Predators 3, Panthers 1: Hooray for the new guys

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 03: Andrei Kostitsyn #46 of the Nashville Predators scores his first goal as a Predator at 11:46 of the first period against the Florida Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center on March 3, 2012 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators once again managed to bring home a victory despite a rocky ride to the finish, as the Florida Panthers created a number of chances but couldn't put a dent in the Preds' 3-1 lead. The newcomers stood out in this one, as Andrei Kostitsyn tallied a goal and an assist, Paul Gaustad provided stalwart defensive work, and Hal Gill broke up a dangerous scoring opportunity with his absurdly long reach.

Pekka Rinne made 39 saves to push his record to 36-13-7, and 5-0-1 in his last six games.

Follow after the jump for your highlights and breakdown...

Cue the video (might take 30-45 minutes post-game to work):

Your random observations:

  • Yeah, that opening goal was pretty much exactly what we've been looking for out of Andrei Kostitsyn, right? He got the puck with a bit of space, and didn't hesitate to take a wrister that he nailed just inside the far post.
  • Despite getting out-shot 15-6, the Preds continued to defy the odds and stretched the lead to 2-0 on that early 2nd-period goal by Fisher. That one was a wonderful example of the quick shot being more effective sometimes than the big slapper. He took Erat's nifty pass an immediately put it to Clemmensen's far side, leaving him no time to react.
  • AK46 pretty much cancelled out that sexy goal he scored by failing to backcheck Wolski on Florida's goal. He just stopped moving his feet around the blueline and left Wolski wiiiiiiiide open for the score.
  • He made THAT up, of course, with a sick pass to spring Legwand for the third Preds goal, early in the 3rd period. The score capped off a wild sequence of up-and-down play that we don't get to see very often around these parts.
  • Paul Gaustad sure lived up to the billing, eh? Dominating on the faceoff dot (winning 15 of 22), and led all forwards with 3:10 of shorthanded ice time as the Preds killed off all 3 Florida power plays. Oh, and he forechecks like a wrecking ball.
  • Roman Josi had some terrifying work on the PK, however, chipping the puck right into trouble at times.
  • How quaint was it to see Jordin Tootoo take a bit of a shot at ex-teammate Jerred Smithson, who then responded with a chirp of his own?
  • Sergei Kostitsyn did his best to jump-start the Panthers' attack with a few giveaways of his own, but Pekka just absorbed everything, leaving little for Florida to work for in front of the net. On one chance in particular, Hal Gill swiped back with his stick and broke up what would have been a dangerous breakaway.
  • Kudos to Pete & Terry for calling out the officials for blowing the call on the late penalty which Martin Erat drew. That should have been an automatic goal due to the empty net.
  • If you missed the game tonight on TV, the real highlight was the intermission segment focusing on Brian McGrattan and his personal journey - hopefully we'll see that online soon and share it here.

Box Score - Game Summary - Event Summary - Corsi Numbers

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