Nashville Predators 5, Winnipeg Jets 4 (OT): With Defense Optional, Nealer Wins It

James Neal’s snipe in OT wins it for the Preds.

The Nashville Predators beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 in their only home game of the week. After a back-and-forth affair, with nine goals put on the board between the two teams, James Neal scored the game winner in OT while on the power play.

Winnipeg capitalized early after a Cody McLeod penalty and added to the lead later in the period. The Predators were producing a good number of chances, but couldn’t break through until two nice goals scored on odd-man rushes by Austin Watson and Mike Fisher. The first period ended in a 2-2 tie.

The second period started just as the first ended, with Forsberg notching his 28th goal of the season, but that was all the good news for the Predators in the period. Winnipeg dominated the rest of the frame, scoring twice, and could have scored three times: an offside challenge nullified a goal that would have made it 5-3. Instead, the Predators were only down 4-3 going into the third period.

Man, that third period was insane. So many chances for the Predators to put it away in regulation, mostly from the top line. Joey, Fil, and Arvy have led the team for much of the last two months, and they delivered once again after a nice passing sequence to tie the game 4-4. Nashville would have chances to take the third through much of the third period but couldn’t cash in before overtime.

In the OT, a huge save by Pekka Rinne on Patrik Laine led to Ryan Johansen drawing a penalty at the other end. And then James Neal ripped a wrist shot by Connor Hellebuyck to end it.

Huge two points tonight. Would have loved to see better defensive play, but still—huge win.

Random Observations

  • Cody McLeod didn’t fight in his first shift. He only got a minor penalty. Terrific progress.
  • And the Jets score on that penalty. But Grit!!
  • Predators finding a lot of open space to create chances
  • Rinne probably could have gotten stopped that.
  • Watson single-handily carrying the fourth line.
  • Mike Fisher has found the fountain of youth.
  • I don’t think people even got back to their seats in time to see that
  • #LaineForCalder
  • D-zone coverage is, um, terrible.
  • Not Rinne’s fault but he isn’t helping matters.
  • First line to the rescue once again.
  • Yoooo Ryan Ellis ain’t playing games.
  • Predators probably should have scored one of these chances.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Ryan Johansen- You’d like him to score more goals like he did tonight, but Johansen is an excellent passer.
  2. James Neal- That game winner was a beaut.
  3. Mike Fisher- The captain has been playing at a high level all season.
  4. Austin Watson- Without him, the fourth line is a wasteland.

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