It looked like it would be another long night for the Predators when Peter Holland slipped a badly angled shot into the top shelf at the five minute mark of the first. The confidence from the past two games quickly faded and jitters of the grueling road trip returned.
But the Preds, who had only one regulation win when conceding the first goal, burst out of the gates in the second period, starting with a Seth Jones point shot that beat Bernier – a goaltending nemesis of our team. Nashville went on to dominate the game, tallying the next three goals and leading for the rest of the game – although a late goal by the Leafs did cause a slight scare.
It's the third consecutive win for Nashville and Mazanec, as the Preds improve to just slightly above .500.
Mazanec can hardly be blamed for the second goal. A humorous tweet by defenseman Victor Bartley took full responsibility for the random, last minute redirection of the Nazem Kadri goal. The point shot had very little power behind it but it snuck passed Mazanec after leaving Barley's hip en route to the net. Bartley tweeted after the game:
— Victor Bartley (@VicBartley8) November 22, 2013
Even with that goal, Mazanec made 24 saves on 26 shots for a good .923 sv%. It was strange, it looked a bit fluky on a couple easy shots but then made some great saves as well (a pair of back to back, alternating kick saves in the late second come to mind).
A powerplay that went 2/4 is a pretty good result. The powerplay has definitely been a contributor in the win streak. The Preds have scored 5 powerplay goals in the last 3 games after getting a big 0 during the four game loss streak. It might have been something that Barry spent extra time on over the last few days. The point shot has had quite some success, and Jones proved that tonight. But they are also working hard down low.
Great Production out of the Smith/Cullen/Spaling line. They were great against Chicago and good again tonight – especially given their minutes. Sneaking in just under 14 minutes tonight (except Cullen who had slightly more) the line was on for the two even strength goals. Not sure if they will earn more ice time or not – but they are definitely applying for it. It will also solidify Spaling in the roster though.
It was funny the other night, In the Blackhawks game where we scored 7, there were 12 different players with points. Tonight we had 4 goals and only 6 players getting them. Sometimes the games are won by everyone chipping in, or other times it is won by a single line playing especially well. Just a quirk of this team I suppose.
The Preds were Hilarious trying to score on the empty net. It was an absolute nightmare with Legwand, Hornqvist, Fisher and Gaustad all having easy chances and missing, hitting the side netting or finding traffic. I hope someone uploads the sequence and pairs it with the Benny Hill theme.
1 – 0 Toronto, Holland from Kulemin and Rielly at 5:48 in the 1st
1-1 Nashville Jones on the Powerplay from Cullen and Wilson at 2:01 in the 2nd
2-1 Nashville Cullen from Bourque and Smith at 11:41 in the 2nd
3-1 Nashville, Smith on the Powerplay from Wilson and Cullen at 16:25 in the 2nd
4-1 Nashville Smith from Cullen and Spaling at 4:32 in the 3rd
4-2 Nashville Kadri from Raymond and Rielly at 15:28 in the 3rd
NSH: Marek Mazanec (W) – 24 Saves on 26 shots; played 60:00
TOR: Jonathan Bernier (L) – 24 saves on 26 shots; played 57:29
MY THREE STARS
1. Craig Smith – 2 goals, 1 Assist
2. Matt Cullen – 1 Goal, 3 Assists
3. Marek Mazanec – 24/26 saves
LINE UP REPORT
Predators scratches: Nystrom (Upper Body) and Ekholm (Healthy), Forsberg (Healthy)
Predators starters: Fisher, Hornqvist, Wilson, Weber, Josi, and Mazanec
Toronto scratches: Fraser (Lower Body) , McLaren (Healthy)
Toronto starters: Lupul, Smith, Clarkson, Phaneuf, Gunnarsson, Bernier