by Jackson Walsh
While not without fast-paced, high octane excitement only seen at Bridgestone, unfortunately, Saturday night ended with the Nashville Predators longest winning streak in franchise history, at 10 games, ending with a 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils.
It was a packed house for Hockey Fights Cancer month, a tear jerking beginning when little cancer survivor Kendall James came out for the ceremonial puck drop. Mattias Ekholm, only 1:17 into the contest, would get the party started with a goal to start things off. Preds 1-0.
From there, you gotta tip your cap to Kevin Kinkaid. He got a little help from the scrappy defense getting loose pucks, and a few ringers off the iron posts that could have been major scoring opportunites for Nashville. New Jersey got on the board 7:13 into the first off a redirected slap shot off the stick of Sami Vatanen. 1-1. Then 11:24 into the second period, the Devils scored on a controversial goal that appeared to be off a high stick. Nevertheless, Brian Boyle was given the good goal. Devils 2-1.
The Predators pressured Kinkaid looking for an opportunity all throughout the remainder of the contest, but couldn’t get a nibble until Ryan Johansen tipped in a hard slapshot from Roman Josi on a 6 on 5 opportunity when the Preds sent Juuse to the bench. 2-2.
The Predators would go on to control possession in the overtime period but a few wild saves from Kinkaid as well as shots going wide kept the Predators from netting the golden goal.
Juuse Saros played one heck of a game, but he still can’t quite go the distance in shootouts. Taylor Hall and Brian Boyle find the back of the net in the shootout, and Kyle Turris nets the only opportunity for the Preds in the shootout. Devils win 3-2.
The good news is that the Predators still extend their lead in the Central Division to seven points after the Winnipeg Jets lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in regulation. Speaking of the Jets, they are now up to bat at Bridgestone Arena Tuesday night. Game of the year, part two, potentially. Be ready.
AP Photo/ Mark Humphrey