The Nashville Predators defeated the Dallas Stars by a score of 5-3 and the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 2-1. They followed that up with a loss to the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 5-0.
Roman Josi netted three goals in that span.
Nashville Key Stats
Against Los Angeles: Kyle Turris, Roman Josi
Against Colorado: N/A
Against Los Angeles: Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Ellis
Against Colorado: N/A
What Happened (Dallas)
The Predators mounted a comeback victory over the Dallas Stars on February 19th. Brian Boyle finished a check on Tyler Seguin behind Nashville’s net, then raced to the other end of the ice and finished the play with a goal at 10:50 in the first period. Rocco Grimaldi picked up his fifth goal of the year at 10:57 in the second period after Dallas tied it up, but the Stars eventually grabbed the lead.
Filip Forsberg refused to let the game go, as he forced the Predators back into a tie at 18:16 in the second period. Roman Josi scored the game-winning goal at 7:35 in the third period, then added icing on the cake at 19:29 to solidify the Predators’ victory.
What Happened (Los Angeles)
Kyle Turris and the power play seem to go hand in hand this year; he netted his fourth power-play goal at 8:50 in the first period. Roman Josi, who had notched two goals against Dallas, snagged another one at 0:46 in the second period- that was all Nashville needed to defeat the Kings.
What Happened (Colorado)
While the score isn’t entirely reflective of the effort or the will to win, Nashville was unquestionably outplayed and dominated from start to finish. This was the second shutout at home and third home shutout in two years for the Predators. Obviously, officiating was horrendous for both sides, but the bottom line is good teams can’t be shut out at home on this level of embarrassment.
Some Stats For You
Here’s how the forward lines have produced over the last three games (in essence, it’s not very good).
First Line: 1 goal, 2 assists; Second Line: 1 goal, 2 assists; Third Line: 1 goal, 1 assist; Fourth Line: 1 goal, 0 assists
Thankfully, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis have picked up the slack and led the team to two victories when Nashville needed them. With five assists in three games, it appears Ellis is starting to heat up. Josi, who is en Fuego, netted three goals and picked up two helpers, which propelled the team to victory.
Viktor Arvidsson hasn’t scored a goal in three games, which isn’t overly concerning, but this is the time where prolific goal scorers such as Arvidsson cannot lose their mojo. Additionally, Filip Forsberg has to pick up some weight as well.
P.K. Subban, Kevin Fiala, Mattias Ekholm, and Calle Jarnkrok did not record a single point against any of those teams. Ekholm has gone cold, Fiala and Jarnkrok never really heated up, and Subban came up empty handed despite some good looks on the power play.
Against Colorado, the Predators exhibited more efficient puck movement and shot frequency on the man-advantage but couldn’t cash in. Seeing how they went 0 for 5, the overall strategy needs another readjustment. Perhaps create traffic by moving big bodies like Brian Boyle and fearless skaters such as Arvidsson in front of the opposing goaltender.
The NHL Tradeline is upon the league once again, and Nashville is still missing one piece: another consistent scoring forward. Matt Duchene, the top name in the free agency market, was picked up by Columbus, and Mats Zuccarello was moved to Dallas. Mark Stone is an ideal candidate for the Predators, but the likelihood of grabbing him is slowly becoming impossible.
There has been no official word on Austin Watson or the possibility of his return. All things considered, Watson was a big piece to the lineup and the penalty kill is far less confident without him. Should he return before April, Ryan Hartman and Colton Sissons would both be bumped down to the fourth line. Nashville has not forgotten about the Toothless Wonder.
Viktor Arvidsson skated with Kyle Turris and Calle Jarnkrok on the second line against Los Angeles and Colorado in hopes of Arvidsson jumpstarting Turris’ cold stretch. The speed of the second line improved tremendously, and Turris finally got his first goal since returning. When Craig Smith returns, Arvidsson will have likely pushed Turris back to full speed.
Also, did anyone else see Filip Forsberg literally shoot the puck right into Arvidsson’s face? Point blank, right behind the goal, directly into Arvidsson’s face. Ouch.
-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