The Nashville Predators were swiftly and decisively defeated last Sunday by the Carolina Hurricanes. The 6-3 loss concludes their long road trip, as the Predators will spend their next two games at home.
Nashville Key Stats
Carolina Key Stats
Carolina outscored the Predators in all three periods, as Pekka Rinne was clearly worn out from the road and the defense was not present. Sebastian Aho deflated any sort of energy Nashville had with an unassisted goal at 15:44. Saku Maenalanen added to the Hurricane lead at 18:35, and the Predators never recovered.
Thanks to the brilliant skating abilities of Roman Josi and a well placed Colton Sissons, Nashville cut the lead to one at 2:48 in the second period. The Hurricanes replied with three goals from Aho at 3:08, Lucas Wallmark at 8:35, and captain Justin Williams at 10:11. Williams and Aho grabbed their second-period goals on the man advantage, and that proved to be the difference between tying the game and losing the game.
Filip Forsberg pulled the Predators within reach of tying the game, with a tap in goal at 14:29 in the second period and once again at 13:22 in the third period. His second goal of the day was nothing short of spectacular; fending off a Carolina defenseman in front of the net, he slipped the puck between his legs and over Petr Mzarek’s blocker. It wasn’t enough as Aho buried the empty-netter at 16:59 in the third.
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The Predators may have ended their road trip on a sour note, but they took away eight points out of a possible twelve. Not bad for a team that went 0-8-2 on their previous road endeavors. Speaking of which, the Predators have only one regulation loss with Viktor Arvidsson… just sayin’.
Austin Watson hasn’t scored in sixteen games. While he has been phenomenal on the penalty kill, the Predators could really benefit were he to produce more.
The Predators’ power play went 0/5, which, putting it plainly, is not very good. Carolina was able to cash in two power play goals out of five attempts, and that turned out to be the difference between a tied game and another overtime for Nashville.
Rocco “Rocket Man” Grimaldi led the Predators in shots on goal with four. Ever since the return of Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg, the fourth lines’ contributions have been overlooked. Frederick Gaudreau has also become a regular starter, but the return of Kyle Turris and Miikka Salomaki may shake things up.
The Predators are still missing their second line center, a third pairing defenseman, and an important bottom forward. They played a solid six games on the road, and only five games stand between them and a much needed All-Star Break.
Arvidsson and Forsberg continue adding points to their season totals, and in all honesty, are well on their way to new personal season records. They’ve been the cornerstone of the offense, and once again, proved that point against Carolina.
The Predators are back to their old ways- first line and defensemen drives the scoring, with one or two goals from the other three forward lines. Now that they’re used to winning, time to see who will step up and share some scoring responsibilities.
Also, Colton Sissons would be a twenty-goal scorer if he were a regular top-six forward. I will stand by that statement.
-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 the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators