by Jackson Walsh
The long West Coast slog was not the most ideal for the Nashville Predators, going 2-2-1 with consecutive losses to Anaheim (with a point gained in a shootout), San Jose and Arizona giving them their first skid of the year amidst starting out hot and ready.
Thankfully the team got back on track last night back at home behind a valiant third period effort against the lowly Los Angeles Kings after trailing 3-2 to claim a 5-3 victory. The undeniable player of the game: Calle Jarnkrok, who achieved his first-career hat trick in impressive style. Not only was it three goals, but one was shorthanded, one was a power play goal, and the other at even strength. The Preds were able to depend on him in all situations on the ice Saturday leading to the win.
It’s good to see that the depth in the team is really starting to show missing a speedster like Viktor Arvidsson and the playmaking ability of P.K. Subban but still being able to get opportunities and just the nitty, gritty play to set up opportunities and shots to continue to score big.
There were some solid scoring chances that could have led to us blowing out the Kings if they found some more space behind rookie goaltender Cal Peterson, but I gotta hand it to the kid, he played a good game for what it was, stopping 38 of 42. Pekka did as well with 25 of 28, so an eight-goal game turned out to be statistically a solid one between the pipes.
The only minor disappointment was the play of Kevin Fiala, especially that turnover on the half wall leading to Kopitar’s cheap goal that put the Kings in front 2-1. Fiala is definitely not what we would have liked to see so far this year and has to get more reliable on offense. You can’t go by goals alone, it’s also those tactical errors that can cost you. Though not always an accurate measure of success, a -7 plus/minus for a winger is telling.
The Preds still stand pretty well, 14-5-1 (29 points) heading into a homestand that will be briefly interrupted by a Black Friday meeting with the Blues at Scottrade Center. It will feature the Lightning, Blues, Ducks, Avs, and Coyotes.