Nashville Predators 3, St. Louis Blues 2 (SO): I’m In Love with my Carr

Carr’s shootout winner, Saros’s saves propel Preds to second straight win

You know, credit to Daniel Carr.

There were a lot of fans not exactly thrilled to see #26 in the lineup, considering what that meant for the Kyle Turris situation.  Plus, many were still a little iffy following his less-than-stellar stint with the Preds to start the season.

It didn’t look like the best start after a bad penalty early, but he rebounded for a great game, capped off by the game-winning goal in the shootout.  I thought his chemistry with Duchene and Granlund was solid, despite him not playing much with either guy this season, and while the group did give up some decent chances on the St. Louis end, they generated enough offense to balance it out.

Carr’s night was symbolic of the Preds’ night overall.  We wondered if some players might lose control of their emotions in the wake of what happened to Arvidsson.  And sure, there were some “scrappy” parts, but overall, the Predators kept their heads on straight, and didn’t give St. Louis easy opportunities caused by dumb heat-of-the-moment penalties.  (Well... besides Austin Watson).

What Happened?

It almost looked like we were going to get one of those classic “Preds get off to a bad start” nights when not Kyle Turris Carr and Filip Forsberg take rough penalties, leading to a 5-on-3.  Luckily, the penalty kill does a great job of limiting St. Louis’s chances, and the pucks that do get on net, Saros is there to stop.

And that helps the Predators strike first.  The play starts with Dante Fabbro sniping a Hail Mary-esque pass from his own zone.  Rocco Grimaldi does a fantastic job of controlling it and feeds it to Bonino for the snipe.  No joke... it might be one of the best-looking plays the Preds have put together this season.

Just about three and a half minutes later, the Preds make it 2-0.  Calle Jarnkrok causes some chaos in front of Jake Allen, which forces a rebound that Ryan Johansen’s right there to back-hand home.  The recent slide has masked this a bit, but both Johansen and Jarnkrok have been playing really well here the past couple of weeks.

We went through a big stretch after the start of the second period where not much happened.  Each team gets a couple of so-so chances, but nothing that really challenges either Saros or Allen.

About halfway through the second, we finally get some “rough stuff” when Matt Irwin and MacKenzie MacEachern drop the gloves right by the benches.  That seems to jump start the Preds, as they get a few great chances right after... first a bank-in attempt from Mikael Granlund that bounced off Allen and barely missed going in, then a beautiful passing sequence between Johansen, Jarnkrok, and Filip Forsberg that misses the net.

The Preds get two more quality chances off of an odd-man rush, but when they can’t convert, David Perron takes it the other way on a rush of his own, and makes it 2-1 after knocking in his own rebound.

This is where the physicality starts to pick up a bit.  It starts with a scrum after the whistle right in front of Saros.  The Blues then throw a couple of a big hits around, including one that knocked Fabbro to the ice.  Austin Watson then takes a bad penalty after rushing into a fairly innocent looking confrontation and went after Colton Parayko.  This was really the only moment of the game where someone let their emotions get the best of them.  Besides that, I was impressed with how well the Preds were able to keep their composure, considering what led up to the game.

The Preds get a handful of great chances to start the third period, including a great shot from Granlund that Allen just barely gets a stick on.  (Aww, poor Granlund.  What does this man have to do to get a goal?)  That gets a big standing ovation from the crowd...

...But the joy’s short-lived.  The Blues force a couple of turnovers in the Predators’ zone, the latter of which leads to Robert Thomas feeding Brayden Schenn for the game-tying goal.  And just like that, it’s 2-2.

The Blues look like they’re about to take a lead with a minute left when Tyler Bozak finds himself alone with a wide-open net, but Saros gets his stick in the way at the last minute to keep the game alive.  St. Louis kills the rest of the clock, and we head to OT.

Overtime is just a non-stop series of back-and-forth chances.  The Predators get the best chances, but ultimately can’t convert.  Duchene SHOULD have ended it with a minute left, but he deflected a pass just wide of the open net.  The Blues then get a chance on a 2-on-1 at the very end, but Ekholm lays out to break up the play.  We catch our breath and go to the shootout.

Perron scores on St. Louis’s first attempt, while Duchene misses.  Blues up 1-0.

Ryan O’Reilly rings the second attempt off the post.  Ryan Ellis misses.  Still 1-0.

Brayden Schenn fans on his shot.  Forsberg snipes in the do-or-die shot.  1-1.

Robert Thomas can’t convert. Daniel Carr has an opportunity to win it... and he wrists it home.  Preds get the win.

Other Takeaways

  • Some boos in Bridgestone when Kyle Turris is announced as a scratch.  Take that for what you will.
  • Imagine back in September telling someone a line of Craig Smith, Nick Bonino, and Rocco Grimaldi would be the most exciting line on the Preds’ roster.  But here we are.../

They’ve just been owning whichever opposing line they’ve been out there against.  They did so again tonight, owning a 83.3 CF% while limiting the opposition to just .07 expected goals (they put up .51 themselves.)

  • I can’t tell if it’s better execution or if Laviolette made some sort of system tweak, but it’s noticeable how many more chances the Preds have been getting in high-danger areas these past couple of games.  All the extra shot volume on NaturalStatTrick’s heat map is exactly in the spots you want it to be./
  • I’m strangely uncomfortable with the way the ref is pronouncing “St. Lee-ew-is.”
  • (Mugatu Voice): That Saros.  He’s so hot right now./

OTF’s Super-Duper Stars

3. Juuse Saros: Didn’t have a ton of work, but made a couple of great saves.

2. Nick Bonino: 10th goal of the season, and an shut-down defensive performance

1. Daniel Carr: Game-winner in the shootout in his first game with the team after a call-up. Not bad, eh?

Tweets o’ the Game

What’s Next?

The Predators have three more big games this week, starting with a home game Wednesday against Vegas.  After Thanksgiving, they have a mini road-trip against Carolina and Florida, two teams towards the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Blues head down to Tampa on Wednesday for a showdown with the Lightning.

Game Highlights