The Nashville Predators defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Monday night in Bridgestone Arena. Nashville has defeated both Central Division teams they have faced so far.
Nashville Key Stats
The Predators capitalized on the power play for a second consecutive game. Smith backhanded a rebound past Alex Stalock to put Nashville in front. Minnesota responded with a power-play goal of their own. Matt Dumba slapped one over Pekka Rinne’s blocker shoulder, and the teams were tied going into the second period.
As a Nashville penalty expired, Johansen fed Ekholm the puck in between the circles, and he gave the Predators a one goal lead. Later, Turris connected with Forsberg on a breakaway who laced a shot through Stalock. Once again, Minnesota responded. Nashville failed to clear the puck, and Koivu buried the Wild’s second power play goal of the night.
Minnesota had more scoring chances in the third. Rinne came up with two incredible saves with less than seven minutes to go. Salomaki took a two-minute minor late in the third period, so Nashville’s penalty kill was forced into a 6-on-4. Salomaki left the box right after Subban cleared the puck, and a tap-in goal sealed Nashville’s third straight win.
Nashville allowed two power play goals against the Wild. The second one should not have happened. Subban tripped and turned the puck over, and Koivu was left untouched in front of the net.
Although Subban tallied two assists, his defensive game still needs improvement. His mishaps have led to bad goals and one mistake can be crucial in a hockey game; thankfully, he contributed offensively.
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Despite the slow start defensively, he has produced five points offensively, including four assists. While his partner has been better on both ends of the ice, it would be a mistake to ignore his contributions thus far.
When it comes to the man advantage, Nashville’s power play has some life. Puck movement has been significantly better these last two games; they’re taking good shots, creating extra chances, and overall moving with more purpose.
Once again, the Predators took too many penalties and The Wild made Nashville pay twice for their mistakes, but what is a Nashville Predators game without penalties?
Johansen and Ekholm were the best players for Nashville during the last three games of the first homestead. Johansen tallied five points in three games, including four assists and a goal. Ekholm has subtly racked up five points and has played outstanding defense.
Rinne stopped 29 out of 31 shots against Minnesota. The Nashville defense allows more shots as the game progresses, but he normally stands strong. Two crucial saves in the third period played a major part in the Predators’ success.
Also, Filip Forsberg already has four goals this season and has averaged one point per game. Just a thought.
Cover Photo Credits: Mark Humphreys/AP Photos
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for Fullpresscoverage.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15