The Nashville Predators defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in overtime. Roman Josi finished the game with three points, somehow contributing to every point Nashville scored.
Were it not for the power play, the Predators might’ve lost this game. Outplayed at five on five for the majority of the game, Nashville capitalized on two power plays and Ryan Ellis sniped the game-winner just as the last power play was expiring. Calle Jarnkrok scored Nashville’s first goal on a redirected shot, but the lead did not last long. The second period was the Lightning’s best chance to put the game away, and they nearly did just that by scoring two goals. Going off of the second period, at five on five, Tampa Bay produced eighteen total shot attempts to Nashville’s eight and created ten scoring chances.
The Predators reestablished control in the third period. Roman Josi led the charge, banging home his fifth goal of the year on a late power play. After sixty minutes of play, the Lightning took its second ‘too many men’ penalty, giving Nashville another brilliant chance. Just as Tampa Bay’s Mathieu Joseph exited the box, Ellis put the game to rest with a shot from the faceoff circle.
Roman Josi obviously stands out amongst all other Predator skaters, but all in all, he, along with Ryan Johansen and Calle Jarnkrok, did not play well at five on five. The three combined for a 38.67 CF%, 44.33 xGF%, 44.13 SCF%, and a 44.29 HDCF% at five on five, but those numbers dramatically improve with the power play statistics added. Josi dramatically changed the landscape of the game, capitalizing on the most important chance of the game, which is what good players do.
In a game where the power play was the focal point, the Predators’ bottom-six played slightly better at five on five than the top six. That being said, top-six play will improve once Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene come back. Although Forsberg and Duchene missed the game in Tampa Bay, both participated in Monday’s practice.
Ryan Ellis netted the game-winner, as he earned his 13th point of the year. Ellis and Josi lead the team in points, followed by Duchene, Johansen, and Viktor Arvidsson. Considering goal production has slowed down tremendously since Forsberg left the lineup, but lack of scoring is not an issue. Currently, Johansen, Jarnkrok, Josi, and Sissons own a point streak.
Juuse Saros allowed one five-on-five goal against the Lightning, marking his best performance of the year thus far. At five on five this year, he has faced ninety-three shots and turned eighty-one of them away, good for a .871 save percentage. Saros, whose current high danger save percentage is .762, will likely build from this win.
Mikael Granlund has not scored in six games and Craig Smith can’t find consistent scoring. Granlund has suffered from a missing Forsberg and Duchene, and Smith, like many of the bottom six, cannot confirm consistent linemates. Both players should pick up their play further down the road, but stagnant scoring from two players who need to produce doesn’t go unnoticed.
The Predators head home for the week to host the Chicago Blackhawks, the Calgary Flames, and the New York Rangers.