The Predators- yes, the Nashville Predators- converted two of their three power play chances en route to a 3-2 comeback win over the Senators.
Not since the disastrous Feb. 10 game in Vancouver have the Preds scored a power play goal. Yes, you read that right. Somehow, that skid didn't put them at the bottom of the NHL; the Preds are now ranked 24th in PP% with a 16.7 percent conversion rate. The Preds' penalty kill is actually at the bottom of the league, but they were able to kill off both of Ottawa's man-advantages last night.
Of the Preds' 13 wins so far in 2020, just three of them have been decided by more than a single goal. Last night marks the Preds' fourth-straight win that's come by way of a one-goal advantage. Winning is never a bad thing, but soundly winning games over teams that, in theory, should have little chance against you is a mark of a team that is capable of domination.
Ottawa got out in front first with a goal from Thomas Chabot, but Colin Blackwell responded with a big goal (and even bigger celly) exactly 20 seconds later. With his goal last night, Blackwell is now on a three-game point streak with six shots a +3 rating in that time.
Talk about getting a monkey off one's back. Last night, Viktor Arvidsson scored his first goal- the game-winner- since the Preds' Feb. 15 game against St. Louis. The speedy, gritty forward is in the midst of a serious down-year, notching just his 24th point of the season with his goal last night. Arvidsson has been an easy target for criticism as one of the Preds' many struggles this year. When Arvidsson's linemates are simply a revolving door of gold, however, it's hard to expect a consistent level of production- especially from a guy who likely hasn't fully recovered from his Robert Bortuzzo-induced injury in November.
One guy we haven't heard from in a while? Roman Josi.
Josi is now without a point since that aforementioned St. Louis game, and has recorded a -3 rating in that time. The captain has been noticeably off his game lately- mishandling point passes, adding up giveaways, and letting offenses cave in around him.
Ryan Ellis scored his first goal since coming back from injury last night, also picking up an assist on Arvidsson's goal. Ellis was the only player on either side of the ice to record a multi-point night.
Juuse Saros had himself another very solid night of goaltending; he stopped 33 of Ottawa's 35 shots for a .943 save percentage. In his 2020 starts, Saros is maintaining an 8-3-1 record and a .926 save percentage- a clear improvement from his stats in the 2019 half of this season: a 5-7-3 record and .899 save percentage. With Pekka Rinne out due to illness, if Saros had needed to be subbed out last night, 22-year old Connor Ingram was waiting in the wings. Ingram is having a monster season in Milwaukee; he ranks third in the AHL in goals-against average (1.98), second in save percentage (.931), and sixth-fewest goals against this season (57).
The Preds are now 5-1-1 in their past seven games. With Arizona's loss and Winnipeg's overtime loss last night, the Preds have tied the two clubs at 70 points and the cusp of a Wild Card position. Thursday's game against Calgary will be a reckoning, however; the Preds haven't beat the Flames at home since Mar. 23, 2017. Calgary is just two points ahead of the Preds in the Western Conference standings, remaining in a neck-breaking race with Edmonton, Vegas, and Vancouver for the Pacific Division title.