Don’t look now, but the Nashville Predators have a much improved offense this year.
And they just might have one of the best offenses in the NHL.
In a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, the Predators flexed their offensive muscle in a multitude of ways on Tuesday night. Roman Josi had a pair of goals using his great offensive instincts. Kyle Turris whipped a solid wrist shot in transition play. Filip Forsberg finished off a great play by Matt Duchene. Dante Fabbro found an empty net.
The Predators have now scored 13 goals in the first three games this season, which is as good a stretch as they had all last season. And when you consider that big contributors like Craig Smith and Ryan Johansen have yet to find the scoresheet, the Preds offense really seems to be humming along nicely.
“I think we’re doing the right things offensively,” Peter Laviolette said after the Preds beat the Sharks on Tuesday night. “Just making sure that we take care of the puck as well, we can’t always create, but it’s certainly nice to see the goals that the guys are working hard to create.”
— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) October 9, 2019
Matt Duchene’s line continues to impress
Though they only contributed one goal on the scoresheet on Tuesday, Matt Duchene’s line is clearly the most potent line offensively for the Preds through three games.
Duchene himself has six assists, which leads the team. Filip Forsberg now has three goals, which also leads the team. And don’t forget Mikael Granlund, who has two points and looks much more like the 60+ point winger that they acquired from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season.
When talking of his line’s performance so far, Duchene brings up Forsberg as a real difference maker for the team.
“He’s such a dynamic player, he’s a great shooter,” Duchene said of Forsberg. “I knew his shot was good, but it was even better than I thought it was. He’s a guy that when he gets in those areas, it’s pretty automatic.”
Forsberg, who continues to climb the charts in the Predators all-time career leaders in goals (he’s currently 4th behind Martin Erat), appreciates the speed and skill that Duchene and Granlund bring to the team.
“We all think hockey the same, we kind of want to attack the game. Both those guys are great skaters, great with the puck low. Kind of what I’m doing too, I’m not as fast as those guys but I like to hold on to it. I think we all see the game the same way and I think that definitely helps.”
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) October 9, 2019
Even despite playing with another great center in Ryan Johansen for the last few seasons, Forsberg seems to enjoy playing with a guy who always sees where the puck is going and looks to make next level plays.
Roman Josi makes his case
One of the bigger storylines this summer was when (if?) Roman Josi would sign a contract extension with the Nashville Predators. While most of us thought that he would sign before the season started, the fact that he didn’t doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Especially if David Poile happened to be watching tonight’s game. (Spoiler: he was)
Josi put the Predators in front all by himself to start this game, scoring a goal off a nice pass by Colton Sissons early in the 1st, then getting a friendly bounce in front of Martin Jones in the 2nd period to make it 2-0.
It was Josi’s first two goals of the season, but it certainly won’t be his last. His offensive abilities are unmatched by most defensemen in the NHL and they are part of the reason he will likely command north of $9 million per year on his next contract.
Whether we see that this season or not remains to be seen. But after tonight’s performance, I’d be willing to bet the Nashville Predators and David Poile get a deal done soon.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —