The Predators got some scoring form some unlikely names, as Gabriel Bourque and Eric Nystrom followed a goal by Roman Josi to make it 3-0 Predators at the end of two period. Mike Fisher added a power play goal in the third period.
After a Josi blast that beat Marc-Andre Fluery through traffic, Gabriel Bourque buried a shot from the slot after a Penguins turnover to give the Predators a 2-0 first period lead.
Taylor Beck forced a turnover in the Penguins zone and Eric Nystrom made a beautiful move to beat Fluery late in the second period to make it 3-0.
Mike Fisher added a power play goal in the third period to make it 4-0.
Carter Hutton had an outstanding game in net, making some great saves and picking up his first shutout of the season and his third win.
- The line of Gabriel Bourque, Matt Cullen, and Calle Jarnkrok have been playing well with lots of energy and creating some scoring chances. It was good to see that line rewarded with the goal by Bourque. Needless to say, if that line can get going, it bodes well for the Predators.
- Roman Josi continues his high level of play. He has a very good shot and has opened his game up offensively this season. He is solid defensively and is very creative and dangerous offensively. Ryan who?
- The Predators did a much better job on the forecheck and in the neutral zone of disrupting the Penguins passing lanes and creating turnovers which led to some very good scoring chances. When the Predators are skating and using their speed, they are very difficult team for opponents to play against.
- The Predators parade to the penalty box is troubling. They took three penalties in the second period and put the potent Penguins power play to work. Big ups to the PK unit that has done an excellent job since the All Star break in killing penalties, but this is playing with fire.
- What a sweet move for a goal by Eric Nystrom. Nystrom is a "glue" player that doesn't score much but is dependable in all situations and plays with high energy. Nice to see him get rewarded with a marker. Kudos to Taylor Beck for setting that goal up with a nice forecheck to create the turnover that led to the goal.
- Teams that go deep in the playoffs have to get contributions from their third and fourth lines. Good to see these two lines for the Predators starting to contribute. Now they must do so consistently.
- Filip Forsberg picked up two assists. We are used to seeing him on the score sheet, and two assists don't seem remarkable, but consider that Forsberg is now drawing the attention of the opponent's top defenders. I know one of those assists came on the power play, but it exemplified the vision and puck handling skills of this budding young superstar. High marks to Forsberg for continuing to produce against top flight competition.
- Carter Hutton looked more relaxed and made some very good saves, especially early in the game when the Penguins were getting a lot of traffic to the net. Good to see a solid outing from Hutton.
- Hutton got a lot of support from the skaters in front of him as the Predators blocked 18 Pens shots.
- The Predators held the Penguins to 5 third period shots and 21 for the game.
The team was very good in all phases of the game today.
They will need to continue to play this way in a very busy January.
My three stars:
1. Carter Hutton
2. Roman Josi
3. Filip Forsberg