Ryan Johansen tied it, Roman Josi ended it.
Johansen scored with 42 second to play in regulation before Josi won it in overtime, as the Nashville Predators came back to defeat the New York Islanders by a 5-4 final on Monday night at Barclays Center. It’s Nashville’s third consecutive victory, and the first time they’ve come back to win a game this season when trailing after two periods of play.
The Predators entered the third period down 4-3, but several monstrous saves from Pekka Rinne kept Nashville in it, and then sustained pressure with the goaltender pulled in the final two minutes led to Johansen roofing the puck off a rebound to force OT.
Then Josi found a way, just as the Preds have done 32 times this season.
“I thought we played a pretty good game,” Josi said. “We showed a lot of character just staying with it and not getting frustrated and got rewarded at the end.”
“If you didn’t care who [won] you’d probably like the overtime,” Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I’m glad we won. It’s something we’ve been working on a lot and talking about a lot. So, it was good. But they certainly had some looks, we had some good chances. It was exciting.”
John Tavares got the home team on the board first with a power-play goal, but two strikes from Fiala in less than two minutes gave the Preds a 2-1 lead midway through the first period. Before the opening frame was out, however, Ryan Pulock and Casey Cizikas put the Islanders back in front.
The Islanders then went up 4-2 early in the second, but Preds kept putting shots at the net in the stanza, and Calle Jarnkrok deposited his 11th of the season after a scrum in front to cut the New York lead to one after 40 minutes of play.
After what Rinne admitted was a “frustrating” start, the netminder made save after save before the last-minute score, but none of his 24 saves was bigger than his lunge across the crease to rob Mathew Barzal point blank with the leather.
And before long, Josi capitalized on a rebound to give the Preds wins in 10 of their last 12 games, not a bad start to the four-game trip.
“I thought that going into the third, we had played such a strong game and we were down pretty much because of me and couple weak goals,” Rinne said. “But I have to say that last three games we’ve played such good hockey and tonight was no different. I thought that we created a ton of chances… and obviously a big relief seeing Josi’s OT goal go in.”
Allowing four goals in the game’s first 24 minutes is hardly characteristic for Pekka Rinne.
But all of a sudden, the veteran netminder found a way to reverse course. And instead of letting the frustration get to him, he channeled it to record his eighth consecutive victory with some of his most impressive saves of the season, none better than the lunge in overtime.
For a team that thrives on their goaltender, the Preds certainly had plenty of motivation to tie the game, and then eventually win it – but that’s just another night in the crease for Rinne, who somehow ended up being the star by night’s end.
“We owed Peks one of those games,” Johansen said. “He’s had our back all year and he’s been phenomenal. He’s definitely given himself a case for the Vezina [Trophy], in my opinion. We have the utmost trust in him. For him to keep his composure and play like he did in the third and overtime, that’s impressive as a teammate to watch.”
“At the end of the day, when that game’s hanging on at 4-3, and he made two, three, four of those big saves that he did – maybe five I don’t know – that gave us an opportunity,” Laviolette said. “Again, to hang in there, to get to that two-minute point where we could pull the goalie and ultimately score the goal.”
With an assist on Kevin Fiala’s first goal, Kyle Turris collected his 200th assist in the NHL.
Nick Bonino recorded an assist on Fiala’s second goal, his 200th NHL point.
Nashville’s four-game trip continues on Wednesday in Toronto before meeting the Senators on Thursday and Montreal on Saturday.
Pete Weber’s Postgame Report