The Nashville Predators were unable to hold onto a two goal lead in the 3rd period against the San Jose Sharks, losing 5-4 despite leading for much of the game.
For more than two periods, the Predators’ top line of Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson, and Filip Forsberg dominated the game. But a late collapse and some poor special teams play led to a late win in regulation by the Sharks.
Electric Crowd, Electric Game
Bridgestone Arena was in prime form early and throughout the game. Something about the Sharks really brings out Smashville’s best.
But early on it looked like Nashville would have a hard time with Martin Jones. He turned away some nice chances in front to stonewall the Preds early.
Then San Jose capitalized on their first power play of the night. Timo Meier put home a rebound with P.K. Subban unable to corral the puck. That made it 1-0 Sharks 6:58 into the game.
The crowd became a bit restless.
But then Viktor Arvidsson tied it up with yet another highlight reel goal and the place went crazy. He sped down the right side of the ice, then deked Martin Jones onto his backhand and slid the puck home. It was a beauty.
In the 2nd period, Filip Forsberg put the Preds on top with a nice dirty goal in front. Forsberg is usually the one ripping wrist shots from the circles, but this time he camped out in front of Jones. He got a stick to the puck despite having Erik Karlsson all over him.
Tomas Hertl tied the game midway through the period with a really nice play on Juuse Saros. Much like Arvidsson, he waited for Saros to commit to the near side, then snuck the puck in on the far side.
Then Arvidsson answered with his 2nd goal of the night, though it was really a group effort from the top line that made the play. Arvidsson shot first on Jones, then Johansen had a chance. Then Forsberg collected the rebound and found Arvidsson on the back door, who buried the puck for a 3-2 lead.
A beautiful team effort from a very dangerous forward group.
Things took a turn for the worse in the final frame. With the Preds bearing down and looking to add more, all of a sudden the Sharks woke up.
First, Brendan Dillon scored shorthanded to make it 4-3 at 11:40. Then Joe Pavelski scored 36 seconds later to tie the game at four.
The crowd was a stunned and so were the Preds.
Because then, of course, the Sharks scored again while on the power play. Brent Burns gave the Sharks a 5-4 lead with 2:52 left in the game.
The Preds pulled Saros for the extra attacker, but couldn’t tie it late despite several chances.
Special teams were once again a weakness for the Preds. They went 0-for-4 on the power play and allowed two Sharks power play goals. They also allowed a shorthanded goal.
Preds Top Line Dominant Again, But Can’t Hold Lead
Viktor Arvidsson topped the score sheet for the Preds and the entire unit was dominant for most of the game.
That is, until the 3rd period, when they and the whole rest of the team watched as the Sharks came back to win.
It’s always frustrating to lose, but it is especially frustrating to lose when you feel like you played well. The Preds’ top line tallied a point on every Preds goal, but couldn’t put home the late tying goal when it mattered.
Juuse Saros played well enough in goal, but definitely allowed a couple goals that he probably wants back.
Ryan Johansen was visibly frustrated after the game when talking about the blown lead.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) October 24, 2018
He should be frustrated. It’s inexcusable to blow a two goal lead in the 3rd period at home. If you have that kind of lead at home, you need to come away with at least a point and probably the full two points.
The Nashville Predators will not let this one affect them for long. As Johansen said, they did a lot of things well. The top line really was incredible for most of the game. But the Preds will have to make quick analysis of this blown lead to figure out what went wrong before they head off to Newark on Thursday.
— Featured image via USA Today Sports —