Nashville Predators 2, Seattle Kraken 1 (SO): It’s Tolvy (visiting) time in Smashville
With Tolvanen visiting from Seattle and the playoffs on the line, the kids pulled out the SO win against the Kraken.
The Nashville Predators have been on the proverbial roller coaster the last few games, but they welcome Eeli Tolvanen and the Seattle Kraken to Nashville riding high from a blowout win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. The Kraken—who are in Nashville for a back-to-back— have the potential to keep the roller coaster going, having blown the Predators out when they last played.
But this team is not the same team that lost 5-1 to the Kraken in November. Sitting five points back from the last wildcard slot, but with three games in hand, the kids have the drive to prove themselves and the team has more offensive jump of late, which bodes well against the Kraken’s main weakness: goaltending.
The First Period
The Kraken rubbed the loss of Tolvanen—who has career highs in both goals and points in 36 games with Seattle since being claimed off waivers—in Preds fans’ faces, placing him in the starting lineup on his former home ice.
The Kraken scored only 2:28 into the first, when Daniel Sprong on a partial breakaway faked wrapping around behind the Preds net. Getting Juuse Saros to bite, he found a small space to bank the puck off of Saros from behind the goal. 0-1 Kraken.
Overall, the Preds had trouble getting shots on goal. Despite Nashville having reasonable puck possession, Seattle more than doubled them with shots on goal. The Preds ended the period with only 3 shots on goal and were perhaps lucky to be down by only one goal.
The Second Period
The Kraken generally perform well with the long change, so the Preds had a task in the second period as the Kraken came flying out of the gate.
After being swamped the first few minutes, the Preds began getting pucks to the net more, but were largely one and done, not getting much in the way of second chances in the offensive zone.
With 5:59 left in the second, the Preds finally got a second chance when Kiefer Sherwood buried the rebound on a Tyson Barrie shot from the blue line. 1-1.
The next shift, the Kraken took their first penalty of the game. Despite some good zone time on the power play, the Predators came away empty handed, making it the 13th consecutive power play on which they’ve failed to score.
Overall, it was a better period for the hometown team, leaving the third to be the deciding period.
The Third Period
Win the period, win the game.
With that adage in mind, the Predators hit the ice in the third period with less energy than might have been hoped for.
Less than two minutes in, the Kraken, who had given Nashville fits as they tried to exit their own zone, had a prime opportunity. But Saros stood tall, keeping the score even.
Moments later Saros made a highlight reel save to again keep the score tied. After that, the Preds seemed to find their footing a bit more and the play was back and forth for a few minutes before the Kraken succeeded in trapping the Preds in their defensive zone again, forcing more dazzling saves from Saros.
With 1:31 remaining in the game, Kiefer Sherwood put the Preds on the power play, drawing a boarding penalty from Brandon Tanev. Unfortunately, Sherwood would head to the room and the Preds would not score before the end of regulation, sending the stalemate into overtime, with 29 seconds of power play time remaining to begin the extra period.
Seattle won the opening face off, cutting the Preds effective power play time. Just as the power play ended, the Kraken got a partial breakaway, but Ryan McDonough managed to break up the opportunity, sending the play back to the other end of the ice.
The refs swallowed their whistles, letting the teams play 4 on 4 for the majority of the overtime period. While there were chances at both ends, the goalies stood tall.
With 16 seconds left in the OT period, Kraken goalie Joey Daccord caught the puck, resulting int he first stoppage of the period and a brief 3-on-3 before heading to Daccord’s first shootout in the NHL.
The Preds led off with Matt Duchene who approached slowly before scoring 5-hole. 1-0.
The Kraken countered with Jared McCann who beat Saros, but not the post. Still 1-0.
Luke Evangelista made a valiant effort but could not beat Daccord. Still 1-0
Jordan Eberle was up next, but Saros stood tall. 1-0.
Phil Tomasino opened up Daccord and scored five-hole, securing the shootout victory in front of the home crowd.