Nashville Predators 4, Ottawa Senators 1: Saros, McCarron secure win for Preds

Juuse Saros was lights-out tonight.

The Nashville Predators took on the Ottawa Senators tonight.

An early clear attempt by Mattias Ekholm sent the puck over the glass, and less than a minute into the game the Sens got their first power play as Ekholm was sent to the box for delay of game. The Sens threatened with the advantage, with Adam Gaudette getting several chances, but the Preds and Juuse Saros kept the sheet clean and the penalty killers were breaking up ice as the penalty expired.

Less than a minute later, contact between Luke Kunin and Mathieu Joseph resulted in Kunin getting sent to the penalty box for tripping. The Sens once again threatened, with Saros forced to make big saves, and a minute into that power play Tanner Jeannot was called for hooking. The Senators’ coach called for a time-out, and seven seconds into the 5-on-3 Brady Tkachuk got a redirect past Saros and into the net.

The Preds tried for another shorthanded chance after they went back to a mere one-skater disadvantage, but it fizzled out. They were able to kill that penalty off, and then actually got a full minute of 5v5 time for the first time all game, having presumably coming to the conclusion that even if there were snacks in the sin bin they would have already been eaten.

Colton Sissons got a great chance with 5:24 left in the period, but Sens goalie Anton Forsberg made the save on both the initial shot and Jeannot’s rebound chance. Unfortunately, after that, the Sens went back on the attack, and with 2:12 remaining in the period Eeli Tolvanen put the puck over the boards for another delay of game penalty.

The Preds’ penalty killer looked sharper this time, and they got another shorthanded chance. Anton Forsberg left his net to play the puck, but it stopped rolling while still in the Forbidden Zone and Michael McCarron was able to capitalize on Anton Forsberg’s mistake and score shorthanded.

Almost right after Tolvanen left the box—after a very successful penalty kill—Colton Sissons opted to trip Tim Stutzle and got caught. The Preds killed the first three seconds and both teams headed to intermission. After the break, with 1:08 left in the Sissons penalty, Drake Batherson, an Ottawa Senator, was called for interference, and the Bridgestone crowd went absolutely wild.

Neither team scored in the ensuing 4v4, and although the Preds got a good chance in their abbreviated power play—started by Roman Josi—they were unable to convert there either. Saros had to make a spectacular save a few minutes later when Tkachuk and Batherson got in about five miles ahead of the Preds’ defenders.

Play seesawed back and forth. Matt Duchene hit a post on a wide-open net. Josh Norris took a puck to the face and left for a while, but returned. The Sens got the better of the period in spite of the Preds’ occasional pushes back, but with 1:46 remaining in the second period, McCarron scored his second goal of the game to give the Preds their first lead.

The fourth line tried for another chance seconds later, and Philip Tomasino drew a hooking penalty in the process. The Sens immediately broke in shorthanded, but Saros made another massive save and the Preds briefly headed back to the offensive zone, where they finally got some good sustained pressure on Anton Forsberg. However, then Connor Brown got another shorthanded breakway, and Saros made both the initial save and the save on the penalty shot Brown was awarded after Josi’s attempt at defense broke some rules.

The Preds did not manage to score on their power play in the third, and very shortly after Jeannot took his second penalty of the night, a tripping penalty against Tkachuk. They were able to kill that penalty off, and for a while the period seemed to stall out with neither team really generating much offense.

With around nine minutes remaining, Jeannot redeemed himself by scoring. Invigorated, the Preds went back on the attack; a great chance from Tolvanen was thwarted by an even better defensive play from a Sens player, but the Preds kept trying.

Yakov Trenin gave it another shot with under three and a half minutes to go, and shortly after that Jeannot and Sissons got a chance, but Anton Forsberg—still in net—stayed firm. It was another minute or so before Anton Forsberg got pulled for the extra attacker. Josi missed the empty net, and with 50 or so seconds remaining Saros lost his stick in the scramble and some pulse-pounding infinities ensued.

The Preds were able to get the clear, Saros was able to get his stick, and with three seconds remaining Matt Duchene scored the empty-net goal to ice the game and get Saros a much-deserved win.