The Nashville Predators beat the Detroit Red Wings in front of a sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena 3-1 off of goals from rookies Jonathan Blum and Blake Geoffrion. It was Nashville's fourth win over the Wings this season, pushing their series lead to an impressive 4-1 over their rivals from Detroit. But more importantly, the victory gave the Preds a much needed two points, bumping them into the last playoff spot in the West tied with Chicago at 84.
Some thoughts on the game and video highlights after the jump:
- Niklas Kronwall had an apparent goal waved off in the first period. Kronwall's shot beat Pekka Rinne, but Tomas Holmstrom was called for goaltender interference. It was a break for Nashville, but the right call nonetheless.
- After killing off Shea Weber's penalty, Sergei Kostitsyn was called for elbowing Filppula, and Cleary capitalized. The Predators were playing with fire, committing back-to-back penalties in the first, and when you're up against a team like Detroit, eventually you're gonna get burned.
- It was awesome to see Blake Geoffrion get his first goal in Nashville, especially coming at such a crucial time in a crucial game. The Predators were on the powerplay and Hornqvist made a nice pass in front that Geoffrion put home. Blake's got a bright future in Nashville.
- After so many great first periods followed by complete meltdowns this season, it was great to see Nashville playing so well in the second period, registering 18 shots.
- Not to be outdone by his fellow rookie standout, Jonathan Blum netted a power play goal of his own, sending a Patric Hornqvist rebound past Jimmy Howard. It's great to see the young guys crash the net like they did tonight, something Nashville hasn't seen much of in the past few weeks.
- Pekka. Freaking. Rinne. This guy has had the Red Wings number all season, and he continued his stellar form tonight, stopping 39 of 40 shots including a highlight reel save in the first, and some brilliant work in the last 4 minutes, helping kill off a Ryan Suter penalty which sealed the deal for Nashville. The Vezina and Hart trophy candidate will more than likely get some much needed rest tomorrow at Buffalo, keeping him fresh for the final stretch to the playoffs. Lord knows the Preds will need him.
- David Legwand put the icing on the cake, netting one of his signature empty net goals with 29 seconds left to clinch the win and send Bridgestone Arena into a frenzy. Legwand, according to Josh Cooper, is tied for third in the NHL this season with three empty netters.
- Sergei Kostitsyn put in another impressive game after nearly falling off the map for the past month, contributing 2 assists in the victory. He has 3 goals and 3 assits this season against the Red Wings. Edit: Patric Hornqvist had 2 assists last night, Kostitsyn had 1. Thanks to Only Fan in J. C. for catching that.
- A note on the crowd: There were a lot more red-clad fans then we would've liked, but it made for a great atmosphere. It just pumped up Nashville fans even more and the game had an almost playoff-like feel to it. The fans also gave another one of their signature standing ovations late in the third during the penalty kill.
- There's no time to celebrate the win, however. Nashville will have a quick turnaround, flying to Buffalo to take on the Sabres, fresh off of an 8-2 thrashing of Atlanta (pun very intended) and locked in a fight for a playoff spot of their own, tomorrow at 4. Sure they're eighth place now, but with Calgary and Anaheim breathing down their necks, it's time to re-focus and prepare for another hard fought battle.
Some postgame comments from Barry Trotz courtesy of PredsOnTheGlass.com: