The Nashville Predators have pulled out a variety of road wins in their impressive 8-0-0 start to the away half of their schedule this year.

They had two “nailbiters” in New York to start the season, winning by the narrowest of margins over the Islanders and Rangers. Following that, a two game sweep in Alberta, dominating the Oilers and Flames in late October. Then there was the statement win in Tampa, pummeling the Lightning 4-1, followed by another statement win in Colorado, beating the Avs by the same score.

Then on Saturday, the Predators added a “come from behind” win in Dallas, beating the Stars 5-4 in dramatic fashion. The Preds had to come back from two deficits in the 3rd period, moving on to win in overtime on a goal by Mattias Ekholm.

Versatile Attack Fuels Comeback

While much of the Preds’ offense this year has relied on the excellence of the top line, that wasn’t the case today. A total of 11 different Predators skaters recorded a point in this crazy back-and-forth game.

Down 1-0 after the first period, Ryan Hartman got the Preds on the board first, scoring just 12 seconds into the 2nd period. He stole a pass in neutral ice, took a wide berth on goalie Ben Bishop, then ripped home the game tying goal.

The Stars offense took back the lead later in the 2nd period. Tyler Seguin finished off a beautiful pass by Julius Honka to make it 2-1 Stars, then Jason Spezza scored to make it 3-1 on the power play.

But the third period was kind to the Predators.

First, Ryan Johansen scored just 20 seconds into the period to pull the Preds within one. A nice quick strike, just what the doctor ordered. Then, just 1:37 later, Yannick Weber wristed home a goal to tie the game 3-3.

Momentum shift complete.

However, the Stars scored midway through the 3rd to take the lead back at 4-3. Dennis Gurianov deflected home a shot from the blueline that Juuse Saros had no chance to stop. It looked like the comeback might fall short.

With Saros pulled and the extra skater on the ice, Roman Josi scored the game-tying, power play goal with just 43 seconds left. It was a brilliant play by Ryan Johansen to get Josi the puck, and a picture perfect finish by the Preds captain.

With the first point secure, the Preds played fast and loose in overtime. After Saros made a nice stop to keep the game going, Mattias Ekholm found himself wide open with the puck in the Dallas zone.

He didn’t miss.

Proven Road Warriors

The Preds are the best team in the NHL when it comes to road wins. Saturday marked their eighth win in eight tries this year, though admittedly it looked grim for a while.

This success on the road tells us a few things about the makeup of this Preds team. First, that they don’t only rely on the adrenaline they get from playing at home. The Preds love playing at home, but they don’t need the rush of the home fans to get the job done.

Second, it tells us that Peter Laviolette is the perfect in-game coach for this team right now. Finding the right combinations to match against the opposing teams’ top units is something many coaches struggle with on the road. The road team is usually at a disadvantage, but Laviolette has found a way to get the right guys on the ice at the right time.

Finally, it tells us that this team can adapt to almost any situation and find success. The Preds roster is full of players with multiple skill sets and strengths. They have very few one-dimensional players. This makes them a very dangerous team to matchup against for most teams, even at home.

The Nashville Predators are a long way to finding real success this season. We are only just now in November and the season is not even 20% complete. But if they can repeat today’s performance and prove their versatility throughout the season, more success is sure to come.

— Featured image via Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports —

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