The Nashville Predators swept New York.

After opening their NHL season by beating the Rangers in New York Thursday evening, the Predators went to Long Island on Saturday and took out the Islanders, 4-3.

It was a great working weekend in the Big Apple.

“[We] were fast and competitive right from the start,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “It turned out to be a good hockey game. I thought we did a good job just coming off of that first one (Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Rangers). It’s never easy on the home openers. We had to come in and face two of them, so it was good to get out of here with the four points and go home.”

Nashville Key Stats

Goals:

Viktor Arvidsson (2), Mattias Ekholm, Craig Smith

Assists:

P.K. Subban (2), Filip Forsberg, Colton Sissons, Kyle Turris, Ryan Ellis, Ryan Johansen, Anthony Bitetto

New York Key Stats

Goals:

Mathew Barzal, Valtteri Flippula, Anders Lee (PPG)

Assists:

Josh Bailey (2), Tanner Fritz, Luca Sbsa, Mathew Barzal

What Happened:

The Predators were able to hold off the Islanders in spite of four penalties and some defensive miscues.

The Islanders held the game close. Following a Nashville defensive zone turnover, Mathew Barzal sneaked one through Juuse Saros‘ pads. Valterri Flippula’s goal kept the Islanders in contention, and captain Anders Lee found the back of the net on a New York power play.

However, Arvidsson (cover photo) was Nashville’s hero.

Skating around defenseman Ryan Pullock, he used his signature between-the-legs move, and sneaked the puck through Thomas Griess’ five hole. In the second period, he beat Griess again, this time stick-side low in the crease. Because of his two goals, Arividsson earned the first star.

Nashville defenseman Ekholm and forward Smith scored their first goals as well. Ekholm, who recorded two assists against the Rangers, whipped a shot by Griess’ glove late in the first period. Smith, whose hustle has been unmatched over two games, snapped one over Griess’ shoulder in the second period.

The teams traded goals in the first two periods, and penalties in the third. Nashville had one power play opportunity, whereas New York had four. Speaking of fours, four-on-four hockey occurred twice in the third period.

Looking Forward:

Head Coach Peter Laviolette made some significant changes to Saturday’s lineup which included placing Calle Jarnkrok on the second line with Turris and Smith. Forward Kevin Fiala was bumped to the fourth line, but reunited with his usual line mates in the third period.

Saros received his first start of the year, and made 26 saves on 29 shots. He turned away several good shots. Saros will be expected to duplicate or improve upon this performance in his next start.

Smith has been an unsung hero for Nashville. He has utilized his speed to create more chances, and has powered the second line thus far. Nashville needs this from him all year long.

The Nashville Predators cannot allow old habits from last year to return. Four penalties puts pressure on the penalty kill and goaltender, and it cost them against New York. Nashville needs to stay out of the box, otherwise they may be in trouble.

Also, don’t look now, but Filip Forsberg is on pace for 82 points this season.

Nashville comes home to Bridgestone Arena to host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, while New York hosts the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

Cover Photo Credit: AP Photos/Mary Altaffer

-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for Fullpresscoverage.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter @jack_woods15.

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