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Post-Game Musings: vs. Chicago

Saturday, 01.21.2012 / 10:46 PM CT / Features
By Paul Cook  - Nashville Predators
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Post-Game Musings: vs. Chicago
There are beautiful dangles and there are lucky bounces, but to the scoresheet they’re all the same. Kevin Klein’s second-period goal serves as a perfect example – it might not have even been intended as a shot on net. As the Predators were looking to make a line change, Klein simply flipped the puck into the Blackhawks’ zone from the red line. His intention was likely to knock a few seconds off the clock and get fresh legs out safely onto the ice. What should have been an easy save for Chicago netminder Corey Crawford turned out instead to be a whiff on an Eephus pitch and a go-ahead goal for Klein.

Putting the puck on net might seem like a basic decision, but in most instances a dump-in like that will be around the boards. As shaky as Crawford’s been this season (sporting a less-than-stellar .904 save percentage entering the night – 35th in the League), getting shots – any shots – on net may have been one of the Nashville coaching staff’s prime directives [Ed. Note: Not The Prime Directive; sorry, Star Trek fans]. Crawford was chased after allowing four goals on 17 shots as the Predators cruised to a 5-2 victory over their division rival.

Klein’s goal earned the Predators a standing ovation during the TV timeout that followed. Did it serve as inspiration for the rest of the team? Nashville would add another two goals in the period, so the scoresheet would suggest ‘Yes,’ and the scoresheet is never wrong. [Ed. Note: In the rare event that the scoresheet is wrong, the NHL has a 24-hour statute of limitations for changes.]

Three Musings
A shifty Belarussian: Sergei Kostitsyn put together a shift in the first period that had to have Head Coach Barry Trotz smiling, even though the winger didn’t earn any points for his efforts. Trotz loves detail, work ethic, and dedication to the defensive aspects of the game from his forwards, and that’s exactly what he got from Kostitsyn for 15 seconds in the middle of the frame. After hopping onto the ice at the 11:39 mark, a backchecking Kostitsyn snuck up on Chicago’s Jonathan Toews for a takeaway. Seconds later, driving down the left side after taking a pass into the offensive zone, Kostitsyn was able to use his speed to great effect and draw an interference penalty on Brent Seabrook. Ask any coach if they’d like a takeaway and a drawn penalty from one of their offensive threats and you’d not get a single ‘No.’ It’s the little things that will earn a player more ice time – No. 74 would later reward fans with two points on the night. As last year’s leading goal-scorer is looked to for offense, his two-way game is sometimes overlooked, but the Belarussian has now earned a +7 rating in ten January games.

Getting off the schneid: Scoring is always nice, but if it breaks a dry spell, that’s even nicer. Colin Wilson scored his first goal in 14 games with a solid offensive effort on Saturday. Wilson hadn’t put one in the back of the net since December 13. NHL freshman Craig Smith also helped out with a power-play goal to open the scoring for the Predators. For the rookie, soon to be headed to Ottawa to participate in the NHL All-Star festivities, it was only his second goal since December 3. Smith’s goal put him into the double digits for the season.

A new case of the Yips: Acquired off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, Saturday’s game against the Blackhawks served as the debut for Brandon Yip. Yip, wearing the No. 18 vacated by Niclas Bergfors, played just over 10 minutes, registering a hit and a blocked shot [Ed. Note: Despite getting in the way of a Chicago attempt, Yip wasn’t officially credited with a blocked shot – I guess we’ll check back in 24 hours].

Three Quotes
D Kevin Klein, Nashville (On his goal from the red line) – “The ice was getting a little rough out there. Legwand gave me a pass and I decided to put a little english on it.” [Ed. Note: “English” is a term typically used in snooker or billiards; it means to put sidespin on the cue ball.]

F Patric Hornqvist, Nashville (On facing the Blackhawks, who played Friday against Florida) – “We got three quick goals and they probably got a little tired after that.”

Head Coach Barry Trotz, Nashville (On the atmosphere in Bridgestone Arena) – “It had a playoff feel. I don’t know if we came out with more intensity, but the building was ramped up from the get-go and that doesn’t hurt the home team.”

Three Stars
F Sergei Kostitsyn, Nashville – Scored a beauty after having an earlier goal waved off by the referees for having made contact with the puck above the crossbar.
F Colin Wilson, Nashville – Snapped a 14-game goalless drought and was a presence in the offensive zone all night long.
D Kevin Klein, Nashville – His soft goal sparked the Predators in the second period. He also picked up the assist on Hornqvist’s third-period tap-in by putting a blast on net.





1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33