. Arizona seems primed to tie this game.
- Coyotes empty their net. Seat belts, everyone!
- With less than half a minute to go, Sissons goes to the box. Oh dear.
- No goal! Regulation win for Nashville, this is big.
3 Stars of the Game
- Roman Josi - Game winning goal. Will this guy ever cool off?
- Pekka Rinne - Made some big saves when the Coyote pressure kicked in.
- Filip Forsberg - Opened the scoring tonight, broke the ice when it seemed impossible to do.
Tweets of the Night
So who scores first for Arizona?— Dan (@DanDBradley) December 24, 2019
At the rate we are going, Antti might raanta car at 2nd intermission and head home.— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) December 24, 2019