The Nashville Predators closed out their regular season by grinding out a tough 2-1 shootout victory over the St. Louis Blues, lifting them to the 100-point plateau for the third time in the last five seasons, with a 47-29-6 record. Pekka Rinne made 33 saves in regulation and overtime, and turned aside all three attempts in the shootout to push his record to 32-16-5.
Jason Arnott got the lone goal for the Preds during regulation, a 3rd-period one-timer off a slick feed from Shea Weber. In the shootout, Martin Erat beat Ty Conklin with a high wrist shot to seal the win. Follow after the jump for reaction and check the video widget on the right sidebar for the highlights...
Tonight's win keeps the pressure on Detroit and Los Angeles as they play their final games on Sunday. A win or overtime/shootout loss for the Red Wings (at Chicago) would lift them past the Preds, while the Kings would need a win at Colorado.
- J.P. Dumont got some work on a new line with David Legwand and Jordin Tootoo, a trio which generated some good offensive zone possession time, but not so many great scoring chances. There might be some potential there, but I'm guessing when the playoffs start Leggy will be back playing the shutdown role.
- Both goaltenders (Pekka Rinne and Ty Conklin) were outstanding. Rinne's only goal against came when he was completely hung out to dry. Jerred Smithson and Kevin Klein turned the puck over just inside the blue line, leaving plenty of room for Brad Boyes and David Backes to move the puck back and forth across the zone before Backes fired home the tying goal.
- Colin Wilson had a strong game on a line with Jason Arnott and Martin Erat, including one of his cut-spin moves off the sideboards that led to a Nashville power play.
- It was a rough night for the Preds defense, as far too many Blues got loose on breakaway opportunities. Once things were set up within the Nashville zone the Preds generally kept things under control, but one mistake at the offensive blue line can turn into a train wreck pretty quickly.
- It was nice to see Francis Bouillon as part of the starting lineup this evening, drawing a huge roar from the crowd during the pre-game introductions.
- Steve Sullivan did a fine job creating scoring chances, cutting into the middle without fear and actively challenging defensemen.
Come back tomorrow as we review this 2009-10 Nashville Predators season, and of course to find out who they'll meet in the first round of the playoffs...