by Jackson Walsh
It always sucks to lose at home, but it’s always rewarding to win a swing game on the road against a talented team. The Nashville Predators, who now sit at 8-2-0, 16 pts, experienced both this week falling to the San Jose Sharks 5-4 Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena then winning last night over the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in their first overtime game of the season. The loss put the Devils at 4-2-1, 9 points and in 5th place in the Metro Division.
Both games were a seesaw battle to say the least. In Tuesday night’s contest, the Predators took a 4-2 lead in the second period after Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson both scored their sixth goal of the season respectively, but were later met by an onslaught of Sharks goals in the third period, a shorthanded goal by Brendan Dillon, even strength goal by Joe Pavelski, and a power play goal by Brent Burns. This would crush the Preds spirit and lift the Sharks to an unlikely road win.
Fast forward to last night, it was an Eastern Conference opponent, you never know what to expect. The scrappy Devils, who only meet the Preds one more time on December 15 at Bridgestone, ripped 36 shots on goal against Saros and drew first blood only 2:58 into the opening period.
Damon Severson got the scoring started, finding a lane and firing past Saros to give the Devils a 1-0 lead. Then the pendulum begins swinging as unlikely goal scorer Yannick Weber finds the back of the net, his first of the season off the tip of Kinkaids glove and it was all tied at one.
The Devils took their turn again, as Nico Hischier capitalized on a feed from Taylor Hall in front on the man advantage, a beautiful play to give the Devils a 2-1 advantage. Preds now needed a tying goal. They needed to get the “RV” running. Viktor Arvidsson at the 13:02 mark of second period tied it up at two with a wrister past Kinkaid.
The Devils would not give the boys any piece of mind though, as Hischier found the back of the net again just 40 seconds later off another feed this time from Kyle Palmieri, it was 3-2 Devils.
The Preds needed to now turn to their (not so) secret weapon, activating Scoresberg mode. On the man advantage 13:40 into the final period, Filip blasted a one-timer through a seam stick side to even up the score at three.
Now that the Predators earned at least one point by pushing it to overtime, and have historically been bad in 3-on-3 play. But sure enough, yet another hero would arise. Kyle Turris shot off the lights at Prudential Center coming straight down the ice and blasting it home with 1:25 remaining in the overtime period, lifting the Preds to a 4-3 win and a refreshing two points.
Very back and forth last two contests, one win turned into a loss and one maybe loss turned into a win. But hey, that’s hockey for ya. Juuse had another great game between the pipes, stopping 33 of 36, and the offense did just enough.
Next up is Round 2 with Edmonton. Let’s give a good show at home this time.