Updated: Apr 27
The Predators' outright explosion in the second period set them up to win the second game of their five-game road trip in Montreal, 4-2.
With his two goals tonight, Filip Forsberg fittingly tied Shea Weber's franchise goals record at 166- the first of which came while Weber was on the ice. The forward now has five points in the Preds' last four games.
Nonetheless, a four-goal second period still couldn't stop the Preds from almost blowing it in the third. A desperate Montreal offense boxed the Preds into their own zone for most of the final frame, recording 13 shots while allowing the Preds only four.
All praise to Juuse Saros, who likely prevented a total Habs comeback. At 181 minutes and seven seconds, Saros' shutout streak ended tonight, but will go in the books as the second-longest span in Predators' history. Up until Arturri Lehkonen finally put the Canadiens on the board in the third, it looked entirely possible that Saros was going to record his third consecutive shutout game.
Saros' dominance could not have arrived at a better time, either. With the Preds in a full-blown cagematch with a handful of other teams for a wild card spot, excellence in goaltending is a necessity.
Canadiens' rookie Lukas Vejdemo halved the Preds' lead with his first NHL goal in the third period. Thankfully, it turned out to be Montreal's final tally of the night. Vejdemo is the most recent of several players that this year's Preds have allowed to score their first goals of the season. For Vejdemo and St. Louis' Klim Kostin, the goals they scored this year against the Preds were their first in the NHL altogether. I'll be copying a link to a separate post with the full list here.
The Preds have now packed four points in a road trip that could ideally yield 10. Once again leapfrogging the Wild in the standings, the Preds are now tied with Winnipeg at 78 points for the Western Conference's top wild card spot. If Vancouver wins tonight, they'll join the Preds and Jets at the "magic" 78. And, of course, Minnesota is breathing down everyone's neck with 77 points. So yeah, a 10-point road trip would help.
The Preds are in Toronto on Thursday to play the Maple Leafs- who are in almost the exact same scenario as the Preds, just in the Eastern Conference. As if by design, the Preds will play one of their competitors- Columbus- on Saturday.