Wait, this was supposed to be a trap game? Could've fooled me. The Nashville Predators took the New York Islanders to the woodshed tonight, scoring two power play goals, notching a perfect penalty kill, and earning Anders Lindback his 2nd consecutive shutout.
It was a fairly complete performance, and while I don't want to overstate things, there were very few negatives to take away from this one. Patric Hornqvist scored twice, while Sergei Kostitsyn, Jerred Smithson, and Nick Spaling also registered markers.
After the jump, post-game reaction and video highlights.
Ten thoughts on tonight's game:
- The penalty kill has earned all the praise, but it was nice for the Predators to get on the board early with a power play goal - especially on such a slick move by Cody Franson, which allowed Sergei Kostitsyn to tip home the shot. Kostitsyn now has 8 points in his last six games, and the marker enabled the Preds to come out ahead in a period where they didn't really play their best.
- Nashville has a tendency to play down to the level of their opponents, and early in tonight's game, it was more of the same - the first half of the game was akin to taking a sedative, with no scoring chances exchanged and with nothing else exciting happening...
- ...until Shane O`Brien helped create Nashville's second goal, in much the same fashion as the Preds' first. O'Brien leapfrogged (quite literally) a defender at the blueline, and followed up that shocking move with a good shot on net that Patric Hornqvist sent past Dwayne Roloson for his 7th goal of the year. The floodgates opened just minutes after, when Jerred Smithson was rewarded partially by Roloson and partially by some hard work in getting Nashville's third marker of the night.
- Since Pekka Rinne went down, Nashville hasn't missed a beat - and its largely been because Anders Lindback has played as well, if not better than Rinne over the past handful of games. He's calm under pressure, and doesn't seem to get rattled when he lets in a soft goal. Tonight was much of the same - the Giant consistently snuffed out New York's quality chances, using his mobility and level head to great effect.
- I'm obviously pleased with the victory, but you have to feel bad for Islanders fans. As Dirk alluded to in the game preview, the organization's incompetence knows no bounds, and it unfortunately translates to the sheet of ice. If only for the fans' sake, I hope the Isles turn things around soon.
- With the contingency that it was only the Islanders, it was refreshing to see the Predators take and keep a lead throughout the game. It's something they've struggled with this season, and the ability to hold a lead will serve them well as the season progresses.
- Classy move by the coaching staff during the late game 5-on-3 to put Nick Spaling on the unit for a chance at his first career NHL goal, and classy too by Steve Sullivan and Shea Weber to pass up good chances and allow Spaling to notch the power play goal. Perhaps no player on the roster deserved a goal more than Spaling.
- More Lindback - he now has a shutout streak of 121:33, and flat-out robbed the Islanders on several occasions, particularly Rob Schremp. There remains no goalie controversy, but my goodness - Anders Lindback has been spectacular, folks.
- I'd like to tell you that Nashville completely dominated the game, but that wasn't really the case. The final score perhaps spoke more to New York's staggering incompetence than anything excellent the Predators did, as Nashville lost both the faceoff and shot battles. It's a good team that can overcome such things, however, and the Preds did so tonight.
- The Predators are now 6-0-2 in their last 8 games. Patric Hornqvist got going again tonight in a big way, and Sergei Kostitsyn has 8 points in his last 6 games to apparently validate David Poile's gamble. Lindback has two straight shutouts. These are good times in Smashville, aren't they? Bring on the Sharks.
And lastly, your advanced even-strength statistics...
|Even Strength||Individual Totals||Team Totals While Player Is On Ice|
|Player||Pos||EV TOI||Shots||Shts Blkd||Missed Shts||Blocks||SOG For||SOG Ag||SOG +/-||Tot SF||Tot SA||Corsi|