Smashed in Smashville:
The start of Saturday’s game felt like déjà vu, especially that first period. Considering how their last meeting went, fans questioned whether the Predators had the Rangers’ number.
Nashville was all over New York, playing aggressively with their forecheck, and the Blueshirts seemed sluggish. Mistakes were happening left and right, thanks to the Preds’ pressure. Ryan O’Reilly even scored with a little assist from a referee who kept the puck in and an accidental Will Cuylle deflection, putting the Preds ahead 1-0. Then Roman Josi added insult to injury with a power-play goal, doubling the lead. The Predators outshot the Bluehits 17-8 through the first 20 minutes.
They were successfully squeezing the slot and blocking point shots. New York struggled to get the puck below the dots or behind the net where Andrew Brunette’s boys have been weak and established pressure. It led to a furious Peter Laviolette making dramatic changes. He decided enough was enough. He stirred the pot and headed into the second period with his team focused on turning the tide. ” He Gave us the business”, Trochcek said. “He woke us up”, Jonny Brodzinski added.
“We just didn’t do enough things well,” the bench boss said. “If there’s 15 things you have to do to win a hockey game, we probably got beat in all 15… I thought amazing job by them just coming back and fighting for something in the second and then gutting it out in the third.”