Yakov Trenin’s first NHL goal wasn’t the prettiest he’s ever scored, but it still counts just as much.
In his second NHL game, the rookie’s first tally was one of six the Predators potted on Saturday night, as they defeated the New Jersey Devils by a 6-4 final at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville’s 13th victory of the season gives them points in six of their last seven outings and sees them collect a point in their ninth-straight outing against the Devils.
The Preds scored twice in each of the game’s three periods, and from Daniel Carr’s first in Gold only 46 seconds into the contest to Rocco Grimaldi’s exclamation point on the breakaway, it was a satisfying Saturday in Smashville.
“The offense was good. I didn’t like the way the game unfolded a little bit… but I do like the fact as they pushed back, because they do have a lot of skill in their lineup, as they pushed back there was always a response and we were able to grow the lead,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I did like the way the game played out with regard to that. Defensively, I don’t think we gave up a whole bunch, but we made a couple of mistakes and [Pekka Rinne] made a couple of big saves as well.”
“There’s always things you can improve on, but I like the way the guys battled through the little things,” Preds defenseman Dante Fabbro, who record his first-career, multi-point game, said. “You don’t want to give up a lead like that [in the first four minutes], but we found a way to get back on top and finish the job.”
The game’s first four minutes brought the first four goals of the night, and it was the home team that got it going. To start, Carr redirected a Dan Hamhuis point shot for his first as a member of the Preds and a 1-0 lead. Moments later, Fabbro made it 2-0 when he deposited a feed from Nick Bonino past Devils goaltender Louis Domingue and into the twine.
But it wasn’t long before the Devils responded, and in a matter of minutes, Jesper Bratt and Travis Zajac had tied the game at the 3:59 mark. The offensive outburst marked just the 14th instance in NHL history of two teams combining for at least four goals in the opening four minutes of a game.
In the second stanza, the Preds got their lead back, and it was Trenin, who saw the puck deflect off his leg and into the cage for his first in the NHL.
“It feels incredible,” Trenin said of scoring the first of his career. “I didn’t see how the puck went in, I just saw the red light behind the net and I started celebrating. I felt it hit me and I was hoping and said, ‘go, go in the net!’”
“It was awesome,” Grimaldi said of Trenin’s goal. “I played with him a little bit last year [in Milwaukee], and I played a lot on the power play with him and he’s always in front of the net. I remember that from last year, so I was just trying to put a shot on the net and hit him and went in. Just seeing the excitement on his face was awesome, so it was really fun.”
A few minutes later, Filip Forsberg pounced on a loose puck in the blue paint and tallied his team-leading 11th of the season to put the Preds up by two.
New Jersey cut the lead to one before the middle frame was out, but Nick Bonino made a slick move and went top shelf for Nashville’s fifth of the night to tie Forsberg’s 11 on the season. The Devils made it interesting again when Taylor Hall scored midway through the third, but Grimaldi’s patented breakaway move worked once more, as he went to the forehand to finish off the evening.
With a goal and an assist on the night, Grimaldi set a career high with his 14th point of the season.
In the case of Carr and Trenin, who have both led the Milwaukee Admirals in scoring at separate times this season, their first goals with the Preds came as a result of hard work going to the net, and Laviolette was pleased to see the two players capitalize.
“Yak has had such a good year, a strong year,” Laviolette said of Trenin. “In Milwaukee, he was tearing it up offensively… so it was nice to see him get rewarded.
“[Carr], for me, has been extremely hard working the whole time that he’s been up here… He’s playing with the right players to produce, and I think he’s working really hard and he’s gotten some chances, so it is nice to see him get rewarded.”
The Predators would have preferred to not give up four goals, and they pointed to some defensive lapses they’d like to correct. However, it has also been a while since the high-powered offense had put six in that back of the net, and that final tally was something to be proud of.
“It’s a big confidence boost for our team,” Fabbro said. “If we just continue to work hard and pursue offense, it’s going to keep coming. We’ve got a talented group here; we just have to keep working hard.”
Daniel Carr’s first-period goal was his first in Nashville, as he became the 183rd player in franchise history to score a goal.
Yakov Trenin then followed to become the 184th in club history to find the back of the net.
Mikael Granlund missed his second-straight game with a lower-body injury.
Nashville’s three-game homestand concludes on Tuesday night (at 7 p.m. CT) when the San Jose Sharks come to town. The first 8,000 fans in attendance will receive a 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Roman Josi bobblehead.