The Nashville Predators faced the Winnipeg Jets in a battle with massive playoff impact. The roster impact, however, would be even larger, as Nashville lost Roman Josi after the first period to uncertain causes.
The Jets had a good chance early, but Nikolaj Ehlers managed to miss the net, and shortly after Cody Glass scored to put the Preds on the board at 5:26. A few minutes later, Cal Foote took exception to a hit on Luke Evangelista and headed in for vengeance, earning himself an instigator penalty and a ten-minute misconduct as well as the fighting major. The Preds were able to kill off the penalty, then went back on the attack.
Nashville managed to get a glimmer of offense going late in the period, drawing a hooking penalty from Blake Wheeler, but turned the puck over near the end of their the power play and Kiefer Sherwood—trying to make a defensive play as Morgan Barron broke in shorthanded—took a penalty of his own. Neither team scored on their power play, or for the rest of the period.
After intermission, Josi—who’d played over half the first period—did not take the ice for the second. Matt Duchene also left the bench, but returned. With around eight minutes elapsed, Dante Fabbro took a cross-checking penalty, perhaps attempting to fill in for Josi in that capacity, and the Preds headed back to the penalty kill. Again they were able to kill it off, but not to get back to creating anything.
Late in the period, Fabbro took several hard hits on one shift, not looking great as he finished it. The Preds escaped the second period and entered the third, still without Josi, and at 6:17 of the third Ehlers finally broke through to tie the game 1-1.
The Preds responded right back, with Sherwood and Tommy Novak setting Luke Evangelista up for a goal at 6:51. Yakov Trenin unfortunately then took a hooking penalty, and while the Preds were able to kill it off, with some help from Saros, Adam Lowry scored to tie the game again at 10:15.
With just over four minutes remaining in regulation, Fabbro and Phil Tomasino collided, and Fabbro needed some attention on the bench. He was able to get back out on the ice and prevent a Jets goal, however, helping Nashville make it to overtime.
Neal Pionk, however, won it 55 seconds in, as a frantically cobbled-together unit of Preds tried to make anything work in 3v3. With Josi’s status still uncertain, and Fabbro having taken a real beating today, tomorrow’s game should be interesting.