Power Play: Preds abysmal OT record continues
Now 1-11 in the overtime frame, are there any positives that can be taken away from a game like this? Hopefully, for Nashville, there is.
New franchise leader in power play points
You knew it was coming any game now.
Predators defenseman and captain Shea Weber sat at 182 power play points prior to Thursday's contest against the Devils, tied with former captain Kimmo Timonen. To be completely honest, it was just a matter of time over the next handful of games before Weber took that crown.
Streaking down alongside the boards to the left of New Jersey goaltender Keith Kinkaid, Weber found a wide open Craig Smith directly parallel to his position with space to make the pass. Sending a cross-ice feed right to his stick blade, Smith deposited the shot behind Kinkaid and Weber took the franchise lead.
With plenty of time left in his tenure with Nashville and no telling how long Weber will play, there could be a considerable gap between him and Timonen by the time Weber retires.
The obscure stats of Paul Gaustad
There are plenty of obscure stats surrounding players who don't score very often in the NHL. It's fun to throw them out there because a fair amount of them are absurd undefeated records when Nashville's third or fourth line player who never scores notches a goal.
Let's take a look at the brilliance of face-off champion and perennial fourth line center Paul Gaustad.
His record with the Predators when scoring a goal has been fairly spectacular, netting a cool 11-2-5 -- including 7-0-1 in the past eight games with a Gaustad goal including Thursday's game against New Jersey -- when he breaks into the goal-scoring column.
Want to see a stat that is absolutely absurd? Take into account every game Gaustad has played in his career with both Buffalo and Nashville and his teams have a combined 58-16-9 record when he scores.
That's an amazing number and the Predators should hope for Gaustad to score every time he's on the ice, at least once a game.
Finding positives where no positives can be found
Nashville only has 17 games left in the season. And in the 65 games prior to that, including Thursday's game, they've posted a 1-11 record in the overtime period.
That's abysmal. There's no other way to put it.
Granted, the Predators did nothing to help climb out of that hole Thursday night, finding themselves taking an avoidable penalty, allowing three power play goals -- including the game-winner in overtime -- and seemingly out of place, strategically, throughout the overtime period.
Luckily for Nashville, overtime during the playoffs is sudden-death five-on-five hockey -- they won't have to worry about finding the right, and seemingly wrong, combination of three players to put out on the ice. In reality, though, the Predators do need to worry about the way they collapsed against a team that, at the time, had no business staying in the game against Nashville.
Nashville had a 3-1 lead against the Devils early into the second period and wound up losing by a final of 5-4. The biggest thing that most were worried about going into the game against New Jersey would be if the Predators would have played down to the level of their competition.
For the first half of the game, it really seemed like Nashville controlled the pace and played its game -- the same one that rattled off five straight wins, three of those coming against the best in the Central division.
After Devante Smith-Pelly's goal midway through the second period, a goal initiated by a puck that somehow squeaked through Rinne's pads and trickled back far enough that Smith-Pelly was able to poke it in, the Devils kept finding ways to claw back in and keep the game close.
New Jersey would tie the game with 40 seconds left and win it not even two minutes into overtime.
If that didn't serve as a harsh reminder to Nashville that you can't count out any opponent on any given night, I'm not sure what does.
Before the Predators opened up their locker room to the media, there came the loud sounds of items being slammed against walls and profanities being yelled. Nashville has the right to be upset with the final score of the game, but they can use that same anger as fuel for the upcoming five game road trip -- which starts with a matinee on Saturday in Colorado and finishes with a four-game swing in western Canada.
Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils -- Henrique's game-tying and game-winning goals came from nearly the same point on the ice. Luckily for Henrique, he was in the perfect spot on both of them.
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators -- Another ho-hum night for the Swedish phenom, notching another goal and two assists -- giving him 19 points in his last 13 games.
Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils -- For a player that I thought was still a member of the Anaheim Ducks, Palmieri was all over the ice on Thursday night. He ended the night with a goal and two assists for the winning Devils.