The Predators and Blackhawks once again locked horns for over 60 minutes last night, with the Preds coming out on top in the shootout, 2-1.
With no scoring until the third period, the second game of the back-to-back was a true goalie chess match until Nick Cousins netted his first as a Predator. Seven games in, Cousins' goal marked the first time this season in which the Preds scored the first goal of the game. Last night was also the first time since the Preds' second game against Columbus that they did not allow a power play goal to be scored by the opposing team.
Shutting down the league's second-best power play unit (Chicago) was not an easy task, but the league's worst penalty kill unit (Nashville) doing it four times in one night had to be a significant confidence boost for the Preds. Though the Preds' PK stayed perfect last night, they were unable to convert on any of their own four power play chances. The two special teams may offset each other, but the successful penalty killing was a clear tone switch for the ailing Preds' unit.
Juuse Saros put together a great night in net, stopping 29 of 30 Blackhawks shots for a .967 save percentage. Chicago's Kevin Lankinen, despite finishing the game with a loss, arguably had an even better night; the rookie made 41 saves out of 42 regulation/overtime Preds' shots, getting bested only by Matt Duchene's shootout game winning goal.
Filip Forsberg failed to score again last night, but took a team-leading five shots and nearly scored after a nifty steal fresh out of the penalty box. Cousins, Viktor Arvidsson, Jarred Tinordi, and Mattias Ekholm each recorded four shots.
In their series with the Blackhawks, the Preds shut down their points leader, Patrick Kane, who failed to garner a single point and finished with a -2 on-ice rating over the pair of games.
The Preds will be back in action on Saturday in Tampa Bay, when they'll face the 2020 Stanley Cup Champions and the 2019 President's Trophy winners. The Preds are 4-0-2 against the Lightning over the previous three seasons, but now that they share a division and will play each other eight times this year, the tides may be apt to turn. The Lightning are 3-1-0 thus far, but will be missing juggernaut forward Nikita Kucherov for the entire season; Kucherov scored a goal and two assists in two games against the Preds in 2019-20.