Make it Six: Preds run wild over Minnesota in frosty weather; win 5-1

The Nashville Predators extended their NHL-best winning streak to six games tonight, demolishing the Minnesota Wild by a 5-1 scoreline, and all without Matthew Lombardi, Cal O`Reilly, Steve Sullivan, Martin Erat, and Jordin Tootoo.

It was an impressive win for a team coming off a California sweep, which was surely exhausting. Time and again, Nashville is showing a resiliency that is largely unrivaled in the league at this time. It doesn't matter if its Steve Sullivan or Andreas Thuresson - everyone shows up to play, and buys into the system.

Nick Spaling had his first career multi-goal game, while David Legwand, Joel Ward, and Marcel Goc also scored for the Predators. Pekka Rinne made 25 saves in the win.

First here's the video highlights:

 

Ten thoughts on tonight's game:

  • More and more, the Marek Svatos acquisition is looking like a good one. He picked up his second point in a Predators uniform tonight on David Legwand's goal, exchanging several accurate passes with Legwand before putting a laser on the stick of Legwand for him to tip home. It's David Poile's specialty - picking up a talented, but previously unmotivated player and making him fit a need.
  • Lots of credit went (and should've) to Mikko Koivu for his first period goal, who raced down the left side, went to the backhand and rifled a shot past Pekka Rinne, but Francis Bouillon and Cody Franson really should've done more, particularly considering the situation. The marker wasn't technically shorthanded, but it might as well have been, as Cam Barker was just exiting the box.
  • For those of us who are advocates of no-touch icing, Jerred Smithson's 2nd period "boarding" penalty was a prime example. Smithson was simply trying to beat an already falling down Marco Scandella on the play, and bumped his feet, causing him to fall into the boards. It was an awful call, but gave the Wild a power play.
  • Joel Ward made a nice backhanded shot over Jose Theodore for his 5th goal of the year, but Theodore inexplicably failed to corral the rebound and freeze the puck. He's been very good as a secondary option for Minnesota, but you have to think the Wild are ready for Niklas Backstrom to return.
  • Sure, Sergei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist's respective streaks ended, but no one deserved a multi-goal game more than Nick Spaling. Returning from injury, he does pretty much all the little things correctly, and rarely gets credit for it. Tonight, it was truly "Spals to the wall".
  • I'm not sure who kidnapped the old Nashville Predators, but they can keep 'em - this incarnation buzzes the net and makes fewer mistakes than ever before, and there isn't a hotter team in hockey right now.
  • Over the expanse of Nashville's six game win streak, they have allowed seven goals. That's right - seven goals, in six games. That's good goaltending, but its also incredible team defense.
  • It was nice to see Marcel Goc finally pick up another tally, because he's been the glue that's held together one of the Predators' most productive lines from the past few weeks, but hasn't had much to show for it statistically.
  • Is it just me, or were the Wild particularly generous with the puck tonight? Both Ward and Goc's goals came on horrible Minnesota turnovers.
  • With the win, the Predators remain in 4th place in the Western Conference, and will head to Sunrise tomorrow for a Thursday battle against the Panthers, who topped the Capitals tonight. Don't look now, but Nashville is now seven points behind Detroit for the Central Division lead, with one less game played.
Lastly, 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
 Nick Spaling C 14:42 3 1 0 0 13 5 +8 16 7 +9
 Marcel Goc C 14:38 2 0 1 1 6 3 +3 9 10 -1
 Patric Hornqvist R 14:21 2 0 1 0 4 3 +1 7 10 -3
 David Legwand C 14:06 1 1 1 0 4 5 -1 11 9 +2
 Sergei Kostitsyn L 13:54 0 0 0 0 4 3 +1 7 10 -3
 Joel Ward R 13:50 5 0 0 0 11 6 +5 13 7 +6
 Jerred Smithson R 13:09 0 0 1 0 9 5 +4 11 6 +5
 Colin Wilson C 12:38 0 2 0 0 3 6 -3 9 9 0
 Marek Svatos R 12:10 0 0 0 0 3 5 -2 10 8 +2
 Chris Mueller C 9:17 1 0 0 0 8 7 +1 11 10 +1
 Andreas Thuresson R 9:16 1 1 1 0 9 5 +4 12 9 +3
 J.P. Dumont R 7:48 2 0 0 0 7 4 +3 10 7 +3
 Francis Bouillon D 19:40 1 1 0 4 11 7 +4 16 15 +1
 Kevin Klein D 18:59 4 1 0 0 11 6 +5 13 10 +3
 Shea Weber D 17:39 3 0 0 0 11 5 +6 15 9 +6
 Ryan Suter D 15:46 0 1 0 1 9 4 +5 12 8 +4
 Cody Franson D 14:25 2 2 0 2 6 9 -3 16 16 0
 Shane O`Brien D 13:42 0 0 0 0 6 7 -1 12 10 +2
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