Through five games, the star of the Predators’ young season has been rookie phenom Seth Jones. He added to his fantastic start to his rookie campaign by scoring his first NHL goal Saturday night against the New York Islanders.
“It was really nice to help the team, and then we won the game which was most important. It felt great,” Jones said after the Predators’ 3-2 win.
Jones scored the first goal of the game when his shot from the point beat Islanders netminder Evgeni Nabokov just 1:03 into the middle frame. David Legwand and Shea Weber picked up the assists on the power play tally.
“He blasted it,” Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz said. “The power play was really good. It was moving around getting chances. We were just saying the other night that we couldn’t buy a goal. Even when we had screens and traffic and Weber and Jones were teaming up, we couldn’t buy a goal. Tonight we had some traffic, and it went into the net. The power play has been tossing around a little bit and having pretty good production. They’ve got a shot mentality right now, and they’re making good decisions.”
“Great things can happen when we focus, and that’s what we’ve been doing lately,” Jones said. “We got a few good bounces tonight, and that’s what we needed to win,” the rookie explained.
Jones didn’t only make an impact on the offensive end. As the Predators were clinging on to their one-goal lead, Jones made a key defensive play against Michael Grabner as he poke-checked the puck off his stick before a potential scoring chance. Jones finished the night with 21:40 of total ice time — only Weber and Kevin Klein saw more ice time – but once again he played a key role.
Predators captain Shea Weber was impressed with Jones’ effort.
“He made a great shot and cleanly beat the opponent. It’s hopefully a sign of many good things to come from him, especially since he is so young,” he said of Jones’ first NHL tally.
A loss for the Predators would have been difficult to take, especially after out-playing the Islanders most of the night. Down 2-1 in the second period, the Predators came back to capture the 3-2 win, their second of the season. The 19-year-old Jones saw the come-from-behind victory as an early turning point for the Predators.
“The last two games we’ve had over 30 shots each game. That’s huge for us. The two points from tonight were a huge game changer, and we have two more games at home.”