Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Forsberg's Hat Trick Leads the Predators Over the Leafs 3-2

The Nashville Predators traveled to the Air Canada Centre to take on the Toronto Marlies Maple Leafs in the second of a back to back set and looking for an important 2 points.

The Predators got a natural hat trick from Filip Forsberg to a 3-0 lead at the end of 2 periods. The Predators would need every bit of the offense that Forsberg supplied as they held on for a 3-2 win.

Josh Leivo and Morgan Reilly scored in the third period to make the game very interesting.

The Predators had the look of a team that played the night before in the final frame as they were just hanging on, content to dump the puck out of the zone and unable to muster any offensive push.

Forsberg gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period with a power play marker. Forsberg's goal came on the Predators first shot of the game at 5:46 of the first period.

He would tally twice in the second period for the 3-0 lead going into the second intermission.

Josh Leivo would cost Carter Hutton the shut out with a power play goal 2:23 into the third period.

With James Reimer pulled, Morgan Reilly would cut the Predators lead to 1 and cause the pucker factor in Pred nation to increase exponentially.

The Predators would hold off the Leafs over the final minutes of the third to secure the 3-2 win.


Some observations:

  • Shea Weber was scratched tonight with a lower body injury which resulted in some changes in the D pairings. Ryan Ellis was paired with Roman Josi while Petter Granberg was paired with Mattias Ekholm. Barret Jackman returned to the line up and worked the third pairing with Tony Bitetto. Weber is listed as day to day.
  • Filip Forsberg is just a pure goal scorer, and not just with his quick release and variety of shots. Forsberg knows how to find the quiet areas of the ice and get open for quality shots. Forsberg is not afraid to battle in the hard areas, but his ability to find space in the slot is key to his scoring prowess. With the natural hat trick, Forsberg has 9 goals so far in the month of January.
  • Mattias Ekholm has quietly emerged as a solid blueliner. He is strong on the puck and in front of the net and is a very good possession player. His play has solidified the second D pairing along with Ryan Ellis and they have become a quality second D unit.
  • The Predators had their 4th goal of the night wiped off the board off a coaches challenge and it was deemed that Mike Fisher was just offside on a play where Ryan Ellis scored.
  • The Predators have won all 4 of their back to back contests this season.
  • The Predators blocked 24 shots, while the Leafs had 8 blocks.
  • The Predators were 1 for 2 on the power play. Hopefully this unit starts to build on this positive trend. The Predators PK killed 3 of 4 chances by the Leafs.
  • Hutton is 4-0-1 in his last 5 starts and has provided the quality starts that this team needs. Hutts has looked much more calm and composed in the net and the team in front of him is playing like they have confidence when he is between the pipes. 
  • The Predators are 5-1-3 in their last 9 games, capturing 13 of a possible 18 points. 
  • Roman Josi picked up 2 assists and logged 25:21 TOI.
  • The Predators have picked up points in 9 consecutive road games, a new team high.
This game was one that could have easily gotten away from the Predators, but  they hung tough and secured the vital 2 points. These are the games that this team has to win and they took care of business.

Now it gets tougher with games upcoming against the Blackhawks on the road and the Blues at home.

They have to keep taking care of business.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsberg

2. Carter Hutton

3. Roman Josi

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