Nashville Predators beat Sharks 2-1 for 5th straight win

SAN JOSE CA - JANUARY 08: Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators makes a save on a shot by Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion on January 8 2011 in San Jose California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Pekka Rinne put on perhaps his most dominating performance of the season tonight in San Jose, helping the Nashville Predators to their fifth straight win, 2-1. Rinne's 42 saves set a new season-high for him, and with half the season now complete, this victory puts the Preds on pace for another 100-point season. They sit relatively comfortably in 4th place in the Western Conference, with games in hand on the teams immediately behind them, Colorado and Anaheim.

Besides Rinne, the heroes of the night were goal-scorers David Legwand and Sergei Kostitsyn (who now has a five-game scoring streak going), along with the penalty killers, who fended off two opportunities for San Jose. The Sharks didn't get called for a single penalty all night long, marking the second time this season the Predators haven't gotten a power play chance (the other being December 26 vs. St. Louis).

Follow after the jump for the video highlights and a whole lot more!

The Preds' next game comes when they host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, January 11, and the Chicago Blackhawks visit Smashville on Saturday the 15th. Save a few bucks and use our promo code for discount Nashville Predators tickets to these, or any other home game. After a road trip like this, these guys deserve a sellout crowd welcoming them back!

First here's the video highlights and Predators vs Sharks boxscore:

Scattered thoughts on tonight's game:

  • You've got to love Legwand's goal to open the scoring. After taking a shot, there's usually an opportunity to beat your defender and get to the net, and that's exactly what he took advantage of there. Reminds me of Vinnie Johnson, one of my favorite basketball players of all time, who used to do the same thing.
  • Those total shots at the end of the 1st period, though... 32-15! Ouch. The Preds were fortunate that 12 of their 15 attempts were actually on net, but that kind of tilt in overall possession is a terrifying way to start a game on the road. For the game, the totals ended up 81-44 (hence the largely negative Corsi numbers in the table below).
  • The Sergei Kostitsyn goal early in the 3rd which gave the Preds the lead sure looked like an "own goal", didn't it? San Jose defenseman Jason Demers sure reacted like it.
  • The win also completed a rare "California sweep", which the Preds also pulled off from November 11-15, 2008.
  • Andreas Thuresson certainly did what was asked of him. He kept it simple, dished out some hits, and played a surprisingly-high 14:05.
  • Pekka's big game has him up to #4 on the NHL's Save Percentage leaders list... can he keep it rolling? 

And for 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
 Marcel Goc C 19:15 1 2 0 0 9 12 -3 21 26 -5
 Patric Hornqvist R 18:55 4 3 2 2 9 14 -5 21 25 -4
 Sergei Kostitsyn L 18:00 1 0 1 0 9 11 -2 21 20 +1
 David Legwand C 17:26 3 1 1 1 9 16 -7 11 31 -20
 Joel Ward R 17:13 1 0 0 0 8 7 +1 12 13 -1
 Jerred Smithson R 15:53 3 0 1 0 8 5 +3 12 8 +4
 Colin Wilson C 15:44 1 0 0 1 9 16 -7 11 29 -18
 Andreas Thuresson R 14:05 0 0 1 0 6 8 -2 10 10 0
 Marek Svatos R 12:07 2 0 0 2 9 13 -4 11 25 -14
 Chris Mueller C 8:36 1 0 0 0 1 6 -5 1 12 -11
 J.P. Dumont R 7:21 0 0 0 0 1 5 -4 1 13 -12
 Wade Belak R 3:09 0 0 0 0 0 4 -4 0 7 -7
 Ryan Suter D 25:09 0 2 0 3 8 15 -7 21 33 -12
 Shea Weber D 22:26 2 2 0 2 9 13 -4 21 27 -6
 Kevin Klein D 19:52 1 0 0 4 8 16 -8 10 25 -15
 Francis Bouillon D 18:12 0 0 1 2 8 17 -9 10 23 -13
 Shane O`Brien D 15:30 2 1 0 1 10 10 0 14 24 -10
 Cody Franson D 11:07 4 0 0 1 9 7 +2 12 14 -2
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