Nashville Predators center David Legwand enjoyed what is surely one of the most remarkable days any NHL player has ever had, scoring a short-handed goal, earning an assist, and then scoring the game-winning goal in the shootout as the Preds beat Columbus 4-3.
All this, after his wife delivered a son less than two hours before game time!
Follow after the jump for the highlights, advanced even-strength stats, and more on what is being called "the Legwand Hat Trick."
As described by Tom Callahan and Willy Daunic on the post-game radio show, Legwand's wife Lindsey went into labor earlier today, about 2 weeks sooner than expected, and head coach Barry Trotz messaged Legwand basically saying "good luck, we'll get this win without you". After the baby boy was delivered around 5:30 p.m., however, Legwand messaged back saying that he was on his way, and he showed up at the Sommet Center about 10 minutes before the team's pre-game warmup.
As Trotz described in the post-game press conference, you never know what to expect out of a player in that situation; given the excitement, he might be worn out and play awful, or charged up to come out with a great game. Fortunately for Nashville, they got the latter.
Columbus came out and played a strong first period, taking an early lead on an R.J. Umberger goal that was initially waived off under the assumption that it was batted in with a high-stick. What turned out to be the case was that the referee on the spot waived it off, but was overruled by the other ref and the two linesmen, who all thought it was OK. Toronto reviewed the video, but it was ruled inconclusive, the call on the ice stood, and the Blue Jackets had a 1-0 lead.
Later in the period, Nashville continued its solid special teams play with a power play goal from Jason Arnott, who tipped a point shot from Francis Bouillon to tie the game. Just 15 seconds later, however, Umberger added his second score, and Columbus took a 2-1 lead into the 1st intermission.
The Blue Jackets started the second period on a power play, as Arnott had to haul down a Blue Jackets forward with just seconds left in the first as he headed down the slot for a dangerous scoring chance. Instead of just killing off the penalty, however, Legwand scored shorthanded to tie the game up at 2-2. Jacob Voracek basically gave the puck right to Martin Erat, who fed Leggy down low for the score.
Two minutes later, Erat added his own power play goal, giving Nashville a 3-2 lead. With a goal, 4 assists, and a shootout goal in his last seven games, is the Preds' highest-paid player finally springing to life, perhaps?
A consistent story with the Predators this season has been their discipline in staying out of the penalty box, and a brief lapse cost them the lead. Wade Belak basically skewered Jared Boll in front of the bench, and the Blue Jackets scored on the resulting power play to tie the game late in the 2nd.
In the third period, Nashville enjoyed four separate power play opportunities but failed to cash in, and were ultimately fortunate to make it to overtime as Columbus had several dangerous chances on their own late power play, but Pekka Rinne came through with some outstanding saves.
Speaking of goalies, it has to be noted that both of these sophomores were on their game tonight. After the overtime concluded, Steve Mason had stopped 45 of 48 Nashville shots, while Rinne had turned aside 26 of 29 Columbus ones.
In the shootout, Mike Santorelli and David Legwand both scored (bringing Santo to 3-for-3 this season), while Rick Nash scored for Columbus. Rinne turned aside Voracek's attempt in the 3rd round to seal the win for Nashville, its 9th in the last 11 games.
Considering the even-strength statistics below, a continuing point of concern is Santorelli's ability to push the offensive while he's on the ice. Granted, he's not getting prime ice time with elite teammates, but he needs to make a difference when he does get a chance. It seems like game after game, his numbers stick out in this table in the wrong way.
On the other hand, Legwand's numbers are outstanding when you consider that he went up mostly against the top scoring line for Columbus all night. Marcel Goc is also starting to make more and more of an impact in an understated way. Watch, for example, when the Arnott line comes out for a defensive zone faceoff. More often than not, Goc takes Steve Sullivan's place to take the draw, then heads to the bench once the play heads into the offensive zone, so Sully can work his magic there. It's a small detail, but one that helps the Preds put the right players in the right position to succeed.
|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|
|J P Dumont||R||15:06||3||0||1||0||11||7||4||18||16||2|