The Nashville Predators pushed their winning streak to six games with a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars, keeping them in the hunt for a favorable playoff position. Mike Fisher broke out with two goals in the second period to provide the margin of victory, with David Legwand also scoring twice, once into the empty net in the final seconds to close out the win. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves, but was the victim of another goofy bounce on a play that seemed like a flashback to Thursday night's follies.
Follow after the jump for the video highlights and a whole lot more!
Next week the Vancouver Canucks play in Nashville on Tuesday, followed by the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night. Take the OTF Discount to save money on Nashville Predators tickets for these, or any other home game!
Let's begin with the video highlights and Stars vs Predators boxscore:
A few quick notes...
- One thing overlooked in the recent winning streak is the step backwards the penalty killing has taken lately. With Goligoski's opening score tonight, the Preds have now given up a PP goal in five straight games, killing 12 out of 18 (66.7%, as opposed to their season-long rate of 84.4% coming in, 6th in the league).
- Legwand's answering score illustrated something I've long suspected; the real value in a wraparound shot like the one Erat took is that it diverts the attention of the goaltender and defense. The initial shot itself is relatively harmless (wraparounds are about the lowest-scoring shots in the game), but they can create havoc at times.
- Seeing Mike Fisher score off the Patric Hornqvist feed was like a breath of fresh air. He's got a nice, heavy shot, but since February 17 against Vancouver, he's endured a streak of 17 goal-less games.
- Both the refs and the hockey gods conspired to let Dallas tie it up 2-2. First, the Stars got away with tripping Shea Weber at the blueline, leading to a rush which ultimately led to a puck deflecting off of Blake Geoffrion's stick, up and over the net and bouncing off Rinne's back into the goal.
- Then lo and behold, two Fisher goals in the same game, let alone the same month? If the Preds can get any kind of offensive production out of him, this team becomes, very, very dangerous.
- All in all, the Preds did a pretty decent job in the 3rd period, especially considering the late penalty they had to kill off to seal the win. This time, when the empty net presented itself, Leggy didn't mess around. Of course, Mike Fisher wasn't on the ice to present a hat trick opportunity...
- David Legwand won 14 of his 21 faceoffs tonight, a strong effort on the dot.
- Barry Trotz is running a very short bench right now, as the 4th line of Dumont-Geoffrion-Wilson got only about 6 minutes of ice time, despite very little special teams play.
- Kudos to Peter Horachek for taking a puck in the face early in the game, then having another close call later on. We sometimes forget how dangerous NHL hockey can be for the coaches, too.
- You have to also love Wade Belak's appraisal of Fisher's two goal effort during the post-game show: "When your wife's not in town, that's usually when you score." Carrie Underwood wasn't quite out of town tonight, but she was playing over at the Grand Ole Opry rather than attend tonight's game.
- Thanks to Terry Crisp for the on-air mention tonight. He wondered early on if the Stars were among the league leaders in blocked shots, so I sent a message along that they were actually only 14th in the league (the Preds are 28th!). However, in the three previous matchups between Dallas and Nashville, the Stars blocked 25, 24, and 12 shots. The league-wide average is around 13 per game, so they definitely had a couple big shot-blocking games earlier this season against the Preds.
- For more post-game reaction we have audio from Barry Trotz, Patric Hornqvist, Mike Fisher, Ryan Suter, Pekka Rinne (just click their names for the MP3's), and check out the recap over at Defending Big D.
As 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|