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Post-Game Musings: vs. Minnesota

Tuesday, 04.3.2012 / 10:43 PM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Post-Game Musings: vs. Minnesota
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And Smashville can let out a big exhale of relief.

After a tight defensive battle, the Alexander Radulov’s shootout goal and Anders Lindback’s three-for-three showing on the other end --- including a reaction right pad save on a quick Mikko Koivu snapper --- the Preds emerged victorious, 2-1, to leapfrog Detroit into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, two points ahead of No. 6 seed Chicago with four more nights of games remaining in the regular season. The Preds also reached the 100-point mark for the fourth time in franchise history.

The game was a very "Preds-type" of win, with Nashville getting solid shifts from all four forward lines, all three defensive pairings, and strong special teams play.

Now on to the musings...

THREE MUSINGS:
The PK: Nashville's penalty kill unit deserves major kudos tonight, shutting down all four Minnesota power-play attempts, including 1:48 of four-on-three time to open the overtime period. Not only did they successfully negate Minnesota's PP unit, but Nashville's penalty kill prevented the Wild from using the power-play to generate momentum; the PK unit limited Minnesota to seven shots on goal during its four power-plays, including just one during the four-on-three. Paul Gaustad played a whopping 5:31 shorthanded ice time tonight, followed by Kevin Klein at 5:17, Hal Gill at 4:57, and Nick Spaling with 4:33.

Super Sub: Anders Lindback was near perfect tonight, turning aside 25-of-26 shots plus a perfect three-for-three showing in the shootout, making a tremendous save on Dany Heatley in a four-on-four situation with 7:06 left in regulation and a highlight reel shootout stop on Mikko Koivu in the second round of the shootout. After not seeing much action through long stretches of the season sitting behind Pekka Rinne, Lindback has now strung together two straight strong starts; Lindback stopped 30-of-31 shots two-and-a-half weeks ago for a 3-1 road win at Anaheim.

Quick Steal: Nick Spaling created two great scoring chances for the Preds in the second period on nearly identical forecheck plays, stripping the Minnesota defenseman clean both times. The first one resulted in a video review turned up no-goal for the Preds (off a scrum in the crease). The second one resulted in Gabriel Bourque’s seventh goal of the season, giving the Preds a 1-0 lead at the time. The Spaling, Bourque, Hornqvist line was Nashville's most effective line for all three periods tonight --- they recorded nine of Nashville's 24 shots on goal and the team's lone goal through regulation.


THREE QUOTES:
Head Coach Barry Trotz on Anders Lindback's performance…
"It was really huge for us. Anders didn’t get a lot of games this year. We [played] [Rinne] really hard right before the All‐Star break – really hard in terms of the 25 game stretch where he was going really well and we were going really well and we felt we could do that and get ourselves a little separation. He’s come up with a couple big wins for us. The last two starts he’s only given up two goals. He’s been really, really solid."

Captain Shea Weber on tonight's game…
"The win is the most important thing. Obviously, we’re somewhat in control of where we can finish. We can guarantee ourselves fifth. We’ve got to keep going."

Nick Spaling on the success of his line...
"They make it real easy. They’re two energy guys that I know that they’re going to be at the net or trying to win the puck back in the corner. It makes it easy for me knowing where they are the whole time."


THREE STARS:
1) NSH G Anders Lindback - 25 saves on 26 shots, plus 3-for-3 on the shootout
2) NSH F Alexander Radulov - shootout winner, 19:28 ice time; was the most creative and dangerous offensive player on the ice tonight; made several key "hustle plays"
3) MIN G Niklas Backstrom - 23 saves on 24 shots

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61