Nashville Routs Toronto in Forsberg’s Return

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The Nashville Predators dominated the Toronto Maple Leafs from beginning to end 4-0. Nashville moves to 26-15-3 with 55 points, good enough to reclaim first place in the Central Division, and sixth in the league.

Nashville Key Stats

Goals

Mattias Ekholm, P.K. Subban, Colton Sissons, Kevin Fiala

Assists

Craig Smith, Kevin Fiala, Matt Irwin, Nick Bonino, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons, Mattias Ekholm

Toronto Key Stats

Power Play Attempts

0/3

Penalty Kill Attempts

1/2

What Happened

Nashville and Toronto were scoreless at the end of one, despite a number of good shots and multiple scoring chances from both clubs. Mattias Ekholm solved Michael Hutchinson on the power play at 4:08 in the second period. Toronto’s Austin Matthews responded almost immediately, but the goal was called back due to an offsides call.

P.K. Subban blasted his fourth goal of the year off the draw at 13:11. The rest of the second period was much like the first period, with plenty of solid defense from Nashville. In the third period, as time began to run out for the Leafs, Colton Sissons put a dagger in Toronto. Staying with a rebound, he backhanded his eight goal of the year past Hutchinson at 17:23. Kevin Fiala added salt to the wound at 19:22 with his eighth of the year.

Pekka Rinne was perfect for the third time this year. Nashville’s penalty kill has been perfect for five straight games, and with the return of Forsberg, the Predators are setting themselves up for a very successful January.

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Looking Forward

Mattias Ekholm picked up another two points against Toronto. Sitting at 30 points, he is tied with Roman Josi, and is set to have his best offensive year yet. He only needs four more points to tie his point totals from last year.

Kevin Fiala has recorded eight points in the last six games. Despite his playing time dropping nearly five minutes over the last three games, Fiala is finding ways to dish the puck to his teammates. He was rewarded for his selflessness with a goal in the final minute of regulation.

Filip Forsberg made his return to the lineup after missing 17 games. Starting on the fourth line, he registered three shots, two hits, one block, and one takeaway in 13:54 minutes on the ice. He dabbled on the first line as the game went on.

Nashville’s second power play unit saw more playing time than the first unit. Colton Sissons, Calle Jarnkrok, and Nick Bonino all saw over two minutes of PK minutes, which is a good sign.

No forward saw over 17 minutes of ice time and no defenseman saw over 25 minutes either. The lines are balancing each other out now that both Sissons and Forsberg are back, and the third defensive pair is contributing enough to allow the top four some much-needed rest.

Miikka Salomaki joined Kyle Turris and Yannick Weber on the IR prior to the start of the game. Salomaki missed the Predators’ 4-1 win over Montreal.

Also, although Arvidsson and Grimaldi’s point streaks ended, both players were absolute menaces on the ice.

-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for PenaltyBoxRadio.com and FullPressCoverage.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators

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