Had we not been on the brink of passing out from exhaustion, we would have had this post up right after last night’s game ended because… did you see that Predators team?!
Normally an intimidating and hostile place for an opposing team to visit, the Predators had no fear walking into The Joe last night and taking back the 4th position in the Western Conference playoff race from the Detroit Red Wings. In a nutshell, if the Predators can continue to play the way they did last night, Predators fans better get ready for a long and prosperous post season. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in the Motor City:
- Martin Erat and Roman Josi were back in the lineup last night, a relieving sign since Marty has been missed on the SK-Fish-Marty line. Hal Gill has been truly missing Roman Josi, for these two have a chemistry only Disney can create. Jordin Tootoo came off the scratched list himself, his upper-body injury proving to be nothing to worry over. Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Brian McGrattan, and Jack Hillen rounded out the scratched list.
- The first period remained scoreless, with both Pekka Rinne and the newly-returned Jimmy Howard blocking some key shots on goal. Nashville out-shot Detroit 9 to 7 in the first period, but even though his first game back due to injury, Jimmy Howard was ready to go.
- Gabriel Bourque was finally able to get the best of Howard at 13:05 during the 2nd Period, sending a wrist shot over the goalie’s shoulder. Jordin Tootoo picked up his first assist since February 28th (24th assist) along with Hall Gill (12th assist) on Bourque’s 6th goal of the season.
- Francis Bouillon would put even more pressure on Detroit with a wrist shot of his own at 19:27 (ROAD GOO GOOS!). While Detroit’s defense was focused on Alexander Radulov, Frankie was able to sneak in and put the Predators up 2-0 for his 3rd goal of the season. Radulov (3rd assist) picked up the assist on Frankie’s goal, too.
- Alexander Radulov would out-dance Detriot and Howard once again, sealing his 2nd goal of the season at 2:40 in the 3rd Period. Andrei Kostitsyn (17th assist) and Pekka Rinne (5th assist) picked up the assists on A-Rad’s goal.
- Detroit was finally able to get one past Pekka Rinne at 16:57 with a wrist shot from Jiri Hudler for his 24th goal of the season.
- Shea Weber added a nail to the coffin for Detroit at 19:20 with a bouncing empty-netter, his 17th goal of the season. David Legwand (32nd assist) picked up the assist on the captain’s bouncer.
- Obviously, all of the “Pekka-ing” around town channeled the Finnish goalie, for Pekka Rinne was unstoppable last night (minus one goal, of course). Pekka was able to stop 31 of Detroit’s 32 shots on goal last night, giving Peks his 42nd win. Check out this unbelievable video of Pekka Rinne completely robbing Henrik Zetterberg from a goal.
- In typical Nashville fashion, the Predators were out-shot 27 to 32, but thanks to Pekka, the defensive lines, and accurate shots, Nashville proved to be the better team last night.
- Although playing like a Stanley Cup contender would, the Predators had their share of penalties last night. Although only one more than Detroit, it was still more than they needed to risk. Here are the three penalty box buddies:
- Paul Gaustad – 5:42 2nd Period – Tripping
- Nick Spaling – 14:04 2nd Period – Hooking
- Alexander Radulov – 16:24 2nd Period – Too Many Men/Ice
By coming out in Detroit and embarrassing the Red Wings at home, the Predators not only pushed past Detroit for 4th spot, they also boosted their confidence as they come home tonight to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Back-to-back games are rough, so the Predators will need to cling to the confidence of last night to take on Chicago tonight.
The puck drops at 7PM in Smashville.