Pekka Rinne made just 17 saves for his 5th shutout of the season and four different teammates tallied two points apiece as the Nashville Predators dominated the Minnesota Wild 5-0 in front of a crowd of 16,615 at Bridgestone Arena.
Colin Wilson and Jason Arnott were named 1st and 2nd stars of the game with a goal and assist each, as 9 different Preds made the scoresheet tonight. Follow after the jump for reaction and advanced even-strength stats, and check the right-hand sidebar for video highlights...
For a team that was supposedly battling for its playoff life, Minnesota really didn't put up much of a fight in this one. Colin Wilson got the scoring started by blocking a point shot and chasing down the rebound ahead of a flat-footed defenseman, showing the presence of mind to protect the puck with his body before beating Josh Harding for the goal.
Wilson had a dynamite game tonight, and later on made an impressive play spinning away from a defender along the boards to set up a dangerous chance for Francis Bouillon, on which Harding made a great glove save. Since joining Jason Arnott's line last week, Wilson has 4 goals and 2 assists in 6 games. Harding was pulled in the 2nd intermission as Wade Dubielewicz mopped up the 3rd.
Pretty much everybody had a good night for Nashville, though. Arnott got a fluke goal when he picked up a rebound all the way over at the sideboards and threw it on net, only to catch Harding napping and still out of position. That came in the final minute of the first period, and gave the Preds a 3-0 lead. Fortunately, Nashville kept pushing for the rest of the night, unlike Tuesday vs. Philadelphia when they were kept back on their heels by an attacking Flyers squad.
J.P. Dumont scored his 16th goal of the season, with Dustin Boyd getting his first Predators point on the assist. Martin Erat added two assists, and Marcel Goc scored his 12th goal.
The Preds even dominated Minnesota on the faceoff dot 42-25, led by Arnott's 12-for-15 performance. The power play went 1-for-3, as Patric Hornqvist scored in the third period to send the fans into a Frosty-driven frenzy.
The win, Nashville's fourth in a row, lefts them to 85 points with eleven games remaining. They are within striking distance of 5th and 6th in the Western Conference, and five points ahead of Detroit in 8th, which has two games in hand.
Goofy fact: The 17 saves is the least a Predator goalie has ever had to make in a shutout, tying a record set by Tomas Vokoun on March 10, 2001 vs. San Jose, and tied by Dan Ellis on November 25, 2008 vs. St. Louis, and Rinne on January 13, 2009 against Toronto.
This may well have been the most lopsided game of the season, with only two players on the wrong side of the Corsi number, and even those were only a -1. All of the lines got their scoring chances, but the Wilson-Arnott-Erat combo may well have been the best of the bunch.
The outstanding point below is, once again, the very even distribution of ice time. All of the forwards ranged from 14:58 to 11:56 at evens, while the D went from 19:15 to 17:05. I truly believe that depth is going to be a major asset for this team down the stretch and into the playoffs, and by keeping the lines rolling Nashville has a chance to cash in when other teams ice their lesser units.
|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||11:56||2||1||0||0||7||3||4||13||5||8|