Well… that was an interesting one. A game that the Nashville Predators had well in hand almost slipped through their fingers, but for a sweet play in overtime finished off by Colton Sissons to give Nashville a 4-3 victory over Vancouver. Giving up 2 goal leads late is not a recipe for success as the Vancouver Canucks took advantage of a horrible delay of game call to get the equalizer with :53 seconds left.
The Preds jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Ryan Hartman and Nick Bonino. Hartman’s goal was a beauty, using the Canucks defenseman as a screen, firing the puck between the defenseman’s legs and past a very surprised Anders Nilsson. Bonino took a sweet feed from Sissons three minutes later and hammered home a shot from the circle.
It looked like Nashville would be in cruise control save for a horrible turnover late in the first period that led to Jay Beagle’s first goal as a Canuck, shorthanded to halve the lead and serve notice that Vancouver wasn’t going to roll over, even as Nashville controlled the play for long stretches of time.
That trend continued in the second period, leading to Calle Jarnkrok’s tip of Kyle Turris’ shot to restore the 2 goal lead. Turris returned to the lineup after missing 8 games and was very, very good in his return. Nashville continued to control the play throughout the second period and deep into the third. It seemed the only question left was, when do we get the Frosty’s?
Ummmm… yeah… about that. Someone forgot to tell Vancouver that the game was basically over.
Roman Josi took a cross-checking penalty at 15:11 and :44 seconds later, Brock Boeser made the Predators pay, drawing the Canucks to within one and tilting the ice in Vancouver’s favor. :55 seconds later, Dan Hamhuis was called for delay of game, putting the puck over the glass. The noise of the puck hitting the glass before it went over was pretty clear, to everyone except the guys in stripes. At that point, you could almost feel what was going to happen. Despite a Mary Kay call a minute later, with the goaltender pulled, Vancouver tallied their third special teams goal of the night, tying the game to silencing the sold out Bridgestone Arena crowd.
Nashville dominated puck possession from the opening faceoff in the 3-on-3 overtime. 3 minutes in to the extra frame, Nashville took a reset, bringing the puck back to their own end to get fresh bodies on the ice. Mattias Ekholm found Nick Bonino at the blueline, Bonino found Sissons streaking down the middle and Sissons ended it with a nice play to beat Nilsson for the 4-3 win.
Pred Nation has to love how Nashville has simplified their game. Their forecheck is more aggressive and they have had a lot more detail to their game. The concern has to be on special teams. The power play is just OK and the penalty kill has not been stellar recently… all three Vancouver goals came on special teams, two of them short-handed.
The Predators last home game before Christmas is Saturday as New Jersey comes to call.
Last night’s highlights…
- Milwaukee Update –The Admirals got back on the winning track on Tuesday night with a win over Grand Rapids. They are back in action tonight hosting Texas for Eeli Tolvanen’s return to the Ad’s.
- Four different goal scorers last night for Nashville.
- A couple of native Nashville champs In the house last night as Mookie Betts and David Price attended the game.
- Congratulations to David Poile on his well-deserved induction into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. The ceremony of Wednesday night in Nashville was still being talked about yesterday in the media room before the game.
- An expansion question I am not hearing a lot of… Why is Vegas exempt from the expansion draft? I know it feels kinda right as we sit her in 2018… but… by the time the expansion draft happens in 2021, Vegas will have finished their 5th full season as an NHL franchise. This one has me thinking a bit.
- Interesting how the Pacific Division has improved their lot… if the playoff began now, the Pacific would have both wild cards.
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