Sunday, February 15, 2009

Predators Beat the Best of the East in Overtime

Postgame remarks by David Legwand and Pekka Rinne

Postgame remarks by Barry Trotz

The Nashville Predators continued their post all-star game surge by beating the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a shootout thriller. David Legwand had his best game of the year scoring two goals and the game winner in the fourth round of the overtime shootout.

Pekka Rinne again was outstanding in goal stopping 22 of 24 in regulation and the Bruins only shot in overtime. In the shootout after allowing a goal to the first Boston shooter, Blake Wheeler, he stopped consecutive shots by Patrice Bergeron, P J Axelsson and Phil Kessel to set up Legwand’s game winner.

The first two Predator shooters Vern Fiddler and Steve Sullivan missed their shots with Fiddler coming close by hitting the post. In a score or go home situation, Marty Erat nailed his shot to tie it 1-1. After Kessel missed in the fourth round, Legwand took advantage of the opportunity and snuck one past Manny Fernadez to end the contest in the sudden death shootout.

David Legwand played his most dominant game of the year firing six shots and having five takeaways. His first goal was a tip in at 14:24 in the first and a his second was a shorthanded goal at 12:24 in the second. That was all the scoring the Preds would have before the shootout.

Barry Trotz was thrilled with Legwand’s night stating “"Legwand's first two goals were huge, he’s skating really well right now. Leggy has a tremendous amount of talent. We’ve always wanted him to produce offensively and when he’s skating like that he can be a force”.

Boston came back a minute after Legwand’s second goal with a goal by Blake Wheeler to pull within one. With their goalie pulled, Zdeno Chara scored at 18:44 in the third to tie the contest sending it into overtime.

In the overtime period the Predators outshot Boston 4-1 primarily on the strength of a power play generated by a Shane Hnidy holding penalty. The closest shot to a score was break-away chance by Boston’s Phil Kessel in the closing seconds that was stopped by Pekka Rinne.

Pekka Rinne describes the breakdown on the Preds end that led to the near game ender, "We only had three guys on the ice at the time and it was just a mistake by some of our guys and it was 4-on-3 even though there wasn't a penalty. I was watching at the time and there was about 10 seconds left and I thought that I better make the save, luckily I made the stop".

The Predators extended their perfect 13-0 record in games where they lead after one period. When asked about that Rinne said, “That’s a great stat, it gives us a little bit of confidence, when we realize that we are leading after the first period it good and you think let’s keep it going. You shouldn’t be thinking about that too much but it gives you confidence that we know we are a good team when leading the game.”

Barry Trotz added, “Starts are huge. In this league this time of year teams are buckling down defensively and it creates some momentum. When you get the first goal the other team has to get two to beat you.”

The Predators ended the evening with 57 points which is three points out of the last playoff position and only four points out of a tie for fifth in the tightly bunched Western Conference. Boston still has the best record in hockey with 86 points and an 11 point lead over New Jersey.

After a true off day on Sunday, with no practice or meetings, the Predators will return to the Sommet Center Monday to play the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa comes in riding a four game winning streak in what otherwise has been a fairly dismal season. The Preds then travel to Detroit on Wednesday for an important division match up against one of the best teams in the west.

Tootoo Returns Jordin Tootoo returned after missing seven games with a cut to his hand during a fight when he got it hung on Todd Bertuzzi’s necklace in Calgary.

Post All-Star Success The Predators are tied for the second best record in hockey since the all-star break at 7-3. Only the red hot New Jersey Devils are better at 8-2.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

No comments: