Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Predators Win Crucial Game in Toronto
The Nashville Predators went into the center of the hockey world in dire need of a win and came away with a 2-0 victory. Fighting for their lives in the Western Conference playoff race the Preds took advantage of the struggling Maple Leafs, a team they rarely see.
The game was a defensive battle for the first two periods with the Predators out-shooting the Leafs 16-13 and neither goalie giving an inch. At 5:33 in the third Steve Sullivan made a nifty move crossing the ice near the Toronto blue line skating past two Maple Leafs and wristing a snap shot off Radek Bonk's pants into the net. Initially it was announced as Sully's first goal since February 22, 2007 but was later corrected to credit Bonk with the goal off the deflection. The Predators were really playing well at this point and David Legwand followed with another goal at off the pipes 13:03. Leggy has now gotten 6 points in his last four games.
Pekka Rinne was stellar in goal once again, further laying claim to his argument for being the number one goalie. He stopped all 17 Toronto shots as the Predator defense did a good job of keeping the puck away from the net blocking an additional 13 shots including 4 by Greg Zanon. The shutout was Rinne's fourth of the year in 15 starts.
Steve Sullivan made further strides in his return to his former self taking 19 shifts and logging 11:50 in ice time both numbers similar to his first game last Saturday against the Blackhawks. In addition to his first point he also received a 2:00 minor in the second for tripping. Sully looked a little more comfortable but still didn't receive his first bone jarring hit which appears to be what is lacking in giving him the confidence to dig in and play the brand of hockey that he was known for in the past.
The win moved the Predators back to the .500 mark and into a tie for 11th place in the West, 3 points behind 8th place Columbus. The Predators have now won three of the last four and broke a seven game road losing streak. The Predators three game road trip continues Thursday night with a game in Montreal before returning home for games against Atlanta and New Jersey to close out the pre all-star game part of the season.
Injury Updates... Captain Jason Arnott again was a scratch with an unknown lower body injury. The Preds have indicated that he may be able to return on Thursday. Greg deVris is still out with some form of illness that has left him with a "lack of energy" and is not traveling with the team. Jordan Tootoo was a healthy scratch.
Peverly's New Diggs... Rich Peverly has reported to the Atlanta Thrashers and the articles in the Atlanta press have made him out to be somewhat of a savior for a team going nowhere. Granted he rarely played center with the Preds which is his natural position but there is little to indicate a return to his AHL point a game production on the NHL level. We wish Rich the best with his new team but hope that he waits until after the Thrasher's game with the Preds on Saturday to start making a big impact.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass