RINNE REBOUNDS Pekka Rinne turned aside all 32 shots faced in Game Three to record the first postseason shutout of his career. It was the first Predators playoff whitewash since Tomas Vokoun blanked the Detroit Red Wings in Game Four of the 2004 WCQ series (April 13, 2004). Rinne improved to 5-3 with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage in eight games this postseason. The Kempele, Finland native is the franchise’s leader in nearly every postseason goaltending category, including games played (26), wins (13) and saves (711).
With his game-winning goal at 8:10 of the first period on Wednesday night, David Legwand became the first Predator to record multiple game-winners in a single playoff year – he scored the game-winner in Game Five vs. Detroit. Only four other players in the 2012 playoffs have multiple game-winning goals. It was Legwand’s third goal of the postseason – tying him for the team lead. The goal also gives him 10 points (7g-3a) in his last 12 playoff outings dating back to Game Two of the 2011 WCS vs. Vancouver. The Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., native is Nashville’s all-time leader in postseason goals (13), points (27), plus/minus (+7) and games played (45).
In Game Three, the line of Mike Fisher, Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn returned to the form that saw them lead the Predators offense through the second half of the regular season. Fisher notched his first goal of the playoffs at the 9:16 mark of the opening period. That goal gives him 39 career postseason points (18g-21a) – the most of any current Predator. Fisher has points in back-to-back games for the second time this postseason after recording an assist in Game Two. Erat collected his franchise-leading 15th postseason assist on Fisher’s goal. He ranks second to David Legwand on the franchise’s all-time playoff points (23), goals (8) and games played (44) lists. Erat has two points (1g-1a) in the series thus far. Kostitsyn tallied the primary assist on Fisher’s goal; it was his first point since scoring the game-winning goal in Game Three vs. Detroit.
PLAYOFF QUICK HITS
• This is the Predators second consecutive trip to the Western Conference Semifinals. They fell to Vancouver in the 2011 WCS (4-2), after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in the WCQ to advance in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
• Defenseman Francis Bouillon is tied for the playoff lead in plus/minus rating (+8).
• Alexander Radulov has six points (1g-5a) in seven games this postseason. Radulov set a playoff franchise record with assists in four straight games from Game Two thru Five of the WCQ vs. Detroit.
• Ryan Suter (37gp) and Shea Weber (37gp) have each taken the ice in every Predators’ playoff game over the team’s last four trips to the postseason – they are the only players to do so. The duo also ranks first and second respectively among all NHL blueliners still alive in the playoffs in shots.
FOUR PREDS NAMED AWARDS FINALISTS
Nashville will send four representatives to the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20. President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile has been nominated for the General Manager of the Year Award; goaltender Pekka Rinne has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position;” defenseman Shea Weber has been named as a finalist for the Norris Trophy, awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position;” and forward Mike Fisher, who has been nominated for the NHL Foundation Player Award, which “recognizes an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.”