On Monday and Tuesday, the Predators won back to back games in New York. The Predators won both because of great offensive play despite not having many shots. The first game was a bit odd in that the Rangers had more than double the Predators shot count and dominated multiple minutes at a time.
The Predators did not play great in the first game but they scored when they needed to. If it were not for a freak no goal that miraculously stopped on the goal line, the game could have been much different. The predators also had some defensive problems and individual mistakes.
Offensively, the Predators had a pretty solid game despite two of the goals coming in the final two minutes from an empty net. 4 of the Predators 5 goals came from defenders which proves the importance of defenders that can attack. Dante Fabbro had a pretty rough game but had a nice blocked shot at the end and picked up his play in the 3rd period.
Key stats from the game:
G Juuse Saros: 39 saves .951 save %
D Roman Josi: 2 Goals 1 Assist +/- 3 TOI: 25:18
D Ryan Ellis: 1 Goal 1 Assist +/- 3 TOI: 25:35
(Goals: Grimaldi, Ekholm, Josi (2), Ellis )
Faceoffs Won: 39
Faceoffs Won: 21
The back end of the back to back was a great offensive night. The Predators scored 8 goals and scored on 33.3% of their shots. This was an incredibly fun game to watch because of the great offensive play.
The goals by Calle Jarnkrok and Rocco Grimaldi were incredible top shelf goals and they were great individual plays. Additionally, the Predators scored 2 power play goals and looked good on the power play throughout the night. Craig Smith also got back on track with two goals which was great to see. Smith has been playing pretty well but he has not been able to get shots to fall.
8 goals is the most in a game for the Predators since November 18th, 2014 when the Predators scored 8 against the Maple Leafs. At the end of the first period, the score was just 1-0. After being scored on three times in the second period, the Predators began playing much better and started converting opportunities.
Key stats from the game:
F Craig Smith: 2 Goals 1 Assist 6 shots
F Calle Jarnkrok: 1 Goal 1 Assist 1 shot
F Ryan Johansen: 1 Goal 1 Assist 2 shots
F Rocco Grimaldi: 1 Goal +/- 1 1 Shot
D Roman Josi: 1 Goal 1 Assist +/- 3
(Goals: Smith (2), Josi, Johansen, Jarnkrok, Forsberg, Grimaldi, Bonino)
Blocked shots: 23 *season high
Blocked shots: 14
These games prove that the quality of shots can often be more important than the quantity. The Predators put up 13 goals in two games on just 48 shots.
The Predators have taken a lot of criticism in recent days and weeks and these games were a great way to get back on track. The offense looked fantastic in the second game and they scored some very nice individual and team goals.
Hopefully this streak will continue and the momentum will carry throughout the road trip.