Hey again, everyone. The Nashville Predators put the hurt on the Columbus Blue Jackets today, and I’m here to recap how. Who stood out, what exactly happened, and what’s the jam of the day? Read on to find out.
The Preds got out to a less-than-ideal start, allowing a goal early. Nashville managed to kill off a Filip Forsberg slashing penalty, but things looked a bit discombobulated. Luckily, Nick Cousins made sure that wasn’t an issue.
A good look at the work Ryan Johansen puts in at the blue line to keep this play alive. Nick Cousins and Viktor Arvidsson just finishing the play he started. #Preds— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) February 28, 2021
(via @AlisonL) pic.twitter.com/ppvwo5ieEW
Nashville rolled Columbus much of the first period, with three of the Preds’ four lines dominating possession, shot totals and chances. We headed into the break with a 1-1 game and plenty of reason to believe that the Preds would keep it up.
The Preds played more end-to-end hockey this period, with both teams trading chances and penalties. Thankfully, Nashville made the most of their power play opportunity.
I got that one. Way to go Tolvanen! Go Preds! pic.twitter.com/XRn2YlGVi9— Krazy Kyle (@krazykylepreds) February 28, 2021
Tolvanen has looked excellent in all phases of play in his limited NHL stint, so that’s encouraging to say the least. The young Finn has been a great addition to the roster and will likely be a key contributor for whatever Nashville’s future will be.
Juuse Saros got plenty of work in the second period, but the Predators managed to keep the puck out of their net and headed into the third period up a goal.
The Preds looked sloppy for a lot of the third, but again No. 74 was up to the task. Nashville struggled to put pucks on goal and take advantage of numerous rush attempts, but at the very least we saw rare bits of creative decision making by Viktor Arvidsson and Rocco Grimaldi. The Predators have been better lately with passing the puck and carrying with speed, but I’m not ready to give them much credit considering the team they’ve been playing.
Ryan Johansen took a sloppy slashing penalty late, but spectacular penalty killing by Mikael Granlund and Roman Josi led to Nashville’s first shorthanded goal of the season, courtesy of Erik Haula.
Haula almost nailed the empty netter, but unfortunately the play was called offside. Nashville exits the weekend with the sweep, having won four of five against Columbus this season.
Three Big Things
1.) Juuse Saros had a heck of a performance. For as much as people have been critical of the little goalie, he’s been fairly solid this year despite the team playing poorly in front of him. Does he still have a lot to clean up? Yes, but he stole portions of this game with fantastic saves. Put some respect on his name.
2.) Erik Haula apparently only performs well to spite me.
I do think that Haula has looked relatively better lately, but he’s still been pretty poor. Not ready to declare him a roster mainstay just yet haha— Eamon Smith (@GinandJuuse) February 28, 2021
3.) Eeli Tolvanen is, uh, pretty good.
Here's how Eeli Tolvanen grades out against his 2017 draft classmates at forward at 5 on 5 (min 50 minutes TOI)— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) February 28, 2021
Goals for %: 1st - 80.7%
Shot Attempts for %: 1st - 53.5%
Expected goals for %: 4th - 54.2%
Expected goals against/60: 1st - 1.69 xGA/60
Stats via @EvolvingHockey
Kick it, ELO:
Good win folks. Good night, good hockey, and as always, go Preds.