Erat, power play lead Preds to 3-1 win over New Jersey

NEWARK NJ - DECEMBER 17: Colin Wilson #33 of the Nashville Predators watches a shot by Shea Weber #6 elude Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils at 19:33 of the first period at the Prudential Center on December 17 2010 in Newark New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

[Game Summary] - [Event Summary] - [Faceoff Report] - [SB Nation] - [In Lou We Trust]

The suddenly red-hot Nashville Predators won their 5th straight game tonight, a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. It wasn't very pretty, and at times it was extremely boring, as evidenced by the shot totals. The Predators moved to 40 points on the year, which puts Nashville to 4th in the Western Conference as of this writing and just 3 behind the Red Wings in the Central Division. They have points in 10 straight games, and in 15 out of 18. 

Steve Sullivan scored his 9th goal of the season, while Martin Erat potted 2 power play goals. Mattias Tedenby scored for New Jersey, and Anders Lindback made just 15 saves in the win. After the jump, more thoughts and your video highlights.

Ten thoughts on tonight's game: 

  • Shea Weber showed good awareness to put the puck on net on Nashville's first goal, but it was pretty weak goaltending from Martin Brodeur, honestly. It was tipped by Steve Sullivan, but the shot hit him square in the arm and trickled over the line. Either way, though, the Preds were fortunate to get on the board first after an extremely slow first period. 
  • Nashville's first power play looked anemic, as per usual, but the next 3 times they were deployed, things were much different. A really slick set of crisp passes from Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Martin Erat allowed Erat to fire a vicious wrister past Martin Brodeur's glove for a 2-0 lead in the second period, and in the 3rd, Erat got his 2nd of the night by tipping home a Ryan Suter shot. 
  • Tonight marked the Nashville debut of Steve Begin, who was recalled from Milwaukee yesterday to help ease the loss of Patric Hornqvist to injury. It was a fairly inauspicious evening for the new number 28 - he played alongside J.P. Dumont and Nick Spaling, recording 2 penalty minutes and logging just 7:47.
  • Jason Arnott's first game against the Predators since being traded looked very much like the way he went out - lethargic. As Jim Diamond noted on Twitter during the game, it looked like Arnott's was "skating as if his feet [were] in concrete."
  • The scoreline might lead one to believe the Preds had an easy time of things, but that wasn't really the case, particularly late in the 3rd, when the Devils pinned them in their own zone for what seemed like an eternity. These problems could well be just a product of all Nashville's injuries, but the Predators have to do a better job of keeping things even. 
  • With an assist on Nashville's 3rd goal, Sergei Kostitsyn extended his point streak to eight games, which is the team's longest since Ryan Suter did it in March 2009. In addition to the assist, he played 18 minutes, which was 2nd-highest on the team by a forward. It may be a bit early to say the trade has worked out, but Kostitsyn's earned every bit of playing time.
  • The Preds held New Jersey to a meager 16 shots on goal, which is probably a good thing, because Anders Lindback looked quite a bit shakier than he has in previous nights. With the Los Angeles Kings waiting in Nashville tomorrow night, I would guess that Mark Dekanich gets his first career NHL minutes, or Pekka Rinne returns from injury.
  • Tonight's game was so boring, this is your eighth bullet. As long as the team is winning, I don't care what style of hockey they play...but yikes.
  • On Mattias Tedenby's power play goal, Ryan Suter would've done well to close down the space between the shooter and his goaltender. Tedenby had all day to pick his spot, and Lindback didn't have much chance. 
  • A motivated Martin Erat is a joy to watch. Tonight, Marty was all over the ice, forechecking, playing defense, and most of all, shooting the puck. Let's hope he brings that again tomorrow night, because the Kings are a step up from the New Jersey Devils. 

Game highlights:

And 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
 Cal O`Reilly C 13:50 0 0 0 0 4 9 -5 5 20 -15
 Sergei Kostitsyn L 13:47 0 0 0 0 2 5 -3 7 13 -6
 Martin Erat R 13:21 0 0 0 0 2 5 -3 7 13 -6
 Jerred Smithson R 13:21 2 0 0 0 7 4 +3 10 5 +5
 Colin Wilson C 12:43 3 0 0 0 4 6 -2 5 17 -12
 Jordin Tootoo R 12:38 1 0 0 0 7 2 +5 10 4 +6
 Marcel Goc C 12:22 2 1 0 0 2 2 0 7 9 -2
 Steve Sullivan L 12:06 1 0 0 0 4 5 -1 5 15 -10
 Joel Ward R 11:36 3 1 0 0 7 3 +4 10 5 +5
 Nick Spaling C 9:21 0 0 0 0 2 1 +1 3 3 0
 J.P. Dumont R 8:06 1 0 0 0 2 1 +1 3 3 0
 Steve Begin L 7:47 0 0 1 0 2 2 0 3 4 -1
 Ryan Suter D 20:23 0 3 0 4 9 4 +5 16 14 +2
 Francis Bouillon D 17:16 0 0 0 0 3 8 -5 6 17 -11
 Shea Weber D 16:57 0 0 3 1 6 4 +2 13 8 +5
 Kevin Klein D 16:06 0 1 0 3 3 7 -4 6 19 -13
 Shane O`Brien D 13:06 0 0 0 0 6 4 +2 6 8 -2
 Alexander Sulzer D 10:19 2 0 0 2 3 3 0 3 8 -5
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