In a game that had fans nervous due to its trap nature, the Predators and Panthers didn't disappoint. Nashville went up early, fell behind, tied it, and then won it. It was a little crazy, but our cardiac cats (cliche, I know) got it done again. Dan Ellis was strong in net, which is a good sign, while the penalty kill looked pretty effective as well.
The first period was a bit of a bore until its ending, when several chances were exchanged. First Shea Weber had a goal denied at he last instant by the left pad of Scott Clemmensen, then at the other end Dan Ellis stood up to Rotislav Olesz after the endboards at the Bank Atlantic Center sent the puck towards the net on a funny bounce. The Predators had an early power play, but were unable to do much of anything, while Weber was whistled for boarding Michael Frolik with about 40 seconds left in the frame. The period can be expressed well by the shot count- Florida 6, Nashville 4. Yeah.
The Predators killed off the remainder of that penalty as the 2nd period opened, and at 2:41, it happened. David Legwand scored. Colin Wilson got the assist, but that was secondary at the time. Legwand scored his first in 34 games, and we can all breath easier.
Later on, Patric Hornqvist was sent to the sin bin for slashing, but Nashville's penalty kill impressed again-they registered as many scoring chances as the Panthers' power play, with one apiece. Dan Ellis was particularly strong in this period, and needed to be, as Florida earned two power plays and had some extended time in the Predators' zone. To say that the Predators escaped from this period would be putting it lightly - Ellis, quite frankly, was called upon much too often; though he proved up to the task.
For the majority of play, the final period was pretty ugly. First defenseman (you know, clobber Tomas Vokoun on the head guy) Keith Ballard scored by joining the rush at 3:12, then shortly thereafter Stephen Weiss netted his 27th. Nashville was unable to sustain much offensive pressure, as has been the unfortunate norm the last few contests. Nashville wasn't to be outdone, however. Late- too late for my tastes - Patric Hornqvist continued his Rocket Richard impression by potting his 30th goal of the season (from in front of the net, who knew) from Steve Sullivan and Marcel Goc to tie the game. On to overtime....
Barely over a minute in, Nashville's most effective line went to work once more. Marcel Goc and Steve Sullivan combined to get the puck to Francis "Ice" Bouillon, who promptly put the biscuit in the basket, enabling the Nashville Predators to scurry out of town with a stolen two points. It wasn't pretty, and at times it was gutwrenching, but it worked. The Predators have now earned the 94 points that were projected necessary to make the playoffs.
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