LEGWAND ELEVATES PLAY IN POSTSEASON
With a goal and a pair of assists in Tuesday’s Game Three victory, David Legwand became just the second Nashville Predator to notch three-or-more points in a playoff game, joining Paul Kariya, who notched a franchise-record four assists in Game One of the club’s Western Conference Quarterfinal series with San Jose in 2006 (4-3 win). The goal, scored four minutes into the second frame, was also his first playoff game winner after a franchise record 32 regular-season game winners. Coupled with his first career multi-point performance in Game One, Nashville’s first-ever draft pick (second overall in 1998) now has five points (1g-4a) in three 2010 playoff games, already the third-highest total in a playoff series in franchise history. The Detroit native posted 38 points (11g-27a) in 82 games during the regular season, and entered the postseason with six points (2g-4a) in 19 games.
RINNE SOLID AGAIN
Sophomore goaltender Pekka Rinne picked up his second playoff victory in his third career try on Tuesday by stopping 26-of-27 Blackhawk shots. In his first career playoff appearance, the 258th overall selection in the 2004 Entry Draft has turned aside 82-of-86 shots overall, including 64-of-66 shots at even strength. His .953 save percentage, .970 even-strength save percentage and 1.35 goals-against average all lead the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Rinne was the third-lowest draft pick to appear in the NHL this season, with only Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak (271st overall in 2003) and Ottawa’s Brian Elliott (291st overall in 2003) being picked later.
ERAT CONVERTS PENALTY SHOT Martin Erat scored the franchise’s first-ever playoff penalty-shot goal at 14:25 of the third period, the second penalty shot attempt in Predators history (April 7, 2004 WCQ Game One: Steve Sullivan on Detroit’s Manny Legace, no goal). It was the 19th successful attempt on the 59th penalty shot in Stanley Cup history. The last penalty shot prior to Tuesday was by Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin on May 1, 2008 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He was stopped by N.Y. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The last successful penalty shot before Erat’s came on April 15, 2008 when Philadelphia’s Mike Richards beat then-Washington Capitals goalie and current Chicago netminder Cristobal Huet in Game Three of the teams’ Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
PLAYOFF QUICK HITS
Nashville is 2-2 all time in Game Fours, but 2-0 in them on home ice. It topped Detroit by a 3-2 score in 2008, with all three goals coming from defensemen (Dan Hamhuis, Shea Weber and Greg de Vries) and registered the first playoff shutout in franchise history in 2004, topping the Red Wings 3-0 behind 41 saves by Tomas Vokoun and goals by Steve Sullivan, Vladmir Orszagh and Greg Johnson… Nashville is one of three teams (with Boston and Washington) to overcome a second intermission deficit to claim victory… The Predators entered Monday’s games tops in the playoffs in five-on-five goals for/against ratio (2.50, 5 to 2)… Nashville is outhitting Chicago 100-68 in the series, and averaging 33 hits per game in the playoffs after averaging 17 hits per game in the regular season… David Legwand entered Wednesday’s games tied for fourth in playoff plus/minus rating (plus-five)… With three points (2g-1a) in three games this series, J.P. Dumont is first on the franchise’s all-time postseason goals list (6), and tied for first in playoff points (6g-5a) with Legwand (3g-8a)… Shea Weber entered Wednesday’s games as the only player in the postseason with double-digit totals in both hits (10) and blocked shots (11)… Among players taking at least 15 draws, Jerred Smithson Ranks fourth in the postseason in face-off efficiency (66.7 percent)… The Predators have the fewest man games of NHL playoffs experience of anyone in this year’s postseason (453)… Hamhuis is the only player to dress for all 25 of the club’s playoff games.