The Nashville Predators tied up the series against the Winnipeg Jets at 1-1 as this second-round series now shifts to Winnipeg. The Preds got a key win as they did not want to be down 2-0 going to one of the toughest places to play in Winnipeg.
Nashville got off to a slow start
The Nashville Predators had a pretty bad first period. Even though Ryan Johansen opened up the scoring 27 seconds in... it was a bad period for Nashville.
When Johansen scored, it seemed like the Preds got the fast start that they were looking for after a terrible Game 1. The Preds dominated after the goal and it seemed like it would be a long night for the Jets. Winnipeg did end up responding to the Nashville pressure until around the 14-minute mark, but nothing would become of it.
13 minutes in though is when the penalties would begin as Winnipeg started it but they killed it off and Nashville only got one shot on goal. Then Nashville got a penalty a few minutes later, then Winnipeg got a penalty on their power play to make it a 4-on-4. That turned into a Nashville power play, but no one would do anything on any of their man advantages.
As Nashville was already on the power play, they got called for a penalty with very limited time left on their power play to cause a 4-on-4. Dustin Byfuglien would tie the game up on this 4-on-4 to make it 1-1. Mark Scheifele scored on the power play that came following the 4-on-4 ice time to make it 2-1. The goals were 29 seconds apart.
Nashville went into the locker room down by one and deservedly so. They were bailed out too many times by Vezina Trophy candidate Pekka Rinne, they took too many dumb penalties, and they played the period way too loose... and it cost them. They had to tighten up in the second and they knew that.
A strong second leads to a Preds' lead
Both teams came out flying as the Nashville Predators looked to answer the Winnipeg Jets' intensity. That level definitely started to rise as things started to get chippy. Nashville had a much better period but was still playing too loose. They seemed to have no regard for the Jets speed and no respect for it either. Thankfully though, it wouldn't cost them this time.
P.K. Subban tied the game at two on the power play with 14:56 left in the second period. Subban teed up a Filip Forsberg pass and blasted it past Connor Hellebuyck to tie it up and get the raucous Nashville crowd into it. Viktor Arvidsson also had a great jump screen to set up that goal and was one of the hardest working players of the night.
Then the period of the Nashville Predators would continue as Arvidsson would give Nashville their second lead of the night. A beautiful tip forward by Forsberg, Arvidsson would take the puck down the right and beat Hellebuyck with another slapper right over his shoulder.
Both goalies looked especially strong in the second and both goalies had one of a hell of a game especially Hellebuyck.
Near the end of the period, things started to get chippy as both teams went at it. Colton Sisson got a cross-checking penalty right as the horn expired and pushing and shoving ensued and it included Byfuglien manhandling two Predators players by the scruff of their jerseys.
Both teams headed to the locker room with the Nashville Predators hanging onto a 3-2 lead.
Another game goes to OT
Nashville got lucky to escape this period in my opinion. They came out flat-footed and played very loose again and Winnipeg took advantage of that.
Brandon Tanev got his second goal of the playoffs as Nashville turned the puck over again at the blue line and Winnipeg finally converted on their mistake. After this, Nashville began to counter but was still playing pretty sloppily. It was back and forth for awhile with the game tied at three until Ryan Johansen showed up again.
Johansen gets his second goal of the night for his first career multi-goal playoff game to give Nashville the 4-3 lead. He received an excellent breakout pass from Arvidsson, did an absolutely dirty shimmy by Tobias Enstrom, walked in on goal and put it top shelf were Hellebuyck had absolutely no chance to stop it.
Nashville would hold onto this lead until the 1:05 mark of the period when Scheifele would destroy a one-timer by Rinne to tie the game up as they had the extra attacker. With the game tied at four, they would head into OT which would be the seventh time during these playoffs.
Only one can prevail
The game ended up going into double overtime as Kevin Fiala would be Nashville's saving grace on a 2-on-1 with Craig Smith off a Winnipeg turnover in the neutral zone just 5:37 into OT. But, how we got there was pretty great.
During the first OT, there seemed to be no tiring in either team as they both flew up and down the ice. Connor Hellebuyck made three absolutely ridiculous saves, the best being when he stopped an Arvidsson redirection then had help from a diving Enstrom.
I felt bad for Hellebuyck when he lost because he played one of a heck of a game, matching Pekka Rinne save for save, and not showing any sign at all of giving up at any point in the game.
But Fiala's goal was just mean. Kyle Turris created a turnover deep in the Nashville zone that led to his break out pass to Smith allowing them to get the 2-on-1.
As they skated in, Smith passed the puck over the defenders stick to put it perfectly on to Fiala who then waited for Hellebuyck to move. He then redirected the puck to his backhand and put just enough power on it to hit it past Hellebuyck's outstretched glove.
Hellebuyck came within mere inches of stopping the puck, but it was not to be as Nashville heads to Winnipeg with the series now tied and has gained the momentum.
Nashville heads to Winnipeg on May 1st for Game 3 at 8 P.M. EST with the series now 1-1. Nashville will definitely be riding a high from Game 2, but Game 3 will all be about how Winnipeg responds and if Nashville can keep up the momentum on their side. It should be fun!
What did think of Game 2? Who do you think wins Game 3? Tell me in the comments below!