Nashville Predators 5, New York Islanders 4: Living on Island Time

Juuso Parssinen was the hero of the game with 2 goals and 1 assist and the Preds rookie has scored 4 points in 3 games so far.

The Nashville Predators and New York Islanders came into Thursday’s game looking to extend their two-game winning streaks - Nashville is looking for their first 3 game streak of the season.

To that end, coach John Hynes tweaked the lineup prior to puck drop:

First Period

The Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene and Nino Niederreiter line started the game against the Islanders’ third line, alongside Ryan McDonaugh and Roman Josi, who is playing on his right side for the first time in his career.  The Predators would spend the majority of the first minute in the New York zone - and after a line change to the top unit of Filip Forsberg, Mikael Granlund and Juuso Parssinen, Forsberg would enterethe zone with a shot on net, which Ilya Sorokin was unable to keep in his glove, Parssinen would get the rebound back to Forsberg behind the net who would get a second attempt on a wrap-around.  The rebound would then fly out to Roman Josi, who would take a long shot from the top of the circles that would rebound back to a waiting Forsberg, who would score the opening goal of the night putting the Predators on top 1-0 with 18:57 left in the first.

With their third straight game scoring the opening goal, Nashville would take the next faceoff hoping to keep momentum high.  The so-called “bottom six” would get their chance next - the first Nashville possession didn’t amount to any shots on goal, but Colton Sissons would setup Michael McCarron streaking down the slot, but McCarron was turned away.  A few moments later, Adam Pelech would take a shot from the left circle that was tipped by Dante Fabbro’s stick, which redirects the puck past Juuse Saros, and the Islanders tie the game up with 17:17 left in the first period, 1-1.

With the scoreboard tied up once again, Nashville would try to keep momentum going.  A couple of trips to the offensive zone by both teams would come up without a shot, but Nashville was able to maintain possession for the majority of the next 3-4 minutes.  Mat Barzal would get a decent look against Juuse Saros, but shortly after, Oliver Wahlstrom would get called for interference, sending the Predators to the power play with 14:47 remaining.

The new power play units from the Minnesota game would return, with a first unit of Duchene, Johansen, Niederrieter, Eeli Tolvanen and Roman Josi.  There would be some puck movement and some decent looks, but couldn’t get anything past Sorokin.  The team would struggle to get back into the OZ after, and then the second unit would take the ice - Forsberg, Mikael Granlund, Parssinen, Colton Sissons and Mattias Ekholm - with under a minute remaining.  The second unit would also struggle, and spend the majority of the power play in their own zone before the penalty was ultimately killed.

The Predators, despite the struggle to keep possession during the power play, would keep up the momentum after the penalty, getting a few more shots off.  The Islanders would continue spending most of their time trying to keep the puck before the fourth line would take the ice.  After a battle in the neutral zone, Nashville would advance quickly - Roman Josi would take the puck into the zone before a pass to a streaking Cole Smith who drove to the net then fed Colton Sissons in the slot, who deflects the shot up and over Sorokin’s pad to re-take the lead, 2-1 with 11:11 remaining.

It would only take 58 seconds for Nashville to ride the wave of momentum - the Duchene line would keep the puck from the faceoff, and Ryan McDonaugh would hit Roman Josi before a pass to Niederreter, who would take a shot towards the slot, and it would deflect off Noah Dobson’s skate and into the net, and Nashville would take the lead, 3-1 with 10:19 remaining.

That would give Roman Josi his third assist of the game, just the 4th time in his career that he has 3 assists in a single period.  Possession would remain mostly with Nashville the rest of the period, with the Predators outshooting NY 10-5 in the first ten minutes, and ended 18-7 in favor of the home team.  The transition game by Nashville would continue to be killer, moving into the zone with ease, and Nashville would end the period in solid control of the game, riding high off of the three-goal first period, leading 3-1.

Second Period

Nashville returned to the ice, confident with a 3-1 lead.  Matt Duchene would get a chance from the bottom of the left circle, but Sorokin would turn it away.  The Islanders would get a shot attempt after a minute, but it was easily blocked away.  Filip Forsberg and Juuso Parssinen would combine for a couple of good opportunities, but ultimately they’d head back to the bench while still having possession.

The puck moved back and forth across the ice for the next couple of minutes, with neither team getting great looks.  The Colton Sissons and Cole Smith line would try another shot at their scoring play for earlier, but Sorokin was able to make the stop this time.  Afterwards, the Forsberg-Parssinen-Granlund line would take an offensive zone faceoff - after being thrown out of the faceoff circle, Juuso Parssinen would get his second goal in three games (his third point) after a long shot, and Filip Forsberg and Dante Fabbro would pick up the assists.  Predators would lead 4-1 with 15:05 left.

Now with a three goal lead, Nashville might have been expected to let up, but that wasn’t the case.  Nashville wouldn’t allow a second shot on the period until 12:35 left in the second, after yet another high-danger chance by Cole Smith that ended up being saved.

Play continued mostly in Nashville’s favor over the next few minutes - the best shot that New York had was a shot from Brock Nelson who would hit iron with 9:55 left in the second period.  The Islanders would finally start to notch some shots on goal, maintaining possession for their longest period of the game, and minutes later, Brock Nelson would hit the post once again with 6:55 left the period.

Duchene would make another steal and carry the puck into the zone on a slow two-on-two.  He’d pass to a streaking Cole Smith (stop me if you’ve heard this before) who wasn’t able to convert (stop me if you’ve heard this before), but the amount of high-quality chances generated by Cole Smith is impressive.

Despite that, the Islanders would keep possession, getting a few shot attempts towards Saros before Pelech would take a shot from center ice at the blue line, and Cal Clutterbuck would deflect it from the crease past Juuse Saros to reduce the lead to 4-2 with 4:29 remaining, with Pelech and Matt Martin picking up the assists.

The Islanders momentum continued after the goal - the top line would get a few shots on net, but Oliver Wahlstrom would take advantage of a Nashville turnover and get a solo shot attempt on Juuse Saros, who turned it away easily.  Mark Jankowski would continue to be missing from the ice, it was not clear as to why he had left.  Either way, New York would continue to possess the puck for the remainder of the period, finally (seemingly) waking up on offense.  It would be a good second period for New York (relatively), as they would end the period with 10 shots on goal, the same amount from Nashville after the first period ended with a 18-7 Predators advantage, and that would be the end of the second period.

Third Period

The third period would start on a physical note with the Islanders delivering a couple of hits on Nashville players - New York led in hits at this point 31-15, not that Nashville needed them tonight.  Not long after, Brock Nelson would get called for interference, however Nino Niederreier would also pick up a penalty for embellishment, so the teams would head to two minutes of 4 on 4.

To start the 4 on 4, Juuse Saros would be forced to make a couple of quick saves from New York, but Juuse would continue playing strong.  The next faceoff would be in the Nashville zone, which New York would quickly turn into a Barzal slot shot - Barzal would hit the post after beating Juuse Saros.  Not to be outdone, Matt Duchene would go up the ice the other way and would hit a crossbar of his own.

The penalties would end with over 17 minutes left, and the teams returned to 5 on 5, but the Islanders would get two or three high-danger shots on Saros, who somehow made all the saves necessary.  Unfortunately, that wouldn’t last long.  Kyle Palmieri would pick up a goal for New York with 15:28 left in the game - after a dump in from New York would result in the puck in the slot, Palmieri would get a wide-open shot on Saros.  John Hynes, upset about a 4-1 lead disappearing to just a 4-3 lead, would take the team timeout to get back on top of his guys.  Nashville had yet to get a shot on goal in the period, while New York would have five.

Nashville would struggle - they would continue without a shot while allowing another over the couple of minutes before Roman Josi would get called for hooking and Nashville would have to kill their first power play of the evening.

The Islanders would have no trouble getting established in the offensive zone, but Saros would stand strong while the first PK unit blocked several shots while they were unable to clear for the first minute.  Saros would make another couple of saves before play would finally stop after 1:30 after the Finnish goaltender swallowed up another glove side shot.  The second unit would finally get on the ice, and would get one clear off a deflection into the neutral zone.  The second unit would stand strong and the penalty was killed.

Juuso Parssinen would have a good steal, but would give it away soon after to Barzal streaking into the slot, but the puck sailed into the glass behind Saros, and Nashville was facing a 9-0 shot deficit with 10:36 left in the game.    Mayfield would be called for tripping with 10:14 left, and the Preds headed to their second power play.

Mikael Granlund would win the opening faceoff, then a few seconds later would take a shot from the right circle, and Juuso Parssinen would deflect the puck into the net for a power play goal just four seconds into the power play, and the rookie picked up his third goal in three games, and his third point of the night, and the Preds would restore their two-goal lead with 10:08 remaining, up 5-3.  Roman Josi and Granlund would pick up assists, the fourth point on the evening for the captain.

Play got more loose after that - the Islanders would hit their FOURTH post or crossbar of the evening - and the teams would exchange chances on broken plays, but both goaltenders were able to make the stops.  After winning a faceoff with just over 8 minutes left, Niederreiter would get called for a delay of game, sending the Islanders to their second power play attempt of the night.

Mat Barzal would pick up a couple of shot attempts early, and the Islanders were excellent at keeping possession - Juuse Saros faced an onslaught in the first minute before the puck was finally cleared.  The second unit would have a better time preventing shots, getting a couple of clears in the second half of the penalty kill, and Niederreiter would leave the box with the penalty killed with 5:51 left.

The Islanders would apply pressure, and Palmieri would hit the crossbar/post once AGAIN.  Wahlstrom would jump away from a check by Ekholm, and Ekholm gets hit with a tripping penalty sending the Islanders to their third power play with 4:30 left.  Nine seconds into the power play, Barzal would take a shot from the left circle, and the rebound would be picked up by Anders Lee who would pass to JG Pageau in the slot who would get Islanders on the board again, down 5-4 with 4:30 left.

With the pressure on, Nashville would try and fend off the Islanders, and would get a break with 2:50 remaining after Mat Barzal picked up a high-sticking penalty, and Nashville would attempt to put the game away on their third power play of the night after going 1 for 2 previously.

Roman Josi would get a shot on net from the blue line, and the puck would deflect into the air where Juuso Parssinen would nearly bat it in for a hat trick, but the Islanders would clear.  The first minute of the power play was successful, and the second unit would come in hoping to do the same.  However, shortly after taking the ice, the Islanders would get a shorthanded attempt against on Saros, which he was able to save.  Palmieri would have a shot blocked with under a minute remaining in the game and 6 seconds left in the power play.  The penalty would be killed seconds later.

After Barzal got out of the box, the Islanders would pull Sorokin to finish the game 6 on 5.  Nashville would get one clear with 22 seconds left, and New York would struggle to get any shots off - with a diving block by Jankowski putting the final nail in the coffin, and the Nashville Predators would win 5-4, and win their third straight game on the homestand, the first 3 game streak of the season for the Predators who moved to 8-8-1 with 17 points in the standings.

Three Stars of the Game

Third Star:  F Filip Forsberg - 1 goal, 1 assist

Second Star:  D Roman Josi - 4 assists

First Star:  F Juuso Parssinen, 2 goals, 1 assist (second time in three games he’s named first star, by the way)

Stats Recap