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Nashville Predators 5, Vegas Golden Knights 2: Offense Pours It On in Rinne’s First Vegas Win

Still on the road and deep in the realm of Hockey After Dark, the Nashville Predators looked to rebound after a rough loss to the Los Angeles Kings tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights, who were looking to build off their momentum from a great win against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings, for the record, do not personally appear in this recap.

The Predators started off with some decent pace, but the Knights were right there with them. Play was back and forth until a Ryan Ellis shot made it through to Marc-Andre Fleury, possibly getting tipped along the way by Kyle Turris. The Preds kept up the pressure and moments later drew a power play. Although it was held scoreless, the power play, in a great showing by the second unit, at least managed to keep the puck moving and did work low in the zone instead of just always shooting from the point. The Preds then managed to keep playing in the Knights’ end for a bit after the power play expired, as well.

After that, though, the Knights got themselves back into the game, spending a stressful amount of time in the Preds’ end and eventually drawing a cross-checking penalty from Mattias Ekholm. Mark Stone shortly managed to tie the game, after some less-than-ideal work from the penalty killers.

The Predators spent much of the time after Stone’s goal playing less than their best hockey, but it was partly bad puck luck and a very unlucky bounce that let Reilly Smith (wrong Smith!) score another to give the Knights a lead. The other part, unfortunately, was on Yannick Weber.

After that, some negligence on the part of the officials led Roman Josi and Mark Stone to escalate hostilities until they were fighting. Stone fairly decisively won the fight, which, with less than five minutes left in the period, put the Preds without Josi heading into intermission, and Preds fans worriedly waiting to see whether Josi would be back out there for the second period.

He was—hopefully not against medical advice—and just 44 seconds into the second period Colton Sissons scored off a sweet pass from Nick Bonino to tie the game. The Predators got another power play very early, featuring Ekholm on the first PP unit with Josi still in the penalty box. Dante Fabbro made a fantastic pass to find Ryan Johansen as the power play expired, but Fleury was able to make the save.

However, a few minutes later, just as Josi and Stone were getting out of the penalty box, Viktor Arvidsson made a great play around the net to find Calle Jarnkrok for a goal. Moments later, Filip Forsberg capitalized on a turnover as Fleury was trying to play the puck behind the net and scored to increase the Preds’ lead to two and tie Marek Zidlicky’s franchise record season-starting point streak.

A few minutes later, Forsberg proceeded to take a penalty retaliating against—who else?—Mark Stone. Pekka Rinne had a few great saves on heartstopping Knights chances and the Knights finally did not score a power play goal—they’d scored on four consecutive power plays prior to that one. Rinne was called on again as Max Pacioretty got what felt like his twentieth great chance of the night, and then Dante Fabbro took a penalty and put the Preds back shorthanded.

They were able to kill this penalty off as well, and just as they were trying to get their breath back the Knights were whistled for too many men on the ice. The Predators got a few seconds of power-play time to end the period, saved from a Stone shorthanded breakaway by the buzzer. The third period finished with no score by either team on the power play, and Rinne called to make more saves.

After that, Matt Duchene drew his sixty-eleventh penalty for the Predators, and after an extended period with the extra attacker the Predators went on the 5v4 properly. Kyle Turris took a gorgeous long-range shot that was just barely tipped by Nick Bonino, just enough to get it past his fellow former Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury for the goal.

A little over halfway through the period, Vegas rookie Cody Glass sent Fabbro into the boards, tangled verbally with Ekholm, and put the Preds back on the power play. Fleury was able to stop Bonino’s attempt to finish a fantastic tic-tac-toe play. Moments after the power play ended, Pacioretty and Dan Hamhuis got involved in a fight, again after something the referees could have called and didn’t. That’s becoming a theme.

Bonino took a penalty with just over half a minute left in the game, but the Predators finished the game without allowing another goal and held on for the 5-2 win.

Note: Filip Forsberg missed the last nine minutes of the third period, so that’s concerning. Hopefully he just had some bad soup, or whatever it is they have in Vegas. We’ll keep you updated on that as soon as we know more.

Random Observations

  • Kyle Turris is looking good tonight (“yeah but how’s he playing?”)
  • And he scores! This is probably because I said he wasn’t going to produce on the fourth line with Grimaldi and Watson as his wingers, huh.
  • Grimaldi is also looking good tonight, come to think of it.
  • Could do with Fleury being less good shorthanded, as he has been for a while.
  • Filip Forsberg takes shots at one end and skates in to guard the empty net while Rinne was elsewhere at the other. He does it all.
  • stop putting roman josi on the penalty kill too
  • That Jarnkrok-Watson-Josi-Ellis PK unit is just a nightmare. It needs to stop happening. Too many players there who just aren’t good shorthanded.
  • Anyway, wonder who else here is a former Ottawa Senators player? I guess only those are allowed to score goals tonight.
  • Chris Mason being impressed by goalies—Saros last year, in this case—is always heartwarming.
  • Ryan Johansen also looks good tonight, which is nice to see from someone not on the fourth line.
  • [half an hour of gibbering terror about concussions]
  • I do want to credit, again, whichever of Mason or Daunic it was who was really not happy with Josi fighting. The man doesn’t need to get punched in the head.
  • Hamhuis doing a great job of screening Rinne there.
  • Did Stone hit Forsberg’s head or just near his head? Either way, you can’t retaliate there, Fil.
  • The puck is under the entire Preds’ bench piled up in the blue paint, apparently.
  • Just so you know, I’ve had about three pixels on my screen for most of the game./

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Pekka Rinne. That game could have been 5-5, easily. He kept the Preds in it when they were trailing, and once they got the lead back he shut it down.
  2. Kyle Turris. He had a fantastically successful game in less-than-ideal circumstances.
  3. Nick Bonino. You know what, sure. He had a solid game, scored a goal, had an assist, accomplished something on the power play…I’m okay with the bottom-six centers getting their own competition started.

Tweets of the Night

Talking Points