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Nashville Predators 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 2 (OT): Josi seals rocky win for Preds

Nashville Predators skaters celebrate a goal.
Oct 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Ryan O'Reilly (90) celebrates with teammates after a goal during the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Preds were back in action after a Thursday off, looking to turn out a good performance against a high-octane Maple Leafs team. Juuse Saros started in net again, and was tested early and often.

Filip Forsberg was noticeable early, with a couple of missed chances and then a penalty against Auston Matthews as he tried to break up a scoring chance. The Leafs finally drew first blood on that power play, when Matthews set William Nylander up at 13:32 of the first period.

Nashville then got a power play of its own just moments later, after a scuffle that saw TJ Brodie and no Preds sent off to the sin bin. They, too, managed a goal: Roman Josi set Ryan O’Reilly up with a nice pass along the goal line, then drew the defenders away as O’Reilly tapped the puck in. A second Preds power play, even later in the period, was less organized, and gave up several good chances to the Leafs’ penalty kill.

Still, Saros stood firm, and the Preds made it to intermission still tied. The second period began, much like the first ended, with a strong and coordinated offensive effort from Toronto. The Preds struggled to get much of anything going–sustained offensive zone possession, netfront traffic, anything–and gave up another goal to Mark Giordano a little more than halfway through the period after a broken play (and a broken stick).

The Preds got another chance on the power play shortly after, when Calle J√§rnkrok–now in Toronto–took an uncharacteristically bad tripping penalty against Colton Sissons. O’Reilly scored his second power-play goal of the night to tie the game again, thanks to a great shot pass from Forsberg and a netfront screen from Josi.

Sissons then took a penalty, before O’Reilly’s goal had even been announced, and the Preds’ penalty kill was put back to work. This time they were able to get it killed off, with some help from O’Reilly again, and escaped again to intermission with the score tied.

Nashville came out with some energy to start the third, and was soon given another power play, as the Leafs put six skaters out and got caught. Some good penalty killing from the Leafs and a few missed opportunities for the refs to call a 5-on-3 later, the teams returned to even strength. Tyson Barrie almost managed to give the Preds their first lead of the game, but his shot was tipped away; the Leafs went back on the attack.

Alex Carrier then ended up in the penalty box for clearing the puck over the glass; while he didn’t object, Forsberg did, but to no avail. Fortunately, the Preds were not only able to kill that penalty, they were also given another power play on another too-many-men from Toronto, to Sheldon Keefe’s enormous displeasure.

The Preds’ power play was cut short when Tyson Barrie made a spectacular diving play to break up a shorthanded chance by Matthews and was called for tripping. Max Domi rang iron on the 4-on-4, but that was as close as either team got before the Leafs’ power play began. O’Reilly and Yakov Trenin almost combined for a shorthanded goal, but Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov was up for the task.

Regulation ran out with no further score, and the teams headed to overtime for the Preds’ first 3-on-3 play this season. The Preds made a good showing in OT, with sustained possession and some good chances, and were ultimately rewarded with a Josi gamewinner.

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