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Predators 3, Avalanche 2: Nashville melts the clock

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The Nashville Predators got right back into the win column by defeating the Colorado Avalanche tonight 3-2, in a game which appeared lopsided after two periods, but ended up as a nailbiter in the final seconds. Pekka Rinne made 27 saves to earn the victory, Martin Erat led the scoring with a goal and an assist, and Matt Halischuk tallied an assist in his first game since March 19.

Follow after the jump for the video highlights and a whole lot more!

The Detroit Red Wings are here Saturday afternoon, in what could prove to be a preview of the playoffs, or even a battle for the Central Division title. Take the OTF Discount to save money on Nashville Predators tickets for this, or any other home game!

Let's begin with the video highlights and Predators vs Avalanche boxscore:

A few thoughts on tonight's game:

  • Obviously, seeing the kid line of Wilson-Geoffrion-Halischuk get a 1st period goal was hugely encouraging. Halischuk has a real opportunity to earn some playoff ice time at J.P. Dumont's expense if he can keep up the high-energy effort.
  • Speaking of such... how do you like "Matt Hustlechuk"?
  • After taking that 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission, it was even better to see the Preds come out strong in the 2nd, outshooting Colorado by a 18-5 margin. Beat writer Adrian Dater even opined, "Avs starting to skate as if embalming fluid in water bottles."
  • Let's get a show of hands, how many hearts skipped a beat when Martin Erat and Jordin Tootoo both hobbled off the ice during that second period? I wondered right away when Shea Weber's shot caught Marty if it was just a skate issue more than anything else, and that appears to have been the case.
  • While Erat returned to action pretty quickly, Tootoo was gone for the night after taking a spill in the corner. Obviously we'll all keep an ear out for news on that front.
  • I wasn't so crazy about the 3rd period effort, as it seemed like the Preds went into a defensive shell. As a result, they spent most of the time in their own end of the ice trying to avoid trouble. Sure enough, even though Erat helped lift them to a 3-0 lead, they ended up scrambling at the finish to avoid giving up a tying goal as the final horn sounded.
  • For your advanced stats, head over to Time On Ice tonight. The D pairing of Shane O`Brien and Cody Franson had a strong effort, in particular.
  • So now the table is set for Saturday afternoon's tilt with Detroit. If the Preds can win that one in regulation, they pull within two points of the Central Division lead, although the Red Wings would still hold a game in hand. That said, when you consider all the injury troubles this team has struggled through over the course of the season, it's amazing to think they still have a shot at this point.
  • Notably, the Preds didn't have to kill a penalty tonight, the first game since January 21 of last year against Phoenix.