The Nashville Predators couldn't quite catch Detroit in the standings tonight, but they did get a step closer, dropping a shootout decision to the San Jose Sharks, 2-1. Both goaltenders, Pekka Rinne and Antti Niemi, stood strong in their crease and came up with several highlight-reel plays.
None of the Nashville shooters scored in the shootout, while Ryan Clowe got the clincher for the Sharks. The Predators pulled to within one point of the Red Wings for 4th place in the Western Conference standings, but Nashville still has one more game in hand.
Rinne made 34 saves in regulation and overtime, weathering some tremendous pressure by San Jose and not yielding many rebound opportunities at all. Patric Hornqvist took the team goal-scoring lead with his 22nd marker of the season, converting on a 1st period power play.
Follow after the jump for your highlights and breakdown...
Cue the video (might take 30-45 minutes post-game to work):
Your random observations:
- Remember how we talked about Nashville's opportunity here being on the power play against a poor San Jose PK unit? That opening goal by Hornqvist was a perfect example. There's no way he should have had that much time to wheel & shoot like that!
- You can tell that Barry Trotz is getting into playoff mode, calling a timeout midway through the 2nd period to give his guys a rest after a Brandon Yip icing.
- It was good to see the reaction by the Preds on the ice after Martin Havlat hooked one of Rinne's knees late in the second period, sending him tumbling awkwardly to the ice.
- Yet another solid night on the dot for Paul Gaustad, as he went 15-for-24, but it wasn't good watching him head for the dressing room with an apparent wrist injury midway through the third period. So many of the other forwards get muscled off the puck, that Gaustad's size & strength really stand out.
- Sergei Kostitsyn with 4 shots? Be still my beating heart...
- That third period was an interesting one - the Preds really dominated the late stages and came close to closing out this one in regulation, which would have been a real blow to San Jose's drive for the playoffs.
- Dan Boyle carved up Ryan Suter & Shea Weber like Ryan Kesler in the playoffs last spring, but Pekka made a great stop there in overtime to keep the Preds alive, didn't he?