Phew! You want to talk about a dirty, gritty win for the Predators? Well, last night was certainly an example of a robbery in progress and there was nothing Barry Trotz and the Capitals could do but watch. Granted, the Predators started the game out on the right foot, but leave it to Alexander Ovechkin to come roaring in to help the Capitals take and hold the lead late into the third period. Ah, but those pesky Preds had other ideas up their sleeves.
SCRATCHES: Viktor Stalberg (who has a birthday today) and Pekka Rinne
- Braden Holtby didn’t waste a moment showing off how on fire he has been as of late, keeping the first period rather uneventful until at 16:16 when Seth Jones’ (3) wrister sent the young goaltender falling backwards and the puck floating in the net. Calle Jarnkrok (7) collected the lone assist on Jones’ game-starter.
- But before Jones got the ball rolling, the much anticipated video tribute to former head coach Barry Trotz was aired to a standing ovation. In fact, I couldn’t even hear what the video was saying because the cheers were so deafening. You can view the tribute here.
- SOG: NSH – 10, SOG: WSH – 8 at the end of the first period.
- James Neal collected his 14th of the season at 1:50 into the second period, giving Nashville an early 2-0 lead with a beautiful deflection from Mike Fisher, leaving the net wide open. Mike Fisher (9) and Victor Bartley (7) pick up the assists.
- But it was bound to happen: Ovi woke up. Ovechkin notched his 23rd goal of the season after sinking his signature in the top left corner of the net; Carter Hutton had no chance.
- Capitalizing on a powerplay chance, Ovechkin (24) would sink another past Hutton to tie the game, sending the Predators defense into an obvious panic.
- SOG: NSH – 8, SOG: WSH – 14 at the end of the second.
- Marcus Johansson would give Washington a lead of 3-2 at 2:38 into the third period on a powerplay opportunity.
- But thanks to a powerplay slapshot from Mattias Ekholm (4) at 15:31, the Predators found a much needed spark to push through the remainder of the period.
- At 18:20, James Neal (15) would sink one of the most beautiful goals I’ve ever seen, giving the Predators a 4-3 lead late in the third.
- Carter Hutton’s record now improves to 1-3-2 as he collects his first win of the season. A much deserved stat as well, since some folks seem to think Carter Hutton is a horrible, no good goaltender.
- Hand it to Seth Jones for clocking 23:01 minutes of ice time and collecting his third goal and tenth assist of the season.
- James Neal is now tied with Filip Forsberg for goal leader amongst the Predators at 15.
- Though the Islanders notched 30 wins before the Predators last night (due to being in the Eastern Time Zone), Nashville is still on a franchise march. The Predators are now 30-9-4 on the season in mid-January, a stat that took the team all the way until March last season to reach.
I’ll leave you with the post game presser of Barry Trotz’s take on his tribute video and a reminder that the Predators are at it again tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings are also coming in after playing last night, defeating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime. There are a lot of doubters amongst the league on if Nashville’s leadership is just a fluke, but that’s what tends to push the human spirit to persevere.