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Preds clinch playoff spot with 4-3 overtime win in Detroit

Ryan Suter capped off a high-paced, tight game with the Red Wings this afternoon by scoring 16 seconds in overtime, lifting the Nashville Predators to 98 points on the season and clinching their return to the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Preds held a late 3-2 lead, but Pavel Datsyuk scored with just 37 seconds left to force the extra session.

Follow after the jump for reaction, and check the video widget on the right-hand sidebar for highlights as soon as they become available...

Bullet points appear to be working, so let's stick with that format:

  • You have to admire the Preds' pluck in responding well to the late goal by Detroit, but with the playoffs right around the corner, I think we'd all like to see them lock things down tighter in the final minutes. The Red Wings outshot the Preds 14-6 in the third.
  • Jerred Smithson had a gritty game, working well to get the puck out of the defensive zone and playing especially well on the PK.
  • Dustin Boyd looks better and better with each passing game, setting up a big goal for J.P. Dumont in the 2nd period which gave Nashville a 3-2 lead, and pulling off a move in the 3rd that beat Jimmy Howard in the Detroit net, only to have the puck bounce off the far post and out.
  • Going back to that 3rd Preds goal, Dumont did both the physical work to help force the puck deep, and supplied the skill as well by being ready for Boyd's pass, roofing a nice wrist shot on the one-timer.
  • Pekka Rinne stood strong as Detroit constantly drove traffic to the net. He'll have to get used to congestion like that in the playoffs.
  • Overall, the Predators looked good playing an up-and-down style with the Red Wings, making some savvy plays in the neutral zone that disrupted the Red Wings' attack.
  • Only three Predators didn't have a shot on goal today - Steve Sullivan, Dan Hamhuis, and Colin Wilson.
Overall, it wasn't a perfect game for the Preds, but it was a darned good one. The Preds can now rest up a bit before heading to Phoenix on Wednesday, and hope that Jason Arnott is ready for action by then.

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