After struggling to generate offense much of the season, the Predators have suddenly found their offense.
After destroying the Anaheim Ducks the night before, the Predators erupted for 3 goals in the second period of their game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on the way to a 3-0 victory.
The story of this game was Carter Hutton, who picked up his first NHL shut out with this win.
A scoreless first period saw the Sharks control the attack and put 9 shots on Carter Hutton. Hutton was solid and made some good saves to keep the Sharks off the board.
The Predators got just 5 shots on Antii Niemi.
The teams reversed roles in the second period as the Predators took the puck to the net and peppered Niemi with pucks. Patric Hornqvist scored twice and Roman Josi tallied on a beautiful rush to the net to give the Predators the lead.
The Predators out shot the Sharks 12-7 in the second period.
The Sharks were going to push back in the third period and Hutton made some good saves to protect the Predators lead. The Sharks outshot the Predators through the first six minutes of the third period by a 9-1 margin.
It would get worse for the Predators as they were back on their heels and their ability to pass the puck abandoned them. Their play in the third period was as atrocious as it was good in the second period.
Hutton was called upon to make some outstanding stops and keep the Sharks off the board, and he got some help as the Sharks hit the post twice in the first 10 minutes.
The Predators held on behind the play of Hutton and stymied the Sharks for the remainder of the period to capture the win as well as the season series with the Sharks.
- The Predators welcomed Seth Jones and Paul Gaustad back to the line up. Gaustad missed the previous 7 games while Jones had missed the last 5.
- Patric Hornqvist scored his first goal doing what he does, fighting for the puck in the hard areas in front of the net. His second goal was a wicked wrist shot from the slot that blew past Niemi. Hornqvist's two goal give him 20 for the season.
- The Predators now have four 20 goal scorers this season: Hornqvist; Shea Weber; Mike Fisher; and Craig Smith.
- Roman Josi's goal was a thing of beauty. he used his speed to blow past a Sharks defender and put the puck on Niemi. The Puck bounced off Niemi but was kicked in by a Sharks player coming back to help. Regardless, Josi showed some great speed and puck handling ability to tally his 12th goal of the season.
- Hutton was outstanding, especially in the third period where he was under siege. He stopped all 19 shots in the third period and 35 for the game to pick up his first NHL shutout. Hutton is now 15-5-2 in 2014.
- The Predators showed some fatigue as this was the second game of a back to back, but they were entirely too sloppy in the third period. They had trouble getting the puck out of the zone and could not connect on their passes, and this allowed the Sharks to control play for the entire period. This speaks to the kind of effort from Hutton tonight, because the Sharks threw everything they had at him in the third.
- The Predators swept the season series with the Sharks 3-0.
- The Predators are now 35-32-11 for the season.
Like I said, who are these guys?
Whomever they are, I like them.
My three stars:
1. Carter Hutton
2. Patric Hornqvist
3. Roman Josi