The Nashville Predators overcame a two-goal deficit and defeated the Dallas Stars 5-4 in overtime but their luck ran out against Anaheim the following night as the Ducks as they squeaked by with a 2-1 victory. The Predators officially move to 13-3-1 with 27 points.
Nashville Key Stats
Against Anaheim: Kevin Fiala
Against Anaheim: Kyle Turris, Craig Smith
Dallas Key Stats
Anaheim Key Stats
What Happened (Dallas)
The Stars emerged first on the scoring sheet as Pitlick slung one past a screened Juuse Saros. The Predators outshot the Stars, and created more chances in the first period, but trailed 1-0 at the end of one.
Hartman scored 12 seconds into the second period, as he beat Bishop five-hole to tie the game up. Later in the period, Honka skated right past all the Nashville defenders, passed the puck through the blue ice, and Seguin one-timed the puck home to give the Stars a 2-1 lead. The Stars held momentum, as Spezza slapped a loose rebound into the net, giving Dallas a 3-1 lead at the end of two.
Johansen sparked some tenacity in the Predators bench after scoring within 17 seconds in the third period. Josi carried the puck past the Dallas blueline, and Johansen tapped it through Bishop. Less than two minutes later, Weber threw the puck at the front of the net, and it deflected off of Jason Dickinson- within 3 minutes of the third period, the game was tied at 3. Gleason and Gurianov picked up their first NHL points midway through the third, and once again, Dallas retained the lead.
After Arvidsson drew a penalty late, the Predators went to a 6 on 4. Johansen found Josi, who tied the game with less than 45 seconds remaining. As time expired, Ekholm took a penalty, creating an automatic power play for the Stars in overtime. Once the penalty expired, Turris found Ekholm between the circles, roofed a shot over Bishop, and the Predators improved their record to 13-3-0.
What Happened (Anaheim)
A rather dull game, the Predators and Ducks squared off in a true goaltender’s showdown. Shot totals were equal at the end of one with no goals allowed.
Getzlaf broke the ice with a shot that deflected off Josi. Carrying the puck into the zone, he fended off Ryan Ellis and Turris, slipped the puck to Rackell below the face-off circle, and buried the feed from Rackell.
Fiala tied the game up in the third. After Smith and Turris pried the puck loose from the corner, Fiala blasted a shot over Gibson’s shoulder. A few missed power play opportunities for the Predators sent them to a second straight overtime.
Gibson blocked ten shots, and almost single-handedly deterred a Predators victory. Rinne gave up goals to Rakell and Aberg in the shootout, while Gibson was fooled only once by Turris. Rinne made 29 saves in total; Gibson made 34.
Assessing Some Problems
The Predators power play could not be any worse, even if they deliberately tried to make it worse. 1/12 through two games has officially placed their man-advantage at dead last in the league.
Reasons behind such little production could be one of two things (or a combination of both): too many shots from the point, or not enough shots from the slot. Take Josi’s goal to tie the game up against Dallas- he shot the puck from below the face-off circle. Colton Sissons’ third goal against Colorado was a deflection from a one-timer in between the circles.
In essence, Nashville needs to press the puck into high scoring areas on the power play, otherwise should accept the consequences of an inadequate man advantage.
Viktor Arvidsson returned from the IR only to find himself right back on it. A lower body injury sustained during the Vegas-Nashville game was replaced with an upper-body injury against Dallas. Both injuries happened within two minutes of regulation expiring.
Josi and Turris have produced five points in five games. They have been the driving force for the offense in the wake of Arvidsson’s absence. Filip Forsberg has one point through six games. Player performances are fluctuating dramatically, but there is no true reason for concern.
The Predators may have dropped their first road game of the year in the loss to Anaheim, however, they were not necessarily outplayed.
As a matter of fact, it took a defenseman starting at forward, a crucial part of the offense stuck on the IR, one of the top defenseman missing half of a period, an unlucky deflection of a skate, and an average goaltender’s best performance of the year to finally take down the Predators.
It’s unrealistic to win every game. 8-0-1 on the road is an unbelievable start.
Nashville looks to avenge their loss against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night, whereas the Ducks challenge the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night.
Also, Austin Watson is eligible on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. Arvidsson and Watson shall be dubbed the “Toothless Wonders” once their skates hit the ice for warmups on Thursday.
Cover Photo Credits: Trevor Hagan/AP/TT
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators.