Last night's game was easily the best all-around game of the Predators' season so far.
Five different Preds on all four lines scored goals, and nine different tallied points. Filip Forsberg extended his point streak to six games. Pekka Rinne stopped 33 of 35 shots. Kyle Turris had a character-proving game with a goal and an assist each. A full, 60-minute effort was put forth, and the Preds came out on top with a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
Turris got things going early in the first period for the Preds, deflecting a Ryan Ellis shot from the blue line past Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Rocco Grimaldi notched the secondary assist on the goal. The rest of the first period belonged to the Golden Knights, at the expense of Preds fans who are still recovering from the trauma of Saturday's 7-4 loss to the Kings. Mark Stone scored his third power play goal of the season on a feed from Cody Glass that just went up and over Pekka Rinne's left shoulder. Reilly Smith capped off the period on a three-man-wide rush with Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson, when he picked up a bouncing puck and swatted it past Rinne. The goal gave the Knights a 2-1 lead going into the second period. Fortunately for the Preds, that was the last we heard from Vegas.
The tables turned all the way in the Preds' favor in the second frame. Less than a minute in, Colton Sissons slid one past Fleury's right pad after winning a puck battle with Nick Bonino on the back boards, tying the game at 2-2. A couple minutes later, Calle Jarnkrok sent a screaming one-timer past Fleury, collecting a centering pass from Viktor Arvidsson- who streaked down the side boards and beat Vegas' Jon Merrill in another impressive puck battle. Roman Josi was credited with the secondary assist. A little under two minutes later, Forsberg took advantage of a flubbed clearing pass from Fleury and scored, completely unassisted, into a wide open Vegas net.
The third period only yielded one goal, but it put the cherry on top of a dominating Preds win. Four minutes in, Bonino tipped in a Turris slapshot that clanked in off the crossbar, finishing the game's scoring at 5-2.
The bottom two lines really carried the game for the Preds. There have been concerns about the lack of contribution, offensively and defensively, from Nashville's third and fourth lines. They helped assuage those concerns last night. Bonino recorded a 70.8 percent Corsi-For Percentage, Craig Smith a 63.6 percent, and Turris a 60 percent. Ryan Ellis is continuing his strong play, recording 15 offensive zone starts and 11 defensive zone starts against the Golden Knights- the most on the team. No Nashville Predator had a negative on-ice rating at the by the end of the game.
The Preds continue their western road trip in Arizona on Thursday.