Through the first 55 minutes, it looked like this just wasn't the night for the Nashville Predators. Top goal-scorer Patric Hornqvist was a late scratch due to an upper-body injury, the Sharks had a 2-1 lead and the best offensive chance for the Preds only came when Jordin Tootoo threw a puck to the front of the net from along the end boards.
They saved the best for last, however, pulling off what might have been the most exciting victory of the season. A Sergei Kostitsyn goal tied it, a Colin Wilson score put them ahead, and a nail-biting penalty kill supported by the fine goaltending of Anders Lindback closed out the win. The Preds are now 7-0-2 in their last 9 games, making them the hottest team in the Western Conference as they prepare for a road game at New Jersey on Friday.
Follow after the jump for the whole scoop including video highlights and advanced stats!
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First, your video highlights and Sharks vs Predators boxscore:
- The last-second scratch of Patric Hornqvist was disturbing. Given how David Legwand has only played 9 minutes since November 18 with a situation that kept being called "day to day", we are simply left to wait until we see Horn Dog dress again. Responding to a question from Jim Diamond in the post-game press conference, Barry Trotz indicated that a recall from Milwaukee may be on the way, as Hornqvist is doubtful for Friday.
- Dumping the puck into the zone on the power play can work, but only if other guys are chasing it. Too often, that wasn't the case as the Preds went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
- You have to like the hustle Jordin Tootoo showed by chasing down that puck and throwing it to the front of the net for the perfect tap-in by Scott Nichol, who apparently forgot that he's an ex-Predator for a moment.
- That said, Tootoo's play was like a winning lottery ticket, and outside of that, the Preds failed to generate much offensive pressure at all during the first two periods.
- In the third, as they struggled to get back into the game, the Predators were able to put plenty of shots on net, but most were from the outside until Kostitsyn's goal tied it up at 2-2. That was a classic instance of driving the net, and a great job by him to redirect Weber's pass.
- That winner was a wonderful example of converting on a 3-on-1 rush. The San Jose broadcast crew really skewered Jason Demers for pinching on the play which led to the rush, but Sully did a great job managing the space, and Colin Wilson buried his shot.
- Anders Lindback played another very fine game, including a few heart-stopping saves in the final minute as San Jose poured the pressure on with a late power play. His record is now 8-1-2 with a .930 save percentage, simply spectacular stuff.
- Wade Belak took two early shifts, logging 1:25, then had the rest of the night off. I wonder how his pay ranks compared to assistant coaches around the NHL...
- The Corsi numbers below are pretty interesting, in that I think it reflects the Sharks perhaps letting off the gas as they tried to protect that 2-1 lead in the third. The Predators really tipped the ice, outshooting San Jose 15-8 in the final period.
Here are your advanced even-strength stats:
|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|
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Who is your Predator of the Game?
Anders The Giant (100 votes)
Sergei Kostitsyn (64 votes)
Scott Nichol (27 votes)
Steve Sullivan (4 votes)
Jordin Tootoo (12 votes)
Shea Weber (8 votes)
Colin Wilson (21 votes)
236 total votes