Like most playoff teams, the Devils found a way to win. This was in large part due to Keith Kinkaid’s stellar performance, which downed the hottest team in the NHL 3-2.
The Predators dominated the game early on, as was evident by a Mattias Ekholm partial breakaway goal just 1:17 into the contest. However, the scoring in the first period was not finished. Scorching hot defenseman Sami Vatanen blasted a slap shot past a heavily screened Juuse Saros (video below).
SAMI VATANEN BLASTS ONE THROUGH THE CROWD AND INTO THE BACK OF THE NET! DEVILS TIE IT! pic.twitter.com/PEzrPV4q6b
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) March 11, 2018
The Devils were able to capture the lone-goal in the second period off a wrist shot from Damon Severson, which Brian Boyle was able to redirect into the back of the net. The game remained 2-1 until Ryan Johansen put home a rebound with the extra attacker in the final minute of the game. The Devils ultimately prevailed and ended the Predators league-high 10-game winning streak, after goals by Taylor Hall and Brian Boyle in the shootout (video below).
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 11, 2018
The final shots on goal were 36-27 in favor of the Predators. Goaltender Keith Kinkaid made 34 saves in a winning effort. Juuse Saros was on the losing side of things.
- Keith Kinkaid is on fire. He has a save percentage of .900 or greater in six of his last eight games, so he should see a continued boost in play time. It’s been a while since Devils fans have seen a goaltender steal the show and that was definitely the case last night.
- Forward Patrick Maroon continues to impress. He picked up his fifth point in his sixth game as a Devil and had the highest Corsi For (CF%) on the Devils. His large frame is evident as he is able to shield the opposing team from the puck and continue cycling to his teammates in the offensive zone.
- Forward Michael Grabner continues to struggle. He held the team’s worst CF% (23.81%) and took a dangerous tripping penalty in OT. The worst part of his struggles was the fact that he started in the offensive zone 75% of the time. Coach Hynes must find a way to get Grabner going, as his success may be a telling part of how the Devils difficult road trip goes.
- The Devils only had 42 shot attempts compared to the Predators 62. However, they still found a way to win. In order to remain in the playoff race, this type of thing may need to occur again. A win is a win, and two points are as big as ever at this stage. Playoff-caliber teams often find ways to win, and the Devils did just that last night.
Next Devils Game: March 14th, Away vs. Vegas Golden Knights