The Nashville Predators finished up a homestand on Thursday night as the New Jersey Devils made their way to Nashville. The Preds were able to keep a substantial lead of 3-1 through the first half of the game on Thursday with goals from Craig Smith and Mike Ribeiro, both power-play goals, and an early second period goal from Paul Gaustad. At some point, the Preds seemed to relax and allowed for the Devils to get back in the game. Newly acquired, Devante Smith-Pelly (7) pulled the game to within one goal at 7:23 of the second period.
The third period gave New Jersey the opportunity to tie the game on a power-play goal by Travis Zajak at 9:13. The Predators were able to take the lead back at 17:56 with a Filip Forsberg goal and seemed as though Nashville would cruise to the 4-3 victory. New Jersey pulled Keith Kincaid to give the Devils an extra attacker. At 19:20, Adam Henrique put back a rebound to send the game to overtime.
In the overtime, Pekka Rinne was called for a delay of game penalty. It would take the Devils only 12 seconds to take advantage and give New Jersey the 5-4 win.
Keys to Watch
This afternoon, the Preds and Avs will meet at Pepsi Center in Colorado. Both teams are pushing to get the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Nashville currently has the advantage over the Avs with a six point lead in the standings, with the Predators playing one less game. Both offenses are similar with 178 goals on the season for Colorado and 176 goals for Nashville. As usual, Nashville has the advantage on defense only giving up 166 goals versus Colorado’s 189 goals this season. Expect this game to have the feel of a playoff atmosphere due to the stakes of this Central Division clash.
All Streaks Must End
Inevitably, a winning streak must end. Nashville was in the midst of one of their best streaks this season. The Predators are still on a streak of getting a point in a franchise record of 11 straight games and are playing great hockey. The Nashville Predators are not going to win every game. No team in professional sports will go undefeated. The Preds lost a heart-breaker on Thursday night. They must reset, refocus and win this game in Colorado. From my observation via social media, we need to just breathe.
The Nashville Predators penalty kill was pathetic on Thursday night. Yes, it was one of the worst performances of the season for the Nashville special teams and cost them the game giving up three goals while on the penalty kill. Pekka Rinne was giving up too many rebounds. The Preds cannot allow the Colorado Avalanche the opportunities they gave New Jersey on Thursday. The Predators will be facing a much tougher offense with talented and physical forwards. The special teams, this afternoon, needs to play much better.
The Preds will look to extend their wild card lead this afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 2:00 pm!