MVP Sports Channel

Preds’ Scoresberg With Back To Back Hat Tricks

Hi there, Hockey Fans!

Welcome back to the zone as we check in on the Nashville Predators after their bye week. We are excited to see what the final leg of the season holds for our guys as they strive to grab a spot in the post-season, now only a few weeks away.

The Preds were back in action on Saturday night in St. Paul, Minnesota taking on the Wild, who lead the Central Division with a whopping 82 points. Coming off the break, Nashville started Pekka Rinne in goal. The Wild struck first about 2 ½ minutes in to take the early lead on a rebound power play goal. After that, the Preds seemed to settle in and took the game to its first intermission with a fight or two and a couple of key penalty kills, but no other score. In the 2nd period, the Predators played a solid period of hockey but allowed another goal. Then, less than a minute after the puck dropped in the 3rd, Minnesota took the puck straight down the ice and put back a ricochet shot on Rinne’s weak side and into the net to extend their lead to 3-0. The Predators made it onto the scoreboard when Colin Wilson got a rebound past the Wild’s goalie Devan Dubnyk (a former Predator himself) to make the score 3-1. Then with 9 ½ minutes left, P. K. Subban fired a rocket into the Minnesota net that was waved off by the official due to a call of goaltender interference. Coach Laviolette made a coach’s challenge, and the call was reviewed and reversed—a good goal for Nashville- a 3-2 game, and the Preds were back in it! But the Wild do not lead the division for no reason. With 3 minutes remaining, they put the insurance goal in, extending their lead to 4-2. Nashville emptied their net, as anticipated; Minnesota got possession and put in an empty net goal to seal the 5-2 victory. The Predators will need to shake this one off to get ready for a busy week on the ice.

24 hours later, the Preds were in Columbus to face the Blue Jackets, needing points badly to stay in playoff contention. This game signaled the first time back in Columbus for RyJo (Ryan Johansen) since being traded to Nashville for Seth Jones. With Juuse Saros in goal, our guys took an early lead on a shot by Defenseman Ryan Ellis; then Kevin Fiala (newly called back up from Milwaukee) picked up a turnover and added another about midway through the 2nd period giving the Preds a 2-0 lead. Almost immediately after, the Blue Jackets got on the board on a shot by Jones; then Callie Jarnkrok answered back. The Jackets followed with another goal to wrap up the scoring-filled 2nd period with Nashville leading 3-2….whew! The 3rd started off with Columbus getting on the board again to tie the game at 3 each. At about the 9- minute mark in the final period, Mattias Ekholm was able to notch the go-ahead goal on a beautiful pass by Filip Forsberg. Columbus emptied their net, but Saros kept the puck out to secure the 4-3 win for the Preds. The victoy snapped a 3-game road losing streak for Nashville and brought a sweep of the Blue Jackets for this season. This win put the Preds 2 points ahead of Calgary for the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

That Wild Card spot was in peril as the Predators hosted the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, beginning a 4-game home stand. Pekka Rinne got the start for the Preds. The scoring began right away as the Flames got on the board less than a minute after the puck dropped, on the very first shot of the game. Nashville answered with a goal by P. K. Subban which was called no good, but that ruling was overturned on a challenge by Coach Lavy. Calgary regained the lead on a rebound shot and then added another goal immediately to take a 3-1 lead to end the opening period. Early in the 2nd, they notched yet another goal to go ahead 4-1; this signaled time to give back-up goalie Jusse Saros a chance to defend the Predators’ net. Something sparked the guys in gold to get their scoring sticks going, as about halfway in, Filip Forsberg slipped one by the Flames goalie on a second effort shot to narrow Calgary’s lead to 4-2. A couple of minutes later, Ryan Ellis sent a rocket into the Calgary net, and then soon after, Roman Josi made a terrific pass to Forsberg who tapped it in, and BAM, the game was suddenly tied at 4 each! Then with only 32 seconds remaining in an amazing 2nd period, the Preds make good on a turned-over puck with another goal by Forsberg, and just like that…….a hat trick for Forsberg and a 5-4 lead for Nashville! Sadly, the 3rd period was not so kind to our guys, as Calgary tied the game about midway in. Good defense for the rest of regulation sent the game to overtime, and less than a minute into it, the Flames sneaked one by Saros to gain them the win and the additional point. It was a heck of a game for Nashville and for their fans who got to witness a brilliantly-played 2nd period.

The tight race for playoff contention continued on Thursday night in Smashville as the Preds hoped to finish a season sweep of the Colorado Avalanche. Rinne was back in goal for the Preds. Nashville got on the board first with a goal by “Arvy Hustle” Viktor Arvidson. Colorado scored a couple of times and took the lead 2-1, and then not long into the middle period, it became the Filip Forsberg show. “Scoresberg” scored 2 goals in the 2nd and the only goal in the 3rd (an empty netter) to achieve his second hat trick in as many games….this one being a “natural”…(one in which all 3 goals are uninterrupted by goals from either team.) This feat makes Forsberg the first player in franchise history to score hat tricks in back-to-back games. Nashville handed Colorado the 4-2 defeat and gained 2 very crucial points.

This week’s games were a 2-2 win/loss split; the Predators now have an overall record of 39-22-9 and a current points total of 67. There are exceedingly talented teams remaining ahead on Nashville’s schedule, and it is becoming increasingly important to rack up wins with 22 games left in the regular season. Be sure to stay tuned for all the action!

Go, Preds!

PredsDebra Murray is a weekly contributing writer for MVP Sports Channel (and die-hard fan of the Nashville Predators). 

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