The Nashville Predators entered game two of this series in unfamiliar territory down by one game.
The Preds have never faced a team with Winnipeg’s prowess in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Having already relinquished home-ice advantage by losing game one, a victory in game two was imperative to give themselves a chance in the series.
Nashville got the scoring started early when Ryan Johansen scored just 27 seconds in. He gave the Preds an early lead, but there was a lot left to be played. Before the period could end, Dustin Byfuglien tied the game, scoring five-hole on Pekka Rinne. Not even a minute later Mark Scheifele scored his seventh of the playoffs to give the Jets a 2-1 lead. Winnipeg held this lead into the first intermission.
29 seconds apart.
— NHL (@NHL) April 29, 2018
The Preds were given a power play early in the second period, and for the first time in a while, the Preds took advantage.
P.K. Subban took a feed from Filip Forsberg and blasted it past Connor Hellebuyck. Both teams played solid hockey for the remainder of the period, but with two minutes left Nashville capitalized once again.
Forsberg pushed the puck ahead to Viktor Arvidsson who broke in on the right side and hammered a slap shot home past Hellebuyck for the 3-2 lead. For the first time in the series the Preds took a lead into the third period.
The Preds had the lead in the final period, but five minutes in everything changed. Brandon Tanev scored and tied the game. Things looked like they were beginning to fall apart for the Preds but Johansen responded 30 seconds later with a highlight reel goal.
— p-Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 30, 2018
Nashville now held a 4-3 lead and hoped that this would be enough to even up the series.
However, the Jets found a way to answer and with their goalie pulled and a minute left in the game, Scheifele found the back of the net once again and forced overtime. It was disappointing to say the least, but the Predators didn’t let it get to them and continued to play their style of hockey.
The first overtime period was dominated by the Preds, but somehow they were unable to score a game-winning goal.
Nashville was able to generate several scoring chances, but none good enough to beat Hellebuyck. Winnipeg managed a couple dangerous chances of their own, but Rinne stood tall and kept his team alive.
This led to a double-overtime. And there it did not take long for Nashville to finish things off. Five minutes in, Kyle Turris passed Craig Smith the puck that led to a 2-on-1 break where Kevin Fiala finished the play for the game-winning goal.
Here's a goal that @KevinFiala22 won't ever forget.
— NHL (@NHL) April 30, 2018
Fiala scored the game winner for Nashville, and honestly, this was a game the Preds deserved to win. Nashville was the definitive better team and Fiala’s game winner was the icing on the cake.
The series might be tied right now, but the Preds have a lot of work left if they wish to win this series.
Game three will take place in Winnipeg on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 PM CT. Still, regardless of what happens, Nashville will get another home game. That game will take place Saturday May 5 at 8:30 PM CT.