Game 5 - Post-Game
Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:01 AM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / Playoff Blog -- Conference Quarterfinals vs. Anaheim
Wow, what a finish to that game. Many have called this the biggest win in franchise history to date. There are other wins that can stake a similar importance, but hard to argue too much with that claim. However, with a win on Sunday, the historical significance of tonight's win will grow further.
Expect Anaheim to play with a lot of desperation on Sunday, Bridgestone Arena needs to be rocking to help counterbalance the equation. (Early preview, expect the first 10 minutes of play to be intense on Sunday)
Getting back to tonight, a three late-game points to remember:
- Mike Fisher's faceoff win was huge in setting up Shea Weber's overtime-forcing goal, but the screen set by both J-P Dumont and Patric Hornqvist was similarly important to the goal. Watch the replay from behind the net; no way for Ray Emery to see the puck coming. Also, interesting to note, instead of using his trademark slapshot, Weber scored the goal off a quick snap shot. And Cody Franson teed up a pretty easy pass for Weber to snap home -- it's an under-rated skill, but a perfect set-up is a big time help, especially on quick shots.
- Very fitting that the Smithson-Spaling-Tootoo line generated the game-winning goal. They were Nashville's most consistently dangerous line in tonight's game. Good to see them rewarded for their performances --- and each pick up a point on the winner. That line was quiet when the series opened in Anaheim for Games 1 and 2, but has been getting stronger as the series has gone on. Tonight was their best performance (what a play by Tootoo on the game's opening goal and another solid play to set up the game-winner) and Game 3 they were very noticeable (in a good way) as well.
- Key coaching decision by Barry Trotz and staff paid off on the game-tying goal. Nashville still had its timeout available with the late offensive zone faceoff. The Ducks had already used their timeout. Instead of using the timeout to rest his players and diagram a play, Coach Trotz let the guys play -- a consious decision not to allow Anaheim to regroup. The Ducks were coming off an icing call, so they couldn't change personnel, while the Preds could -- and did (sending Weber and Franson out to replace Blum and Suter --- Suter coming off a 1:36 shift). Consensus says to take the timeout there, but the Preds coaches had the pulse of their team and Anaheim's group on the ice and were rewarded for that feel.