Nashville Predators 2, LA Kings 1: Tanner Jeannot, usurper

A hockey game was allegedly played.

Tonight, the Nashville Predators clashed with the Los Angeles Kings in their third game of the season. After watching 40 minutes of some of the most mind-numbing hockey in recent memory and 20 minutes of fun stuff, we bring you this recap of the evening’s events.

What went right?

The Predators jumped on the Kings early and for the most part kept things even or better, outside of a stretch following the game’s opening goal by Anze Kopitar. The forwards won puck battles and took the puck to the net; the defense was mostly up to the task of limiting LA to the perimeter. Juuse Saros looked perfectly fine.

Tanner Jeannot remains one of the bright spots on a roster that feels devoid of hope, even if we’re in the infancy of this season. The physical, play-driving fourth liner propelled the Herd yet again, while also providing one of his ubiquitous “take a dirt nap” checks on Drew Doughty.

Filip Forsberg and Yakov Trenin also stood out in this game. The former produced a few beautiful looks off of the rush, while the latter received/lobbed some accurate stretch passing to challenge Kings goalie Cal Petersen. Nashville didn’t lack for scoring looks by any means, despite what the final tallies for both sides indicates.

Matt Duchene dunked home a rebound on the power play for his first of the year, tying the game at 1-1. Good effort by No. 95, whose tally was a product of his intelligent positioning prior to the puck trickling out.

Jeannot buried a puck off of a brilliant dish by Colton Sissons, notching a game-winning goal to go with his posterization of Doughty earlier.

Lastly, Eeli Tolvanen continued to shoot the puck at a prodigious rate, something that should eventually result in goals for the young winger. Given that he’s currently one of the only members of Nashville’s core prospect group that’s receiving consistent playing time, his confidence to pull the trigger is an encouraging sign when considering how his development is tracking (with Tolvanen trending towards being a solid, play-driving top six forward).

What went wrong?

The Preds could not buy a goal to save their lives for much of this contest. Stuffing the puck into the pads of Cal Petersen made up the majority of offensive looks; this was listless, directionless, and boring hockey of the highest level (hmm, sounds like the vibe surrounding this franchise’s front office at the moment).

Juuse Saros allowed a goal to Anze Kopitar that he’d probably like to have back, even if it didn’t end up mattering all that much. Facing a guy who’s scorching hot and allowing a goal from distance isn’t the end of the world.

Nashville still looks like a team composed of a bunch of clones of Nick Cousins, propelling offense semi-effectively against weaker competition and yet never producing anything tangible from that momentum. The scratching of Phil Myers and Phil Tomasino for lesser talents is frustrating at best, and violently stupid at worst, depending on how your perspective aligns.

This team is set to be painfully mediocre. Still, a win is a win. I hope they prove me wrong.