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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
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 Allā€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

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 53 32 18 3 146 124 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
7 COL 57 28 25 4 153 158 60
8 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 54 11 27 -3 38
F. Forsberg 54 17 18 -7 35
S. Weber 54 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 54 6 27 2 33
J. Neal 54 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 54 6 18 3 24
R. Ellis 53 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 54 11 7 -2 18
C. Jarnkrok 53 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 37 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 7 .903 2.54
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36