Nashville Predators 3, Calgary Flames 2: Preds Lean Heavily on Granlund, Saros For A Strong Finnish

Back in the saddle(dome) again

Game Thoughts and Recap

1st Period:

  • Good to see Juuse Saros get the start, I think this will be a good one for him
  • ...and 30 seconds in, the Flames score on a nifty drive and pass across the crease.  Nick Bonino had bad positioning, but it wasn’t as awful as the first goal by Winnipeg, so progress?
  • I like the matchup advantage of the Rocco Grimaldi - Nick Bonino - Viktor Arvidsson line — I think Arvy came back a little quickly from injury; he really hasn’t seemed like himself so far/

Dante Fabbro ties it up!  Mikael Granlund and Roman Josi each receive the assist, with that being the Captain’s 400th career point!

  • Things are starting to calm down now as we hit the first commercial break. The teams have settled in and hopefully Nashville can get an offensive rhythm going.
  • The Predators are still pretty sloppy in the offensive zone—some of these passes could go the other way pretty quickly if they aren’t careful
  • Colton Sissons is starting to look better, but what Willy and Chris didn’t mention is that he’s progressing defensively MUCH better than last game.  That’s where his strength lies, and that part of his game needs to return.
  • The Flames are forechecking, but it’s nowhere near as effective as Winnipeg’s.  The Jets did a tremendous job trapping the Predators in the neutral zone, but Calgary doesn’t seem to be interested in stopping them from driving straight through the NZ.
  • And right as I say that, the Preds get four men on the rush, and Nashville gets an excellent goal on a very high-danger chance with Ekholm, Forsberg, Turris and Smith all crashing the net.  Was it Ekholm?  Turris?
  • That’s off Kyle Turris’ skate, so Two Chains himself gets the tally, with assists to Ekholm and Smith.
  • Yakov Trenin and Colin Blackwell have absolutely earned their spots on this roster.  It might be tough with the return of Jarnkrok, but at the moment, the two young forwards have a better claim to icetime than Austin Watson and unfortunately, Colton Sissons.
  • Filip Forsberg is everywhere tonight—I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t get points tonight.  Yes, plural.
  • Willy says “On The Forecheck” count: 1
  • What in the WORLD was that line change?  It looked like Nashville was about to carry the puck in, and all of a sudden, everyone was getting off the ice and it was heading the other way.
  • What a GREAT save off the give-and-go—good to see Juuse Saros settled in after a rough start.
  • Another solid save—uncontested in the slot, but Saros deflects it away and—
  • ANOTHER ONE—I feel like DJ Khalid.  Fellas, give Juuse a chance to breathe!
  • Ryan Johansen carries it out with Matt Duchene, they get a decent amount of movement, then Viktor Arvidsson takes a weird shot from the wall that’s easily stopped./

That’ll do it for the first.  Nashville, outside of the first shot and the flurry of chances on Saros late in the period, came away pretty dominant, leaning hard on the transition game that Calgary is gifting them.  The game bot has some encouraging news: 14-2-2 when leading after the 1st this season:

2nd Period

  • Note: Computer nerd Bryan is struggling because Natural Stat Trick, the source for his charts, hasn’t updated to end the period, and he needs his numbers badly.
  • Puck is down, and somehow Arvidsson has lost his stick already
  • Filip Forsberg dove for a puck that he probably didn’t need to—the man desperately wants to score.  He did end up receiving a secondary assist on the earlier goal, so my claim that he’s going to score multiple points is very much alive.
  • Dante Fabbro has had some very obvious, high-profile struggles this season, and it’s been a different kind of challenge playing alongside Roman Josi, but I think it’s helping the young defender take pressure off carrying the puck in and out of the zone and focus on smart defense.  I’d like to see Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm play together soon.
  • Side note: I checked Twitter for good tweets, and our friend StatsRespecter is leading a very long argument about mustard, the world’s worst condiment
  • Dan Hamhuis with the bad tripping penalty and they move to the penalty kill.  I like the structure of the Nashville PK this time—they got the puck in the zone, but forced Calgary to take low-percentage shots from outside.
  • Kyle Turris is a fairly new addition to the PK, and being a guy who isn’t known for his defense, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by his play.  Penalty killed, led by a great effort by Dante Fabbro.
  • Strong forecheck by Johansen before going off on a change.  I love seeing that from Nashville
  • Noah Hanifin drives strong into Nashville’s zone and then just kinda... dumps it behind the net and Yannick Weber recovers.  That was an odd play.
  • Colton Sissons with a FANTASTIC cross-ice pass to Roman Josi, who thought he had an open net, and somehow Cam Talbot makes the save.  Josi gets the puck back, but Calgary trips him and Nashville heads to the power play.
  • *Deep breath, Bryan.  Things will be better this time.  The power play can’t hurt you*
  • Filip Forsberg continues his assault on Talbot, driving the puck himself and then taking a sharp wrister.  He’s loved taking shots from the right circle, wouldn’t be surprised to see him try it from there several more times.
  • Mikael Granlund—whom Nashville should never trade—with a great goal!  Pinch me: Nashville with excellent, fast puck movement, then took the puck to the slot where Granlund was able to tap it in.  Nashville 3, Calgary 1/


  • So you’re saying, Dan Muse, that Mikael Granlund is doing well because he’s out there working hard every night?  Why didn’t we think of that earlier?  It’s so obvious.
  • Nashville used all of its Rasmus-stopping power against Buffalo, and Rasmus Andersson gets a point shot past Saros, who was screened.
  • Oh Jarred Tinordi. I might not think that much of you, but that was a weak, weak call.  Back to the PK.
  • Side note: I’ll be going to CBJHAC this weekend, and I will come back and tell you all about one of the presentations that’s about one thing I think Nashville should be doing more: The Power Kill
  • Mikael Granlund and Kyle Turris got a great breakaway on a shorthanded attempt, but a little hesitation led to the puck arriving a bit late.  But remember, Nashville had TWO shorthanded goals last game./

Penalty killed, and my buddy is not happy about it

  • Great move by Matt Duchene, but the shot is turned aside pretty easily. Calgary takes the puck the other way, but Nashville has EXCELLENT defensive structure and it goes nowhere
  • Good lord, Connor McDavid.  Thankfully, he’s likely to see his self-described kryptonite in Pekka Rinne.
  • Matthew Tkachuk gets a 2 on 1 rush against Juuse Saros, and gets TWO attempts, but the Golden Bear is on fire.
  • Yet another sub-optimal shot by Arvidsson, but he follows it up with a good rebound.
  • Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg are circling like sharks and somehow don’t have the goal to show for it, despite fantastic possession.
  • Smith-Bonino-Grimaldi seems to be reunited as Arvidsson was with Forsberg, and it feels like we haven’t heard much from those three all game.
  • Oh man Juuse Saros, you are feeling it, my man.
  • End of the second.  Nashville 3, Calgary 2/

3rd Period

  • We’re back.  Can Nashville survive after Calgary played a strong second period?
  • The Calgary organ player just played a very odd arrangement of the Mortal Kombat theme song.  It was like it was in a major key or something, it just felt off
  • Forsberg and Kyle Turris are just relentless tonight.  Filip has GOT to get one at some point tonight.
  • The “Verizon Ice Data Chart”—three pictures, and goals and assists.  The future is here, folks.
  • The fourth line is playing limited time, but playing it safe and providing a little pressure.  I like it.  The Yakov Trenin fanclub lives on.
  • Rocco Grimaldi is just getting pinballed by Rasmus Andersson and he’s still going.
  • I’m going to riot if Forsberg doesn’t get a goal tonight.  He’s playing like a man possessed.
  • Calgary gets another chance at the drive to cross-crease pass courtesy of Milan Lucic, but Nashville disrupts this one, thankfully, unlike Calgary’s first shot of the game
  • Bonino tried desperately to shoot the puck despite being surrounded by four Flames and it just kinda sputtered nowhere.  Appreciate the hustle though.  Go off, king./

I like this tweet, but also, please go follow Byron and his amazing work with prospect data and NHLe

  • Back and forth hockey right now, not much in terms of quality, but both teams playing a bit of hot potato halfway through the third.  I’d like to see Nashville be a bit more aggressive and give themselves some breathing room.
  • Matt Duchene with a couple of great individual efforts to drive the puck on net.  He’s a great shooter, and I’d love to see it more.
  • 11-0 shots in favor of Nashville with 12 minutes passed, and I have a real bad feeling about that fact.
  • Calgary gets one shot on goal, and then another, and Saros makes the stops.
  • I really, really want Nashville to be more aggressive here.  They’re starting to turtle.
  • Oh I hate that entire sequence.  Fabbro gets out of position, Forsberg takes an awkward hit, and Saros barely gets the save by squeezing the pads.  I feel it slipping away.  They HAVE to attack.
  • Filip Forsberg has a tiny scratch—drawing his blood only makes him angrier.
  • 4:37 left after a Calgary offside call.  Attack.  Play your top 6, run Josi and Fabbro as much as possible, and score.
  • A solid minute of Calgary getting a lot of pressure, and yup, this is how this game is going to end, isn’t it.  I really don’t want to deal with overtime tonight, ok?
  • The fourth line with another solid shift—they weren’t content to dump the puck in, they tried to maintain possession and Calgary had to play without the puck for a good 40 seconds.
  • Cam Talbot heads to the bench with a little under two minutes left.  Josi and Granlund both take shots at the empty net, no dice
  • Johnny Gaudreau handles past Ekholm into the zone, but loses the puck, thankfully
  • OH MAN Granlund again with a chance and no dice and the Flames get a rush the other way.
  • Just unbelievable play on both ends of the ice, and Nashville wins it 3 to 2.  /

Bryan’s Three Stars

  1. Mikael Granlund - It pains me to not give this to Juuse Saros, who was sensational, but Granlund decided that he was personally responsible for choking the life out of Calgary’s comeback attempt.  That’s one of the best shifts by a Nashville forward all season long.
  2. Juuse Saros - The second goal was kind of soft, but man, he was amazing tonight.  I really hope we start to get our usual goaltending again.
  3. Roman Josi - He’s coming for you John Carlson.  He’s taking the Norris this year.

Tweets of the Night

Not from tonight, but I am absolutely amazed at how many people this fooled today.  It was just in the realm of “well, maybe?” that nobody thought to question it until they started asking Preds reporters lol

Unrelated Tweet That Got Retweeted Tonight

I don’t know, but I love it.

Game Clips