During the first period, things were pretty even early on as both sides were able to record a decent number of shots on net. The Ottawa Senators showed some life shortly after, getting some rapid sequences on Juuse Saros early. Saros stood tall and denied each attempt, keeping things evened up at zero early in the game.
The Nashville Predators had an early chance to break open the scoring as they got the first power play nod. The initial 1:20 was spent in the offensive zone, while the remaining time Ottawa played a bad pass and built up momentum in their favor.
The Senators were then able to turn things slightly in their favor as they ramped up their offensive workhorse and settled into playing their style of game. The seventh-ranked power play unit for the Sens received their first chance in the dying minutes of the first period. Dante Fabbro and Alexandre Carrier both were active in blocking pass attempts, as well as several shots, keeping the puck from reaching Juuse Saros. A final push by Ottawa ended in their offensive zone and the period came to a close.
To wrap up the period there was a total shot count of Senators 14, Predators 8.
As the second period began you could tell that Nashville felt their first-period performance was lethargic. Midway through, the Preds got their second chance on the power play. There were high scoring chances produced, and several looks in the slot. Ottawa matched this power play by upping the physicality of their own play. After the special team opportunity, Jeremy Lauzon delivered a booming hit to Captain Brady Tkachuk. This led to a familiar sight as Preds fans saw former Predator Austin Watson drop the gloves with Lauzon. After this fight it was made apparent that everyone on ice was looking to finish their checks.
Ottawa had another power play chance, but this one seemed to lack the intensity that the first try had. Nashville successfully killed the penalty and got a 2 on 1 break as Cole Smith sprung a hustling Roman Josi, but Talbot stayed with the play and kept the Preds off the scoreboard. With 6:00 left, the up to this point unsuccessful Preds power play got another crack.
It was clear that this was an important moment of the game, as neither team had managed to score yet. This power play unit has had its struggles this season, as they are ranked currently 28th in offensive success with the man advantage. After a long drawn-out back and forth to be the first to score, Yakov Trenin ripped an absolute rocket of a wrister and puts the Preds on top 1-0 with 3:00 to go in the period.
Unfortunately for the Predators the lead was short lived, as Ottawa tied things up after Nashville was called for too many men—a penalty that has been called too many times this season, three times in the last four games. The power play for the Senators succeeded as Claude Giroux shot the puck past an out-of-position Saros.
Shot totals remain about the same differential, as Ottawa had 25 and Nashville had 20.
The puck dropped for the third and it is now the time where you make or break. Lauzon, who was injured during the moment that the Senators’ power play scored, was unavailable. He skated off during play in extreme pain and thus left it to be a 5 v 3.
Physical play carried over as both teams continued to finish each check they have available. Saros looked settled as he made huge saves when Ottawa started their offensive prowess for the third. Alex DeBrincat scored a go-ahead goal on a deflection four minutes into the third period; the puck slid five hole after Dante Fabbro put a stick on it.
With 13 minutes to go, Nashville was poised to strike again as they got another chance on the power play. The chance was broken up as Forsberg was called for a boarding. Forsberg protested and the crowd let out boos, but regardless it was 4-on-4 hockey for a minute. The momentum was in Nashville’s favor and there was a good chance to score, but disaster struck as Drake Batherson scored for Ottawa. During a line change Nino Niederreiter slotted a shot under the glove side armpit of Talbot, revitalizing a reeling Preds squad.
Nashville continued to apply pressure and kept dishing out checks as play continued; time was not on the Preds side. With 4:39 to go a whistle signaled that there was a penalty, after a brief huddle, the ref announces Matt Duchene got a double minor for high sticking. After reviewing the play, it was confirmed.
Ottawa now had the 4:00 power play which nearly took up the rest of the time in the game. With 1:30 to go Roman Josi quarterbacked a try as the Preds went up the ice with speed, Talbot was forced to cover the puck and Nashville was not going down without a fight. During the final minute the Preds tried to get one more goal, but alas it was too little too late.
The Ottawa Senators defeated your Nashville Predators 3-2 after a back-and-forth ordeal all game long.
In conclusion, the Nashville Predators spent a lot of this game in their defensive zone. Most of the offensive tries were sprung from transitional plays during line changes, defenders caught out of position, etc. The power play woes need to be addressed and fixed as any team that has success has a decent to great standing percentage, but the Preds are in the not good to abysmal category.
The team travels to St. Louis to play during the 12-12-22 contest. Be on the lookout for AHL defenders to be called up, as both Lauzon and Carrier did not finish today’s contest.