Preds Rally For Shootout Win
scored the game-tying goal with 10:09 left in regulation and then added the lone conversion in the shootout as the Predators rallied for a 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night at Sommet Center. Pekka Rinne
made 24 saves and stopped all three shootout attempts for his second consecutive win.
Rinne stoned David Booth on a two-on-one with just under two minutes left in the second period to keep the Preds within one heading into the final frame. Nashville, then tied the game midway through the final period with a fortuitous bounce created by charging the net. Erat carried the play into the offensive zone and flipped the puck to David Legwand
down the right wing slot. The puck hopped on Legwand, but he made a a strong play to work a shot on net. Florida goaltender Craig Anderson kicked the rebound out in front and Erat, continuing to charge hard, chipped the puck into the net for his sixth goal of the season.
The Legwand line was dangerous throughout the third period as Jordin Tootoo
provided Erat and Legwand with another element of speed joining them on the wing for the third period. They sustained pressure on their next shift, generating a pair of additional quality scoring opportunities.
The Predators carried the play through the overtime period, including a power-play opportunity which generated five quality scoring chances. Erat drew the penalty skating through the Panthers defense one-on-four heading into the offensive zone before getting hooked as he was about to break clear. J.P. Dumont had three good scoring chances on the power-play, Shea Weber
had a blast which missed high, but rebounded off the glass behind the net and popped back out front where Jason Arnott batted another chance on net.
In the shootout, Rinne stopped Nathan Horton's snap shot with a pad save and Cory Stillman's five-hole backhander, the first two Panthers shooters. Rich Peverley nearly scored on Nashville's first attempt, but Anderson made a skate save. Erat then deked on his move and tucked a shot inside Anderson's right post. Rostislav Olesz, the final Florida shooter, missed the net wide.
opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season, a power-play marker from Dumont and Ryan Suter
. Suter started the play with a strong hold-in along the right wing half-boards. From his knees he backhanded a pass to Dumont in the corner. Dumont settled the play down and waited patiently while Weber cut back door. Dumont slid the pass through traffic perfectly to Weber for a snap shot into the upper corner with 3:31 remaining in the first period.
The Panthers answered back 1:03 later on an innocent looking play. Keith Ballard relayed a pass to Olesz entering the offensive zone. Olesz split Greg de Vries and Dan Hamhuis at the blue line for a breakaway attempt and buried his shot low to the stick side for his second goal of the season.
Florida grabbed the lead midway through the second period on another innocent looking play. The Panthers dumped the puck softly into the Nashville end and the Predators were unable to settle the play. The Florida forecheck created a scramble in the defensive zone. Radek Dvorak knocked down a clearing attempt and Kamil Kreps picked up the loose puck and fed Karlis Skrastins alone in the center slot area. Skarastins snapped the shot home for this second goal of the season.
The Arnott-Dumont-Patric Hornqvist line was the most effective grouping for the Preds, combining for 13 shots on the game. The combo had a pair of quality scoring opportunities early in the first period with the game scoreless, both deflections by Dumont off shots from the wing. Late in the second period, the line nearly tied the score at 2-2, but Dumont’s shot just missed the far post, the culmination of a pretty passing sequence to create the scoring chance.
The Predators have earned points in 4 consecutive games (3-0-1) ... J.P. Dumont extended his scoring streak to 7 consecutive games (2g, 7a) with his first period assist ... Ryan Suter
extended his scoring streak to a career-best 4 consecutive games (0g, 5a). Suter's previous career-long was a 4-game scoring streak from Jan. 19-24, 2008 (0g, 5a) ... Martin Erat
extended his scoring streak to 4 consecutive games (3g, 1a) ... Shea Weber
has scored goals in back-to-back games for the second time this season, tying his career-long goal scoring streak set six times previously.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On the Predators showing character in the third period…
“We did, but I certainly don’t want to take anything away from the opposition. I don’t think we were as emotionally charged up or into it early because sometimes it’s a little generic playing a team from the other conference. I thought they played a really good road game. They didn’t give us much and kept us to the outside. We really couldn’t get any momentum going and that can get really frustrating; especially for the home team. You really want to get ahead and force things. I definitely thought we showed a lot of character in the third period. We got a goal by going in the hard and Martin Erat
was able to knock it in the net. I thought after that we played pretty well. It does show a lot of character when you come back, especially when you feel like you’re not playing as well as you can. A lot of that had to do with Florida playing a really good road game tonight. They were tough and have a really good, you team.”
On Pekka Rinne…
“I thought Pekka played a great game tonight. He was very, very good. He was obviously very good in the shootout. I thought when it was 2-1 he made a couple of great saves. If they had scored there I am pretty sure we’re sitting here right now singing a different tune. He was really solid and in the shootout he was really sound.”
On switching the lines of Erat and Legwand…
“The way they played they sort of sucked the energy out of the building. We’re really good when the energy is going and I thought I need to flip-flop. I thought Tootoo could get us some energy and he did. That line got us a big goal and got the crowd into it. I think that is when we are our best so that was the primary switch there.”
Gaining momentum into the road trip…
“You always want to be sure you win your last home game before you go on a long road trip so you feel good. I think there’s enough pressure going on a long road trip that we’re going to have to be really good and get some points, so there’s no need to put any more pressure by losing. I think going on this road trip we feel pretty good and we’ve got points our last four games. We got 7 out of 8 points so that’s a good stretch for us. We need to go into Vancouver and Canada and get that trip started off right. If we do it could be real good for us.”
On Martin Erat…
“Marty is a very creative guy, a creative thinker. He always has a lot of ideas and sometimes in the shootout he gets a lot of those ideas going. He’s got two or three key moves that when he does them I don’t think there are too many goaltenders that will have a chance of stopping him. He really focused and realized we needed those two points so he bore down and got us the goal.”
Forward Martin Erat
On the team’s success…
“We’re just playing good defense. We’re breaking them down, trying to get the puck deep; forecheck them and get the chances going.”
On the importance of the win before the road trip…
“It’s very important to get the win because it’s a long road trip. We have to take every point from every game that we can. It doesn’t matter if it’s Florida or Detroit.”
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On his improvement…
“It’s natural once you get a couple games under you. It gets easier – you get used to the pace and the skill level that an NHL player has. I get more comfortable all the time in the net.”
On the scouting report on Florida for the shootout…
“Our goalie coach, Mitch Korn, tells us what they are normally trying to do and it helps a lot. He does a good job with scouting those players.”
On the importance of the win before the road trip…
“It’s huge mentally. It’s going to be a long road trip and it’s a good way to start it at home winning these last three home games.”
Defenseman Shea Weber
On his hot streak…
“I’m just happy that we got the win. It was a tough game for us and we battled back and got the win.”
On Pekka Rinne’s play…
“He played great. He shows more and more confidence every time he plays and we’re happy to have him back there.”
On the win before the road trip…
“We have to make good on all our games here and play well on the road as well.”
On Erat’s goal waking up the offense…
“We got stuck in a little bit of a rut for a while after we got off to a good start. But we battled back and found a way to win.”
On J.P. Dumont’s assist…
“He’s a world-class player that can make plays in tight spots and that’s just another one of his great passes.”
|Three star selections