For the second time this year, the Nashville Predators needed more than 60 minutes to put the New Jersey Devils away. The Predators tack on two more points thanks to Ryan Johansen and Juuse Saros, and move to 22-10-1 on the year.
Nashville Key Stats
New Jersey Key Stats
A lackluster first period ended with a Nashville lead. The fourth line, which had been the most effective line, struck first. Salomaki created a rebound on the rush, and Gaudreau buried the loose change. Shot totals were 9-8 in favor of Nashville at the end of one.
The Predators took three penalties in the second period, and luckily killed off all three. Juuse Saros bailed Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis on several instances. Roman Josi beat Keith Kinkaid on Nashville’s lone power play, but the call was overturned due to goaltender interference.
Nashville and New Jersey picked up the pace in the third period. Physicality was ever apparent as time went on, considering Austin Watson, Hamhuis, Ekholm, and Rocco Grimaldi started landing huge hits. The Devils finally broke through with less than two minutes left when Boyle picked up a loose rebound. Neither team was able to capitalize in overtime, and Johansen put the game away in the shootout.
Nashville’s penalty kill came through in the second period. On three relatively controversial calls, the Preds PK managed to turn away all three New Jersey power plays.
Juuse Saros rebounded from a couple of rough starts with an excellent showing against the Devils. He turned away 33 shots, prevented multiple high danger opportunities in the third period, and ultimately came up large in the shootout.
Roman Josi finally found the back of the net on the power play, but the goal was waved off. He still recorded 3 shots, landed 2 hits, and led the team in TOI with 26:25 minutes.
Johansen saw the most time on the ice for any forward with 21:26 minutes, registered 5 hits, and ended Nashville’s homestand with a clutch shootout goal. To say the least, he made his presence known against the Devils.
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Nashville’s fourth line drove the offense for most of the night. They recorded the most shots on goal with 7. The third line and first line had 5, and the second line had 3. Not to mention, Gaudreau’s goal held until the last two minutes of regulation.
The Predators will travel to Ottawa for their first game of a four game road series.
Also, Grimaldi nearly leveled a Devils skater into Nashville’s bench. I shall reiterate he might be Viktor Arvidsson 2.0.
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. Follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators