By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — The Nashville Predators go into the NHL All-Star break with plenty of momentum, as they wrapped their final two home games of the first half with victories. Following a 2-1 win earlier in the week over Winnipeg, they completed a season’s sweep of the New Jersey Devils with a 6-4 victory on Thursday. Matt Duchene had a goaland an assist, while both Colton Sissons and Juuso Parssinen had two assists.
The Predators had 11 different players contributing in one way or another in the scoring. They also got 35 saves from Juuse Saros, who once again proved it isn’t just how many goals are allowed that determines whether a goalie has had a great game. He had a number of key saves despite the four goals allowed.
Filip Forsberg was among the Predators with positive comments on the team’s effort the past two games.”I felt like we were the better team from start to finish,” Forsberg said. “Start of the second they came out and we weren’t quite at our best, but the last three games we’ve beaten teams, we haven’t hung on and we didn’t have to rely on our goaltenders to steal this one. It was, games where we’ve come out and won games and that’s the type of game that we need to play most nights and you know, I think we’ve got a really good little stretch here so we will get some rest here. It’s been hectic. I know we’re all exhausted and still trying to catch up on rest and sleep, especially us dads. But this will be a good break.”
“I think we’ve had a lot of games this year where we’ve kind of had the right performance and attitude,” Duchene added. “it just hasn’t gone in. So it’s nice. Obviously the goals haven’t come as easy for any of us this year as they did last year. But it doesn’t mean I can’t change at any point. I think you just have to stay with the process and stay with what makes you successful. Just because it doesn’t go in doesn’t mean you’re not playing well or not doing the right thing. So we’ve tried to keep our head up through that. And, fortunately lately it’s going at the right time for us as a team.”
Predators head coach John Hynes was also optimistic about the win and the tea’s outlook going into the second half. “”I think the ability to respond is obviously important and it was a factor tonight, but tonight, I felt like for basically most of the game we were in control of the game, but we weren’t in control of the scoreboard at times. And I give the leaders of the team a lot of credit. I think our offensive game has improved. And I think in all three games we had a majority of the play. So sometimes when you do that you get scored on. I think if we’re going to be able to continue to play the right way and do the right things, we’re going to be able to put the puck in the back of the net.”
The Predators are off until Feb. 7, when they host the Vegas Golden Knights.