Though they were in Los Angeles, there were a lot of new jerseys on the ice for the Predators. In lieu of actually typing out all of the changes to the roster, I’m just going to show you this tweet:
So, first, Matt Duchene was scratched due to illness. Probably because he played outside in the cold with no coat on. Ryan Ellis, after Corey Perry attempted to murder him, was on the IR list with an upper-body injury. Colton Sissons remains on the IR. Jarred Tinordi, a bruiser from Milwaukee, finds himself paired up with Mattias Ekholm. Roman Josi partnered up with Yannick Weber, hoping to make the Swiss connection. Yakov Trenin and Colin Blackwell found themselves on a line with Austin Watson. Even if the Predators weren’t planning to borrow some magic from Milwaukee (who is absolutely killing it in the AHL) they sure weren’t going to turn it away.
The game started off with a bit of bad passing leading to some good chances for the Kings and better saves from Pekka Rinne. A few minutes in, Calle Järnkrok was called for a hold, putting the Kings on the power play early. The penalty kill was working well and the penalty expired with a great outlet pass to a paroled Järnkrok, who had a good look at the goal, but an errant move by the puck tripped him up.
Some strong play Nick Bonino (and his line) kept the Predators out of a lot of positions that they probably would have preferred not to be in. And it seemed that very same line had offense on their mind, too, as Rocco Grimaldi, assisted by Craig Smith and Roman Josi, put one past Jack Campbell to put the Predators up 1-0.
By this point, what had been a fairly even match-up based on shots broke the Predators’ way as they camped out in the offensive zone. Austin Wagner sent the puck out of play for the Kings to put the Predators on the power play for the first time of the night. A minute in, Mikael Granlund was called for holding the stick, evening things up at 4-on-4 for a minute. The Kings’ penalty expired, giving them the advantage. However, the overall efforts of their special teams time netted nothing and the score remained 1-0.
You may have noticed that there aren’t any tweets in this first period. The reason for that probably has to do with the shared fandom Predators fans share with the Tennessee Titans, who are in the final quarter of a playoff game. In the waning seconds of the first, Roman Josi sent Ryan Johansen a no-look cross-ice pass and Johansen easily found the back of the net. On the ensuing faceoff, Jarred Tinordi accepted a challenge from Kyle Clifford and the two went toe-to-toe for longer than a minute. Although there was no clear winner, it was nice to not see Austin Watson not get ragdolled. The period ended soon after with the Predators up 2-0.
And don’t worry, resident Dallas Cowboys fan Bryan was watching the game down in the OTF basement with me.
Two point night for Josi— Bryan Bastin (@projpatsummitt) January 5, 2020
The second period started with Drew Doughty taking a puck to the face. He left the ice, but it was not a penalty situation. Soon after, the Predators drew a penalty as Martin Frk slashed Mikael Granlund, sending Nashville to the power play. Unfortunately, the Predators failed to convert on the power play as Frk (I just like typing it) came out of the box. It should be noted that Drew Doughty returned to the game.
Soon after this, Craig Smith sent the Kings to the power play with a trip. After an exciting start that saw Johansen and Arvidsson get loose on the penalty kill, the puck ended up back down in front of Pekka Rinne and Alex Iafallo scored, putting the Kings back within reach at 2-1.
Curse you, second period. CURSE YOU.— AnnK_MamaOnIce (@AnnK_MamaOnIce) January 5, 2020
What followed was several minutes of uninspiring play by both teams. Just imagine bad passing, failed zone entries, and a plethora of dumping and chasing. After what seemed like an eternity, something happened. Roman Josi drew a slashing penalty and Blake Lizotte headed to the penalty box, putting the Predators on the power play. The sloppiness continued right up until the last few seconds when the Kings had a short-handed opportunity that was, fortunately, turned away.
Mikael Granlund had a great opportunity after working his way through most of the Los Angeles Kings, but was ultimately stopped by Campbell. Again, Filip Forsberg found himself on a breakaway with a 2-on-1 developing with Viktor Arvidsson, yet he decided to shoot through his man instead of passing off to Arvidsson. As a result, no goals were scored. Somehow, the hot-shooting Predators, who took 20 shots in the first period, barely managed 8 in the second.
The third period hoped to see a revitalized and refocused Nashville team coming out of the locker room. With the scores at the end of each period mirroring the scores at the Winter Classic, many fans were concerned that the score at the end of the third would match as well. There was some early excitement as Jack Campbell came out of the crease and collided with Arvidsson and Anze Kopitar came back to cross check Arvidsson in the back. The refs let it go, however.
The game continued without much to report until midway through the third when Yakov Trenin tipped a Matt Irwin slapshot into the net, putting the Predators up 3-1. Wasting no time, soon after Trenin’s goal, Rocco Grimaldi took a shot at the net that popped right back to Craig Smith, who easily potted the goal for the Predators, putting them up 4-1.
After all of that excitement, Nashville went back on the power play after Colin Blackwell drew a penalty. With around 40 seconds to go in the power play, the Kings sent the puck out of play and Predators had a two-man advantage. A few second later, Nick Bonino was called for hooking, and the teams went to 4-on-3 for a few seconds. Teams were soon 4-on-4 for a moment before it went back to a few seconds of Kings power play. Sides evened out eventually and the game ended with the Predators winning 4-1.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Yannick Weber - filled in for Ryan Ellis and did, what the eye-test would call, a great job. Ok, inasmuch as I didn’t look at Weber out there and go, “OH MY GOD TAKE HIM OFF THE ICE!”
Second Star: Yakov Trenin - he got his second NHL goal and played a solid game.
First Star: Roman Josi - I know he’s gotten a lot of praise recently, but that no-look pass is a drug and I’m addicted.