«

»

Arvidsson Tallies Twice as Preds Finish Trip with Big Win in San Jose

Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators

You could make the argument it’s the Nashville Predators’ biggest victory of the season to date.

Those who made it happen sure seemed to think so.

A commitment to team defense was evident on Saturday night at SAP Center as the Preds held the Sharks to two goals in a 4-2 win to conclude their trip to California. The victory is Nashville’s second in a row and hands San Jose back-to-back losses in regulation at home for the first time this season.

After a particularly frustrating effort and loss in Anaheim on Tuesday the mood didn’t turn sour for the Predators, but instead shifted to a narrowed focus that seemed freeing. They practiced what they preached by taking care of business with a win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. On Saturday, they delivered their best work in a long time by shutting down one of the League’s best teams in a fearsome environment.

“Looking at our situation, where we want go and where we want to get to, you could put that under the biggest win of the season, for sure,” Preds center Ryan Johansen said. “We finished up this road trip on a great note. You have a short memory this time of year, and we always talk about the one day at a time, but it’s really just putting this behind us and continuing to move forward – but we’ll enjoy this one tonight.”

“For us to come in against a really good team… it was really strong by our guys,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We played a really complete 60 minutes, and had good responses too when they scored. We were able to score right back again, which I thought was important.”

It didn’t take long – just 1:07 into Saturday’s contest – for the Preds to take a 1-0 lead, and it came courtesy of Colton Sissons, who deposited his second goal in as many games. It was the 28th point of the season for Sissons to set a career high in the category.

San Jose evened the score roughly four minutes into the second stanza, but 24 seconds after Timo Meier tied it, Viktor Arvidsson tipped home his 30th of the campaign to give Nashville the lead once more. Arvidsson’s 30th came in just his 49th outing of the season, the fastest that feat has ever been attained in Predators franchise history. He also joined Filip Forsberg as the only two Preds to record multiple 30-goal seasons in franchise history.

“It’s been a crazy year with injuries and stuff like that,” Arvidsson said of his accomplishment. “I started good, then got going pretty well in the beginning of the year, and then got injured, but then I’ve just been going really good again. [Johansen] and [Forsberg] have been unreal and setting me up and giving me passes, and I’m just trying to work hard and give them the puck as much as I can.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Johansen said of Arvidsson. “It’s too bad for him having that injury during the middle of the year, because he could be doing something really special that not a lot of players in this League achieveā€¦ He just goes out there and works his butt off and gives everything he’s got. All the guys are pretty lucky to have him on our group.”

Joe Thornton made it 2-2 before the period was out, but that was the last time the Sharks found a way to beat Juuse Saros.

The Predators had to dig deep in the third period – their final one of the road trip and ninth against the strong, heavy teams of Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.

It was Forsberg who wrapped the puck around the San Jose net and got it to go to give the Preds their third and final lead on the night. From there, Saros continued to shut the door, and Arvidsson iced it into the empty net with his 31st of the season – and second of the evening – to give the Predators four points to finish off the California swing.

“We kept taking small steps in the right direction, and we just have to keep taking small steps and work on the details,” Arvidsson said. “[We have to keep doing it to] really find our game and to find it consistently.”

“We’ve had a lot of guys step up their game these last couple days,” Johansen said. “Now, it’s about continuing to move forward.”

Notes:

As was the case on Thursday, Kyle Turris, Cody McLeod and Matt Donovan were once again scratched for the Preds on Saturday.

Arvidsson’s first goal was his 28th even-strength marker of the season, which set a Predators franchise record.

Forsberg recorded career point No. 300 on the evening, while Johansen hit No. 400.

With their final California swing of the season complete, the Preds will now head home to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday (at 7 p.m. CT) and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday (at 7 p.m.) before embarking on another road excursion.

Pete Weber’s Postgame Report