The Nashville Predators went on the road with seventh place in the West on the line and came away with a 2-1 victory over Atlanta in Phillips Arena on Tuesday night.
Colin Wilson scored the eventual game winning goal late in the first period and Dan Ellis was outstanding in net to help the Predators break their two game losing streak. Ryan Suter scored the Preds first goal early in the game.
The victory gave the Predators 77 points and a two point lead over Calgary, who moved into eighth, after upsetting Detroit 4-2 at Joe Louis Arena,
The Predators got on the board early at 4:48 in the first period when Ryan Suter wristed a shot from behind the right face off circle into the net for a power play goal as the Preds continued their recent success with the man advantage. Colby Armstrong had been called for interference at 4:18 to set up the power play opportunity.
Colin Wilson gave the Predators a 2-0 lead with an unassisted goal at 18:38 when Mark Popovic fumbled the puck on the break out in the slot directly in front of the Thrasher net. Wilson was there to pick it up and put it past a startled Johan Hedberg.
The Preds played well in the first period, outshooting the Thrashers 12-7, while they were up 19-11 in the Corsi numbers. The Preds were one for two on the power play and were not charged with any penalties in the opening period.
The second period started with a swift about face when Nik Antropov redirected a wide shot by Johnny Oduya into the net past Dan Ellis for the score 29 seconds into the period to close the margin to 2-1.
The Predators got a scare late in the second period when a Thrasher goal was waived off because Chris Thorburn man-handled Dan Ellis in the crease as he knocked the puck through Ellis' five hole.
The Preds started slow in the second period but finished with a much stronger effort. They were out shot by the Thrashers 9-8 and were edged 19-18 in the Corsi.
The Predators were playing with fire in the third period as they committed multiple penalties by Bouillon and Klein to give the Thrashers several scoring chances. At one point during the Klein Penalty, Antropov lured Dan Ellis out of the crease to defend the back of the goal.
Atlanta threw everything they could at the net down the stretch and Dan Ellis held firm stopping all 15 Thrasher third period shots. The Predators out shot Atlanta 32-31 on the evening but trailed in the Corsi 56-55.
Storylines From The Game
Predator's New Top Line Got It Done..
Barry Trotz completely revamped his lines at practice on Monday and he pulled the right combination out of his hat with the line of Jason Arnott, Marty Erat and Colin Wilson. That group, along with Ryan Suter, were responsible for all of the Predator scoring during the game.
Ellis Stands Out In Goal...
Dan Ellis had an outstanding game after sitting out for over three weeks, dating back to before the Olympic break. Ellis stopped 30 of 31 Thrasher shots including a constant barrage in the closing minutes. Ellis was clearly the game's first star and made David Poile look like a genuis for holding on to Dan for the playoff run.
Trotz Finally Gets 400th Win...
After very frustrating games in Detroit on Friday and at home against the Canucks on Sunday, Barry Trotz finally corralled his 400th career win as the Predators coach. Barry becomes just the seventh coach in NHL history to win 400 games with one team and is second only to Buffalo's Lindy Ruff in the longest tenure among coaches.
The Preds left after the game and headed west to San Jose where they will play the Sharks on Thursday night. From there, they will head to the Southland to play the Ducks on Friday and then finish the road trip on Sunday against the Kings.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass