Matt Duchene Sparks Offense as Predators get First Win

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 16: Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene (95) is shown during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes, held on October 16, 2021, at Bridgestone Arena, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Last night, the Predators trailed the Kings going into the final period of the game. At that point, the Predators offense looked lackluster as they ended the 2nd period down 0-1. Then, “Smashville” finally found their offensive groove during the 3rd period of play. A team like Nashville has numerous players that can step up to provide a spark each night including Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, and Ryan Johansen. However, last night’s comeback win was initiated by Predators star Matt Duchene.

Duchene provided the fuel that “Smashville” needed in order to pull out a late comeback victory against a talented LA Kings team. The fuel he brought to the team came in the form of a 3rd period goal that tied the game 1-1. Prior to this late goal by Duchene, the Predators attack looked atrocious and was in large part unable to cash in on any of the advantages they had earlier in the game. Then, the Duchene Power Play goal seemed to shift the mindset of the team from praying for a goal to knowing they can score a goal.

After the game-tying goal by Duchene to start the final period, the rest of the night seemed to shift momentum in favor of the Predators. Tanner Jeannot scored another goal for the Preds, less than 4 minutes after the Duchene goal, on what was virtually an empty net. Even though the Kings goalie, Cal Petersen, was there, he never moved to the side of the net that Jeannot was on due to him being worried about Colton Sissons. Sissons drew the attention of the Kings’ goalie, and the next 2 closest LA defenders, before slapping a pass over to Jeannot on the other side of the net, which would ultimately end up as the game winning goal.

The Predators simply took over the game once Duchene scored his Power Play goal. This goal may have just been the one to tie the game, but some goals cause momentum to swing in favor of one team over another, and that is exactly what took place in Bridgestone Arena last night. “Smashville” will be able to rely on having a solid defense in most of the games they play, but the offense looked stagnant in both of the games the Preds played prior to last night’s outing. Once Duchene buried the puck in the back of the net to start the final period, every Predators player looked like they received an adrenaline boost that was nowhere to be seen beforehand. This boost of unfound energy is what was able to let the Predators drive ahead the rest of the game, and strike with a game winning goal mere minutes later.

Now that Nashville has captured momentum they have not had up to this point, there is one question that needs to be answered about the Preds. Will they be able to keep this wave of momentum on their side long enough to start an impressive win streak?

This enormous test of “Smashville’s” ability to string wins together, will begin tomorrow night when they welcome the New York Rangers to their home building. The Rangers have had ups and downs of their own this season, so they will be hoping to establish a sense of consistency as well, coming off an overtime victory against the Maple Leafs on Monday night. In order to ride the wave of momentum out as long as possible, the Predators must keep the same level of energy they had after Duchene’s heroic goal over the course of an entire game. It’s been a rocky start in Rocky Top so far, but things may finally be turning around for Nashville.

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