The Nashville Predators traveled to Ottawa for the final game of their 3-game road trip on Saturday Night.
The matchup began with the Preds getting the upper advantage. After a Jared Cowen interference call on Craig Smith, James Neal scored his 1st goal of the night at 9:49 during the first period.
The Senators stormed back in the second with two goals, Mark Stone (2) 15 seconds in and Mike Hoffman (2) at 12:47, to go up 2-1. Before the end of the second period, Craig Smith scored his 3rd of the season to tie the game at 2-2.
James Neal scored his second PPG of the game at 11:36 of the third, and it seemed as though the Preds would win in regulation, but Mike Hoffman (3) scored his second of the night to send the game into the first 3-on-3 OT for Nashville this season.
During the OT, no team scored so the matchup went to a shootout. In the shootout, Filip Forsberg and James Neal scored to give the Preds a 4-3 victory.
Tonight, the Preds will be back at Bridgestone Arena for their faceoff with the Tampa Bay Lightning (4-2-0).
In their last outing, the Lightning defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1.
Keys to Watch
The “Real” Deal
Was Saturday night the James Neal we can expect or an aberration? Neal was amazing against the Senators with 2 PPG’s and the shootout winner. It’s exciting to see that he has been able to find a scoring touch, but was it just for a night or can we expect consistency. The 1st 3 games of the season was not his best. He had 0 points, 8 shots, and averaged 20 shifts/game. In the last two, he has 4 points, 10 shots, and is averaging 26 shifts/game. The reason for him coming to Nashville was his scoring ability and consistency is needed.
The Stamkos Effect
Steven Stamkos is one of the best goal scorers on the planet. When he is hot, it’s hard to stop him. Stamkos has four goals in the first five games of the season. Placed on a line with Jonathon Drouin and Ryan Callahan, he creates many opportunities for himself and his teammates. He is currently tied for fifth in the NHL in goals, averages 18:28 TOI/game, and does well in the face off circle with a 55.6%. If he gets motivated, he’s hard to beat. The Preds have to keep continual pressure on him at all times.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will have Victor Hedman back in the lineup tonight. He was out against the Sabres due to a concussion that he received in the 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday. On Saturday, Pekka Rinne had the night off, but is expected to be in net tonight. Rinne is 4-0-0 against the Lightning in his career, posting a career .914 SV %. Ryan Ellis seems to be out of the lineup tonight due to a lower-body injury.
The Preds will be welcomed back tonight by the fans at Bridgestone Arena. The Preds are currently undefeated in Nashville this season and look to continue that trend. With a 7 pm puck drop, make sure you catch all of the action, whether it’s at the arena, on Fox Sports-Tennessee, or listening live on 102.5 The Game.