The Nashville Predators rode timely scoring to a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night inside of a sold out Bridgestone Arena.
After a scoreless first period that saw the Preds hold the Islanders to just four shots on goal, rookie Seth Jones potted his first career NHL goal – a power play goal – just over a minute into the second period. Jones beat Evgeni Nabokov with a slap shot off a feed from David Legwand and Shea Weber – who both tallied their first points/assists of the season.
The Islanders would tally back-to-back goals for the second night in a row midway through the frame to pull ahead. Then with less than a minute remaining in the second, Patric Hornqvist recorded his first goal of the season, with Colin Wilson and Ryan Ellis picking up the assists, to bookend the second period for the Preds.
Ellis would record his second point of the night as he fired a slap shot past Nabokov at the 3:23 mark of the third frame to put the Preds on top once again. With Matt Hendricks in the box for a four-minute high-sticking call, the Islanders turned up the heat through the third, but the Preds held off the late push to secure the 3-2 victory.
Two Big Things and Notes:
Jones Makes His Mark: With his first career goal, Seth Jones etched his name in the Preds record books as just the fifth teenager to score for the Preds, joining David Legwand, Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall and Filip Forsberg. Jones’ goal comes just two games after recording his first NHL point on Filip Forsberg’s first career marker on Tuesday night. In addition to his goal, Jones recorded 21:40 of ice time – leads all rookies in time on ice (23:30) – and three shots on goal on the way to First Star honors. With each game that passes, Jones continues to build confidence and he is quickly maturing into the player all of the pre-draft pundits thought he would be.
Finding Their Mojo: In tonight’s 3-2 victory, several key members of the Preds offense recorded their first points of the season. Both David Legwand and Shea Weber tallied their first points of the season as they connected with Seth Jones for the Preds second period power-play goal. Patric Hornqvist, who has been one of Nashville’s most reliable scorers the past five seasons, found the back of the net for the first time late in the middle frame. Ryan Ellis was also able to get the scoring monkey off of his back with a two-point effort (1g-1a) on the night, including the game-winner. It was Ellis’ first point since Feb. 14, 2013, his first multi-point game since Feb. 5, 2013, and first game-winning goal since Feb. 14, 2012.
For the first time this season, Nashville scored the game’s first goal. The team was 11-2-5 when striking first last season.
The Predators recorded at least 30 shots on goal for the third time in five games, and have outshot their opponent 67-42 over the last two contests.
After going without a power-play goal in the first two games of the season, the Predators are 3-for-9 in their last three games (33.3 percent).
The NHL’s faceoff leader, Paul Gaustad, continued his winning ways in the circles, going 11-for-15, and improving to 68.4 percent on the year.
Matt Cullen led all skaters with six shots.
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