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Nashville Predators hold off Ottawa Senators in wild 6-5 OT win

In another wild game between the Predators and Senators in Ottawa, Nashville took a number of leads only to give them back, before finally finishing the Sens off with a power play goal by Shea Weber in overtime, winning 6-5.

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The bounces finally went Nashville's way early in the game as they scored three goals in the 1st period, all of which involved deflections off of a Senators defenseman. Given their difficulty creating offense lately, the Predators weren't about to complain about the "how", and they gladly enjoyed the 3 goal lead, at least until they gave it away in the 3rd period as the Senators potted three goals over the course of seven minutes.

It all started with a long shot from Ryan Suter out on the right point; it deflected off Picard, and put the Preds up 1-0 just 5:03 into the game. A big highlight came on defenseman Cody Franson's 1st NHL goal, which came just three minutes later. He jumped up into the slot, took a feed from J.P. Dumont, and sent a hard shot in on Ottawa goalie Pascal Leclaire. While the initial save was made, the rebound caromed right off Alexandre Picard and into the net.

With Franson's goal giving the Preds momentum, they kept working the simple formula of putting the puck on net, and charging hard for the rebound. J.P. Dumont got his 2nd goal of the season just that way, as Joel Ward fired the shot, while Dumont was on the spot as it bounced off Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner.

Early in the 3rd, a series of penalties led to a 5-on-3 situation for Ottawa, which they capitalized on with a goal by Chris Campoli, then during a 4-on-4 sequence Nick Foligno scored to make it a one-goal game. The tide swung back towards Nashville as Mike Fisher took a Holding penalty, which made for 5 penalties in the opening 4:29 of the 3rd period, as opposed to 4 penalties during the entire 1st and 2nd periods.

Predictably, however, the Predators power play fizzled, which left them scrambling to hold on, rather than pressing the advantage. When Milan Michalek beat Pekka Rinne with a wrister to the far side at 8:10 of the third, what was really a tie game felt like an Ottawa tidal wave.

What turned things back in Nashville's favor was the formula that worked early in the game; as he received the puck back near the blueline, Alexander Sulzer fired a relatively weak shot towards the Ottawa net, but it led to a rebound that Shea Weber pounced on to put the Predators ahead 4-3. The assist marked Sulzer's first career NHL point, so it was a nice night for both of Nashville's rookie defensemen.

The wild ride wasn't done, however, as Anton Volchenkov buried a shot into an empty net to tie the game with 4:20 left in the third. Jason Spezza carried the puck down the right side, pulling Pekka Rinne entirely out of his crease, then fed the puck back into the slot for the easy score by Volchenkov.

From there it took the Miracle of Miracles, a genuine Power Play goal, for Nashville to take a late 5-4 lead. The Predators PP being what it is, however, they left Chris Phillips wide open in front of their own net during a late push by Ottawa, where he scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game with just 2 seconds left, sending it to OT.

The ultimate killer for the Senators was three late penalties, which gave the Preds those PP chances, including the final one in overtime that led to Shea Weber's (slightly misfired) shot from up high beating Leclaire for the win.

All in all, there was a mix of positives and negatives coming out of tonight's game. Franson's goal and Sulzer's assist were also accompanied by +2 ratings on the night, while Dumont, Suter and Weber all had multi-point games. On the downside, however, Pekka Rinne gave up a couple bad goals among 5 in the 3rd period, and on a night where Nashville scored 6 times, Martin Erat and David Legwand combined for 0 goals, 0 assists, and a -5 rating.