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Pekka Rinne powers Nashville to 4-3 shootout win over Philadelphia

Pekka Rinne won his third straight game, turning aside 42 Flyers shots to help the Nashville Predators reach the shootout, where he stopped all three Philadelphia shooters. Martin Erat got the winner by beating Brian Boucher in the second round, pushing Nashville to 83 points in the Western Conference and a stronger grasp on 7th place.

Follow after the jump for reaction to tonight's game, and video highlights available on the right-hand sidebar...

It's a late night so I'll sum this one up briefly:

  • Pekka Rinne had one of his best games of the season, and appears to be gaining momentum at just the right time.
  • The Preds, outside of a 1st-period three-goal flurry, were generally outplayed by the Flyers (shots on goal were 45-31 Philly). Once Nashville got a 3-1 lead, it was a matter of holding on for the final two periods.
  • The referees were flat-out horrible in the 3rd period and overtime (even Philly fans noticed). There were two HUGE non-calls (a trip of Arnott and a hold of Legwand during a PK) that led directly to the tying Flyers scores. In the waning seconds of overtime, Scott Hartnell simply embarrassed the refs by throwing shots all over the place without fear of getting called. Referees Dennis LeRue and Kelly Sutherland should be ashamed of themselves tonight.
  • Steve Sullivan's goal was a great example of veteran savvy. He didn't give up on the initial shot, and cut hard around the back of the net for the chance to stuff the puck home.
  • Martin Erat's (or is that Rattier Man's?) goal was another demonstration of what happens when he cuts to the net rather than sticking to the perimeter.
  • Did my eyes deceive me, or did Jerred Smithson leave a drop pass when he had a breakaway instead of shooting the puck? I couldn't believe what I saw there.
  • A great crowd (16,585) was treated to a 1st intermission performance by long-time season ticket holder Vince Gill, and the national anthem was performed by a bagpiper. Big times in Music City!
Perhaps I'll get the advanced stats published tomorrow, but until then, what did you think of tonight's game?

Remember, OtF readers can go here for cheap Nashville Predators tickets.