Saturday, October 24, 2015

Predators Fall to the Penguins In OT 2-1

The Nashville Predators faced the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bridgestone Arena before heading out on a two week road trip. The Predators had not lost at home this season.

That changed as the Penguins claimed a 2-1 OT win. Phil Kessel notched the game winner just 41 seconds into the extra period as he got the rebound of his own shot and knocked it past Pekka Riine for the game winner.

The winning goal was not without controversy as Evgeni Malkin hooked down Filip Forsberg  at center ice to set up the 2 on 1 that lead to Kessel's game winning shot.

The teams got to overtime on a Chris Kunitz second period goal to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.

James Neal knotted the score at 1 with his 6th goal of the season to tie the game at 11:27 of the third period.

Both Pekka Rinne and Marc-Andre Fluery were solid in net for their teams. Fluery was the busier of the two goalies, turning aside 38 of 39 shots for the win. Rinne made 23 saves on 25 shots.

Some observations:

  • Trailing 1-0 going into the third period, the Predators turned up the intensity to force overtime. The Predators out shot the Penguins 17-5 in the final frame.
  • James Neal continues his torrid pace of play, tallying his 6th goal of the season and recording points in six straight games (6G-3A). How sweet it must have been to record that game tying goal against his former team. Neal is playing with serious jump and playing at the level that most expected and wanted when he was acquired two years ago.
  • The Predators still have not allowed a first period goal this season.
  • Mike Ribeiro picked up an assist and now has a 4 game point streak (1G-4A).
  • The third line of Cody Hodgson, Gabriel Bourque, and Viktor Arvidsson did not record a point. Arvidsson was recalled from Milwaukee and Calle Jarnkrok was scratched tonight due to illness. That line has one point on the season (a goal by Arvidsson in the first game of the season) and the Predators need that line to get going. The third line has generated a few chances but has not consistently pressured the net and in a long season, this line is going to have to get going and make some offensive contributions.
  • Barret Jackman had  a strong game. He picked up an assist, was a +1, and was a force in the defensive zone. Jackman has been a good add for the Predators and has logged some quality minutes. He had 18:51 in ice time and was strong in the defensive zone.
  • This was the first time this season that the Predators have surrendered the first goal of the game.
  • Roman Josi led the Predators in TOI with 22:46.
  • The Predators have now lost 4 straight games against the Penguins on home ice. Last season, the teams split their two games, with the Penguins winning in Nashville and the Predators winning in Pittsburgh.
  • The Predators PK was perfect tonight, including killing off a 5 minute boarding major against Austin Watson in the first period. On the major, the Predators allowed the Penguins just 2 shots on goal.
The Predators played an even game against the talented Penguins, but could not finish their chances and suffered the first loss on home ice. They did pick up a point and remain atop the Central Division.

They now go on a two week road trip while Bridgestone Arena is committed to the CMA festivities. It's time to regain the mojo that they have gained in the first two weeks of the season and continue to build on their solid play.

My three stars:

1. Marc-Andre Fluery

2. Phil Kessel

3. James Neal

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