The Nashville Predators defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Friday but dropped the next game at Bridgestone 3-1 on Saturday against the Dallas Stars. Nashville still maintains a second place spot in the Central Division.
Nashville Key Stats
Florida Key Stats
Dallas Key Stats
What Happened (Dallas)
Calle Jarnkrok sniped the first goal of the game at 9:35 in the first period. Colton Sissons dropped the puck off to him, raced to the net, and a well-placed shot gave Nashville the 1-0 lead. Tyler Seguin came right back and slapped one through Pekka Rinne at 11:11, which deflated the building.
Filip Forsberg’s one-man penalty killing was the highlight of the game, but overall Dallas was able to capitalize on their opportunities. No scoring took place after the two first period goals until Blake Comeau slipped one past Rinne at 15:47 in the third period. Less than a minute later at 16:30, Mattias Janmark padded the lead after Rinne gave up a rebound in the slot.
Dallas and Nashville were announced as the Winter Classic participants in the 2019-2020 season, and both teams displayed their disdain for each other the entire game. Ryan Hartman lost his cool, Jamie Benn licked someone, and overall, after a horrendously officiated game, the Stars won 3-1.
What Happened (Florida)
After a rather uneventful first period, both teams started to play with a purpose. Nashville’s Nick Bonino and Craig Smith were creating chance after chance in the second period, but the Panthers struck first. At 15:15 on the power play, Jonathon Huberdeau sniped one through Juuse Saros’ newly christened golden pads to hand Florida the 1-0 lead. The Panthers maintained the lead until 5:31 in the third period.
Roman Josi sniped his ninth goal of the year to tie the game. Alone in the slot, he was given too much time and space, and the Panthers paid for it. Viktor Arvidsson slapped his 20th goal of the year at 7:44, a little over two minutes later. As the period went on, Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala started pressing more, and Fiala was rewarded. He landed his ninth of the year at 14:10.
After Arvidsson buried the empty net goal, Nashville had completed the comeback. Scoring four unanswered goals, the Predators proudly walked away with two points.
Some Stats For You
Viktor Arvidsson has 21 goals in 30 games. That’s what the experts call “really good.” He and Filip Forsberg have made a world of difference upon return, but Arvidsson has arguably been the biggest reason the team has won more consistently.
Filip Forsberg hasn’t netted a goal in seven games but has recorded six assists. Even when he’s not lighting lamps, he’s finding guys who are. Forsberg has been a streaky player by nature, and hopefully, he’ll heat up when it matters most.
Roman Josi has four points in the last five games and is on pace for 57 points on the season. The Captain ended a 16-game goal drought against the Colorado Avalanche and found the back of the net once again against Florida. He might be heating up again.
Ryan Hartman and Calle Jarnkrok each grabbed a point against Dallas. Both players need to contribute more offensively.
I would like to rebuke a statement I previously made about the power play−their power play is an advantage for the other team at this point. The last time Nashville converted on the power play was over a month ago. Shots to the net and traffic in front seem to yield results. However, perimeter passing won’t cut it in the postseason.
Austin Watson has been “suspended” without pay, although a more accurate term would be medical leave. From an on-ice perspective, this is a huge blow to the penalty kill. From an off-ice perspective, it doesn’t matter. Watson needs to recuperate, recover, and come back soon. All of Nashville believes he is stronger than his struggles.
Craig Smith is hungry for a goal, and he’s long overdue. He’s created scoring chances consistently, but can’t seem to cash in. Expect another hot streak from Smith coming soon.
To say the least, P.K. Subban’s new reality show is certainly interesting. Seeing as how he had more than enough free time on his hand (18 games worth), it’s nice to see a different side of a superstar athlete. However, he might need some work on the interview aspect of the show— he’s not quite David Letterman status yet (before someone gets offended, this is a joke).
Despite dropping the game to Dallas, the Predators still maintain an eight-point lead over the Stars, and only trail Winnipeg by four points. The Wild and the Avalanche are still battling for a Wild Card spot as it stands right now, but Nashville is all but a lock for at least four more games.
Nashville is back at home on February 4th, as they will host the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes shut out the Predators 3-0 in Bridgestone Arena back in November, but now Nashville has a more complete roster.
Also, per Brooks Bratten, Kyle Turris might make an appearance this week. That would vastly improve the second line.
-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