It took Filip Forsberg just 14 seconds into overtime to give the Nashville Predators their sixth straight win with a 3-2 OT victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bridgestone Arena.
With every game you take the good with the bad, so here’s a look at what went right and what didn’t for the Predators in Tuesday’s win:
(+) Juuse Saros is in a groove
After a rough first month and a half, Saros has played much better over the last two weeks. He’s posted a 4-1 record with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in his last five games, and he hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of them (he was 4-8-0 with a 3.24 GAA and .894 save percentage in his previous 12 games).
Saros has a save percentage of .920 or better in three straight games (he had five such games in his previous 12). His goals-saved above expected was hovering around -8 over the weekend, but he’s lowered it to -6.4 after Tuesday’s win, per Money Puck. It’s a far cry from his league-leading 46.7 GSAE last year, but he’s trending in the right direction.
Saros earning his money tonight at least pic.twitter.com/4cUMu68pty
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) November 29, 2023
(-) The obsession with centering passes
The Predators love their between-the-legs drop passes — sometimes a little too much. Don’t get me wrong, when executed properly they can be highly effective. The issue is Nashville relies on a perfectly timed centering pass in front of the net a little more than it should, especially considering the skill of the players attempting them.
Yakov Trenin and Juuso Parssinen are fine forwards, but they would be better served holding onto the puck just a little longer and trying to set up scoring chances that have a higher probability of actually working instead of blindly dropping the puck right in front of the net for opposing defenders to easily clear.
(+) Philip Tomasino doing the most
Sure, there were a couple of moments where Tomasino probably should have shot instead of overthinking things, but for the most part, he was one of the more noticeable players against the Penguins. He finished with one assist, three shots on goal, two takeaways and drew a penalty while playing 15:16. On one shift alone, he knocked a puck down and kept it in the offensive zone, fired a shot on goal and drew a penalty.
After being healthy scratched for seven games, Tomasino has been on a heater in his last eight games, scoring a goal and six points with 17 shots on goal while averaging 13 minutes per game. Whatever message Andrew Brunette was trying to send him early in the year, it was certainly received.
(-) The loosey-goosey defensive-zone play
At one point, Pittsburgh had sustained pressure in the offensive zone for well over a minute and Nashville just couldn’t clear the puck. On several occasions Penguins skaters had more than enough time and space to operate, and several times the Predators blue-liners seemed to lack urgency to defend the puck. The videos below shows a few examples of such instances.
Filip Forsberg was producing plenty of points in October (8 in 9 games), but he rediscovered his goal-scoring touch once the calendar turned to November. In 12 games this month, Forsberg has 11 goals and 19 points on 51 shots, including four multi-goal games since Nov. 9.
His OT winner against the Penguins Tuesday was surprisingly his first game-winner of the season. It was also the second-fastest OT goal scored in Predators history, eight seconds behind David Legwand’s game-winner against the Vancouver Canucks in 2006.
Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_