The Nashville Predators bested the Colorado Avalanche in regulation. With help from third line forward Colton Sissons, the Predators walk away from Pepsi Center with a 4-1 victory.
Nashville Key Stats
Colorado Key Stats
The Predators dominated the early stages in the game, creating chance after chance. MacKinnon came close to scoring the first goal, but solid defense forced an uncomfortable shot. Nashville’s third line pressed the attack nearing five minutes left in the period when Ekholm found Bonino low in the crease. Bonino’s shot slipped through Varlamov’s pads, and Sissons picked up the loose change. Josi later created a 2 on 1 from an Avalanche line change, and Sissons slapped one past Varmalov for his second of the period.
Early in the second period, an off-sides prevented Colorado from pulling within one. However, Calvert tipped a Girard slapshot past Rinne, and the game was within Colorado’s grasp. The Predators responded at the end of the period on the power play when Sissons tipped Turris’ shot. It was Sissons’ second career hat trick.
Colorado had a second goal waved off due to another off-sides call. As time began to expire, Hartman buried the empty netter.
The Predators officially move to 12-3-0 with 24 points, placing them ahead of the Minnesota Wild by six points. They currently lead the league as well- one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nashville is currently undefeated on the road, posting a 7-0-0 record through 15 games this year. They are also undefeated in the Central Division this year.
Forward Viktor Arvidsson has been on the IR following the Vegas- Nashville game on October 30th. Secondary scoring finally broke through during the Vegas game. Hartman, Turris, and Bonino have each scored 4 points through four games while Jarnkrok and Fiala have scored 3.
Other huge offensive contributors include Josi, Ekholm, and Subban. Josi has racked up five points through four games, while Ekholm and Subban each have two.
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In a nutshell, secondary scoring and offense from the defense have made up for Arvidsson’s absence. Filip Forsberg hasn’t scored in four games, and Johansen has only two points. The first line has tried Fiala and Sissons, but Arvidsson has been missed.
It’s official- the Predators have one of the worst power plays in the league. Although they finally got a power-play goal last night, the team currently sits at 13% conversion on the man-advantage.
However, they have allowed fewest goals per game—only 2.07 per game. Goaltending has been a serious commodity, as Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne have been absolutely phenomenal.
Rinne has posted two shutouts, won 6 games, and holds a save percentage of .949. Of the 51 shots he faced in the last two games, only one counted. (2 were discredited due to offsides). He’s aging like fine wine- only getting better with time.
The Predators face their fourth Central Division foe on Saturday night- the Dallas Stars. The Stars are on a two-game losing streak, dropping games to Boston and Columbus. Dallas faces San Jose tonight to begin a homestead.
The Predators are the best team in the league right now, even without Arvidsson. Goaltending has been outstanding, secondary scoring is ever apparent right now, and Nashville is getting more offense from the defense. Their special teams aren’t great, and it’s been a tale of “What’s working right now” for the Predators.
Once all aspects of their early success start working collectively, they will reaffirm what the rest of the league already knows- Nashville will be competing beyond 82 games.
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators.