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Post-Game Musings: at Minnesota

Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 10:38 PM CT / Features
By Doug Brumley  - Nashville Predators
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Post-Game Musings: at Minnesota
Any and all fears the Nashville Predators had of allowing a five-day All-Star break to slow their snowballing momentum were realized over the course of the first two and a half periods of Tuesday night’s road game against the Minnesota Wild. But by the end of the game, the boys in blue and gold with a knack for comebacks emphatically shook off the rust to rally and down a shellshocked Wild team by a 5-4 score.

Defensive lapses and imprecise passing by Nashville marked a first period that saw the Wild’s leading scorer, Dany Heatley, bank two largely uncontested goals. The teams traded goals in the second period, giving the Predators some life heading into the second intermission at 3-1. However, Wild forward Kyle Brodziak’s goal at the 16-second mark of the third period, combined with Nashville’s dearth of shots on net, set a dim tone for the visitors.

That all changed at 9:21 of the third when Brandon Yip, playing in his third game for Nashville since being acquired on waivers, notched his first goal as a Pred to cut the lead to 4-2. After that goal, an immediate, aggressive follow-up shift from the Preds, and a ten-bell save by Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne on a Matt Cullen break with 4:47 left, the game changed course. The Predators scored three times in a three-minute span—the final two coming from the stick of Mike Fisher—to swoop in and steal two points from a Wild team that had won two straight heading into Tuesday’s game.


Three Musings
At What Point Are These No Longer Surprising?: Tuesday night’s comeback victory conjured memories of Nashville’s late-game heroics from the month of December—namely the two very late goals and overtime winner by Colin Wilson at Columbus on Dec. 8, and the Dec. 22 Martin Erat tally with 8.4 seconds left to topple those same Blue Jackets. For the season, Nashville leads the NHL with 7 comeback wins when down by at least two goals, according to Elias Sports Bureau. That’s one more such comeback than either Ottawa or Philadelphia, who have 6 each.

Yip and 'Chuk: Nashville’s first goal of the night not only gave the Predators a spark of life, but it also extended the point streak of its scorer, Matt Halischuk, to three games. (He has two goals and two assists over that span.) The pairing of rookies Halischuk and Craig Smith with recent waiver claim Brandon Yip paid dividends Tuesday with energetic stints in the offensive zone and scrappy play around the Wild goal. Yip assisted on Halischuk’s goal for his first point as a Predator, then finished off a Halischuk chance that—after video review—confirmed Yip’s first goal (and two-point game) as a member of the Nashville squad.

Unseasonably Warm: With Tuesday’s win over the Wild, the Predators closed out the month of January with an 11-2-0 record. Goaltender Pekka Rinne extended his franchise-best consecutive win streak to 10 games. Mike Fisher extended his goal-scoring streak to three games (5 goals in that span) and his point streak to five games (6 goals, 1 assist). Patric Hornqvist’s goal bumped his point-scoring streak to four games (3 goals, 2 assists), and Craig Smith’s assist gives him points in four straight as well (2 goals, 2 assists).


Three Quotes
Associate coach Peter Horachek (after two periods): “We’re still not doing all the things we were doing before the break. Maybe it’s rust. Maybe it’s the five days without skating. I don’t know what it is. But the bottom line is we are down by two goals and the next goal is key.”

Mike Fisher (on the comeback): “We’ve done it a few times this year and it was almost like we knew what was happening once we got one [goal]. Their fourth one kind of hurt us but we kept going. We stayed calm, just made plays. It seems like we’re unstoppable in the third. That was a lot of fun.”

Mike Fisher on the GWG: “I was just throwing to the net. I was hoping Marty was in front. I think it went maybe through the d and caught [Harding] under the glove. You know what, maybe it got a little bit lucky but you never know when you throw it at the net.”


Three Stars
1 – Matt Halischuk: 1 goal, 1 assist, +2, 3 shots in 12:40 of ice time
2 – Mike Fisher: 2 goals in a 2:39 span, including the game-winner
3 – Dany Heatley: 2 goals, 1 assist

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 53 21 27 5 131 156 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 53 10 27 -2 37
S. Weber 53 14 21 -4 35
F. Forsberg 53 15 18 -6 33
M. Ribeiro 53 6 27 3 33
J. Neal 53 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 53 6 16 3 22
R. Ellis 52 6 15 2 21
C. Smith 53 11 6 -1 17
C. Jarnkrok 52 9 7 0 16
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 17 7 .904 2.50
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36