It’s been the same impressive story on the road as of late – Nashville has now trailied in five consecutive contests away from Bridgestone Arena, only to come back and win each one of them. And on Thursday in the desert, it was a former Coyotes forward in Turris who played the role of hero.
“We’re confident in our abilities,” Turris said. “We just stick with it, we don’t panic and we just find ways to win.”
“I thought our guys played well tonight,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “It was tough going on the road, traveling the distance, changing time zones, but I thought we played a pretty good game. It wasn’t overly exciting, but it was steady.”
Turris thought he had opened the scoring after he slammed home a rebound in the first period, but after an Arizona challenge, the play was ruled offside and the goal disallowed.
All three goals in the second period counted, however, and Christian Dvorak beat goaltender Pekka Rinne on a broken play to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, Craig Smith found Ryan Ellis and the Predators defenseman potted his seventh of the season to even the score, but before the middle stanza was out, Oliver Ekman-Larsson gave Arizona the lead once more.
And then the Predators went to work. It only took Turris 22 seconds into the final frame to knot the game at two, and then minutes later, Turris won a faceoff straight to Kevin Fiala who wired his 23rd of the season past Darcy Kuemper to give Nashville its first lead of the evening.
From there, Rinne and the Predators shut down the remainder of the Coyotes chances as the Preds netminder collected his 39th victory of the season. Rinne has a personal 10-game win streak, just one off of his career high of 11 set in 2012 and is a remarkable 19-1-1 in his last 21 starts.
Just like their goaltender, the Predators continue to find ways to collect points, even in an arena they hadn’t emerged victorious from in over three calendar years.
“It’s a tough building to come play in,” Nashville forward Austin Watson said. “They are a team that’s been playing really well as of late, and there’s no secret to it. They work really hard, they forecheck, they don’t give up too many opportunities, so we just needed to stick with it, and we did a good job of getting a couple right away in the third.”
If At First You Don’t Succeed:
Kyle Turris appeared to give the Predators a 1-0 lead, only to see the call overturned because he was offside on the play.
He more than made up for it.
Originally drafted by the Coyotes, Turris finished the night with a goal and two assists against his first NHL club, giving him points in five of his last six outings and posting his first three-point game as a member of the Predators.
Not only that, but he and his linemates – Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala – combined for seven points on the night, a force seemingly each and every time they were on the ice.
“They were awesome,” Laviolette said of the trio. “From start to finish, I thought they were the best line out there. They were dangerous every time they were on the ice.”
“I’m just trying to do the right things,” Turris said. “Create opportunities and you get enough chances, eventually they’re going to go in. Kevin and [Smith] played great. [I was] just trying to give and go with them and get open.”
Sounds simple, right? Turris and his mates sure made it look that way at times, just another example of what the Predators are capable of when they’re playing at full speed. And they’ll give it another shot tomorrow in Colorado.
“We’re a confident group,” Turris said. “We know what we’re capable of when we’re playing to the level we want to play, and we just have to play like that for the whole game.”
Prior to the game, the Predators announced forward Calle Jarnkrok will miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury.
Center Mike Fisher and defensemen Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber were healthy scratches on Thursday night.
The Predators are right back in action on Friday night in Denver as they complete their season series with Avalanche (at 8 p.m. CT) before concluding their three-game trip on Monday in Buffalo.
Pete Weber’s Postgame Report