Joel Ward #29 and Steve Sullivan #26 of the Nashville Predators celebrate a goal scored by Ward against the Chicago Blackhawks during game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on April 20, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators took a 2-1 series lead by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks before an energetic crowd at the Bridgestone Arena tonight, led by 26 saves from Pekka Rinne and David Legwand's goal and two assists. It marks the first time in franchise history that the Preds have led a series 2-1, and gives them the chance to really put the Blackhawks in a hole Thursday night.
Follow after the jump for reaction, and check out the video widget on the right-hand sidebar for all the highlights...
It's a late night, so... bullet-point time!
- David Legwand has flipped the switch in this series, dominating defensively and creating opportunities on the offensive end.
- What did I tell you people? In 5-on-5 play, the Preds can compete toe-to-toe with the Hawks, while special teams is where the challenge lies. Tonight, in 5-on-5 the Preds won 4-0. Chicago went 1-for-4 on the power play, Nashville went 0-for-5.
- Physical play on defense really got the crowd riled up in the 1st period. Shea Weber caught Patrick Kane, and Francis Bouillon leveled Colin Fraser along the boards.
- As sensational as the 2-on-1 that led to Legwand's goal was, give due credit to Kevin Klein for springing Steve Sullivan with a nifty, off-the-boards outlet pass. Klein bounced back resoundingly from a horrid Game 2.
- And that 3rd goal? It's like Pete & Crispy now say on the broadcast...
- The refs really drove the fans nuts with all the ticky-tack calls, but what was worse was how they let more things go in the 3rd period. It's inconsistency more than anything else that frustrates.
- If I had to pick a negative, I'd say that I wasn't crazy about J.P. Dumont's game. He retaliated on a couple occasions that could have cost the Preds a penalty, and got on the wrong side of pucks that let Chicago maintain possession in the Nashville zone. That said, he did tee that Shea Weber goal up nicely.
- Pekka Rinne was simply superb, as he has been for weeks now. He set the tone with an early save on Kris Versteeg, although he mishandled a couple pucks around the crease that gave us all a fright.
- Speaking of Versteeg, he and Sully have a running battle going on in this series. They're taking every opportunity to run each other and have really added some sizzle to the matchup.
- Antti Niemi was decent in the Chicago net, I wouldn't necessarily fault him for any Preds goal in particular.
Who is your Predator of the Game?
David Legwand, GW goal & 2 assists (156 votes)
Pekka Rinne, 26 saves (31 votes)
Steve Sullivan, 2 assists (6 votes)
193 total votes