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Predators 3, Islanders 1: Big first period gives Preds matinée win

The Predators struck early and often en route to a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders in a rare weekday afternoon game.

Sergei Kostitsyn, Matt Halischuk and David Legwand all scored for Nashville and Pekka Rinne made 36 saves on 37 shots to get the win. The Predators continued their hot streak and have won eight games in their last nine tries.

The early start should benefit the Predators, as they'll be able to get a little bit of a rest before turning around for a primetime game against the New York Rangers tomorrow night on national TV.

Video highlights and post-game reaction from today's win after the jump:

Video Highlights: (might take 30-45 minutes to show up)

Your random observations:

  • There was a little bit of apprehension in pre-game when it was announced that Ryan Suter would be a game-time decision, but most of that quickly evaporated when the Predators put together one of the best first periods they've played of the year.
  • Kostitsyn gave Dirk fits yet again, going one-for-one shooting in the first (he didn't register a shot on goal the rest of the game). But what a snipe. Sergei has got a laser for a shot, it's just a question of how often he wants to use it.
  • And how about Matt Halishcuk? Say what you want about the guy, but he's a hard worker who goes to the net and is near the top of the Preds' scoring list this season because of it.
  • If there was ever a time to use the phrase "tic tac toe" to describe a goal, it was that Wilson-Erat-Legwand play. Those three get criticized for trying to make pretty plays, but it paid off there.
  • I've already used tic-tac-toe and made a Kostitsyn shooting percentage joke, so the cliche threshold has been crossed and I can say this: that 5-on-3 the Predators killed in the second was a defining moment in the game. The Islanders took their timeout and had over a minute of the two-man advantage but came away with nothing to show.
  • The Islanders kept up the pressure and got a lot of good chances, especially after it was announced that Suter wouldn't return, but Rinne came through, stopping 19 shots in the second, and keeping the lead at three.
  • It was also great to see the Predators ratchet up the defensive pressure in the third period. The Islanders did eventually erase the shutout, but there weren't that many quality scoring chances until the goalie was pulled and it was too late.
  • Two things to keep an eye on for tomorrow's game will be the status of Ryan Suter (obviously) and who goes in net for Nashville tomorrow. Lindback would be the obvious choice considering the back-to-back, but this coaching staff has done stranger things. Besides, what better way to showcase your star goaltender than with a game on national TV against an original six team?

Box Score - Game Summary - Event Summary - Corsi Numbers - Shots On Goal Chart