Nashville Predators 3, New Jersey Devils 1: The Americans Propel Preds to Five in a Row

Cullen, Wilson and Smith lit the lamp to send the Devils back home empty handed.

The Nashville Predators were gunning for their fifth win in a row, (and 38th on the season) as they entertained a weary New Jersey Devils team. It was certainly within reach, as the Devils fell to Chicago last night, and are one of the bottom five teams in the league.

Lo and behold, the Preds walloped the Devils to start the game, outshooting them seven fold. Nashville broke the scoring, but New Jersey was able to slow down the tempo of the game and knot it at one by the end of the second period. Nashville, one of the best third period teams in the league, revved up the pressure again and scored two goals in the final three minutes of play.

The Predators now have 82 points on the season, and go home with a five-game win streak under their belts.

Random Observations

  • The lines got, um... a bit of a shuffle this evening. Honestly, the way they seemed to be picked out of a hat, I was surprised we didn't see a rabbit and a bunch of colored handkerchiefs skating on the ice. However, you'd rather Peter Laviolette experiment in a game like this than any other time. The Devils are not good, and the game has almost no repercussions in the standings. See what works now, so you have an idea for when it really matters.
  • That being said, how did these new lines look and do?
  • Colin Wilson - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal: 2 points, 10 shots, (7 by Wilson) all above 60 CF%.
  • Matt Cullen - Mike Fisher - Craig Smith: 5 points, 9 shots.
  • Filip Forsberg - Calle Jarnkrok - Taylor Beck: 7 shots, 0 points, but the best possession line in the game. Both Beck and Forsberg were above 70 CF%.
  • Eric Nystrom - Paul Gaustad - Gabriel Bourque: 4 shots (all by Bourque), 0 points, but all positive possession players. There actually wasn't a single sub 50 player the entire game.
  • The Predators outshot the Devils 21-3 in the first period. Are the Predators that good? Or are the Devil and their coaching staff that bad? My column:
  • Old No. 7 opened the scoring at 8:49 of the first period after a dandy of a pass by Smith. Roman Josi kept a clearing attempt in the zone, and sent the puck across to Shea Weber. The captain fired the puck down low, there Smith found it and back-passed it to Cullen. It was his first goal since December 20th, 1857. Coincidence because of the new lines? Yeah, probably.
  • Once the second period started, the game really slowed down. New Jersey was doing what New Jersey does best, and Nashville was not nearly pumping as many shots on goal. Eventually, after turning up the pressure just a skoch, Steven Bernier ended Rinne's shutout bid. It was another goal set up by a defenseman getting the puck low, as Eric Gelinas sent a shot wide that bounced off the end boards to Bernier.
  • Corey Schneider was good, as he usually is. For almost half the game, his team wasn't giving him any support, but he held them in there. Being tied 1-1 going into the third period was a victory in and of itself. Props to you, Mr. Schneider.
  • It seems we can no longer go a game without Pekka Rinne making another incredible save. He was at it again when he completely stoned Mike Cammalleri on a one timer following a cross ice pass. If this were NHL15, that thing would be so in.
  • If you thought this game was probably going to overtime, no one would have blamed you. It just had that feel to it. But thanks to Wilson and Smith scoring about a minute apart, everyone got to go home at the regularly scheduled time. The Predators in the third period have been absolutely sensational.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Matt Cullen: USA!
  • Colin Wilson: USA!
  • Craig Smith: USA!
  • (Hon. Mention) Corey Schneider: USA!/

Tweets of the Game

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - War-on-Ice - HockeyStats - Natural Stat Trick

Roll the video highlights...