Here is me, eating my words.
The Predators won an absolute mind-melter in Washington tonight, taking down the first place Capitals, 5-4. The Preds' win marks the eighth straight game they've beaten the Capitals, dating back to Mar. 18, 2016. Averaging over five goals per game against the Caps in that span, the Preds fulfilled the prophecy yet again tonight.
However, allow me to paint a more vivid, step-by-step picture of how tonight's game played out:
1. Richard Panik scores first, 1-0 Capitals.
2. Jarred Tinordi (yes, that Jarred Tinordi) scores his first NHL goal in 61 career games exactly 47 seconds after Panik's goal, 1-1 tie.
3. Mikael Granlund scores on the power play (!), 2-1 Preds.
4. Rocco Grimaldi doubles the lead on a slick little backhander, 3-1 Preds.
5. Juuse Saros effectively handed Alex Ovechkin the goal that helped him pass Steve Yzerman on the all-time NHL goal list, 3-2 Preds.
6. Nick Bonino fully blows the lead and tarnishes the team's remaining dignity by literally, without even a shove by a Capital, scoring through Saros' five-hole (the goal was eventually credited to Panik), 3-3 tie.
7. Tom Wilson gives the Caps the lead on the power play, 4-3.
8. Ryan Johansen- if you can believe it- roofs a shorthanded wrister over Braden Holtby, 4-4 tie.
9. The cherry on top? Yannick Middle Name Weber scores the game-winning goal- his first of the season- off of Washington's Michal Kempny, 5-4 Preds.
Of all the times the Capitals probably should have beat the Preds but failed to do so, tonight's game takes the cake. The Caps are comfortably leading the entire NHL right now and have a 35-goal scorer (and future Hall-of-Famer) in Ovechkin quarterbacking their offense. Defenseman John Carlson is a top Norris Trophy contender with 60 points on the season thus far. Ovechkin managed two points against the Preds, but Carlson was held pointless all game and finished with a -2 rating.
The goaltending was pretty poor all-around tonight, but it just turned out that Saros (29 saves on 33 shots, .879 save percentage) sucked slightly less than Holtby (19 saves on 24 shots, .792 save percentage). All things considered, the weak goaltending did make for a pretty exciting- if not dramatic- offensive game.
One of the most significant reasons the Preds eked out a win tonight was their production of high-danger scoring chances. As opposed to Monday's game against Toronto, the Preds racked up more high-danger chances-for than their opponent tonight, accounting for 15 HDCF while allowing Washington just 10 HDCF of their own.
It pays to show up, and the Preds found that out tonight. Beating the NHL's best team isn't any small feat, but now the Preds are going to have to prove they can keep the momentum. They play the league's third-worst team, New Jersey, in Newark tomorrow evening. If the Preds can beat the Caps in their own barn, then logically they can handle the Devils... right?
Hopefully, but let's keep those expectations low, people.