Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Predators Tame Wild in 5-1 Win to Extend Streak to Six Games
The Nashville Predators extended their win streak to six games with an impressive 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at the Bridgestone Arena.
Nick Spaling led the Predator attack with two goals in his first multiple point game of his NHL career. The Predators other goals came from David Legwand, Joel Ward, and Marcel Goc. Ward and Goc also added assists for two point nights. The lone Minnesota goal was scored by Mikko Koivu.
Spaling was excited after the game, "I got a couple of lucky bounces tonight but I'm going to take them all."
Pekka Rinne had another excellent night in goal, stopping all but one of the Wild's 25 shots. Jose Theodore wasn't as fortunate as he was tagged for four goals on 25 shots and was relieved by Anton Khudobin who gave up a goal on five shots.
Rinne was pleased to have a cushion at the end of the game, "I think every game I've played has been a one goal game. It was obviously nice, especially at home, playing well for these fans. We've been getting points at home but not many wins so it was nice to get this for the fans."
Preds Coach Barry Trotz was a loose in a post game as you will see him. "We're getting lots of guys contributing. Tonight, the Smithson line was huge. It's discouraging when your offensive lines (The Wild's) are getting scored on by your shut down lines."
Trotz was very complementary of Spaling after the game, "He's a real solid young player who understands the game. He's got lots of push and determination in his game and good instincts. The one thing we were hoping was for him to find his scoring touch. He's going to the hard areas. They were like wolverines on that last goal."
Spaling is a favorite among his team mates so it was gratifying to see him score twice in his 62nd NHL game. He did not get his first goal until his 5oth game and now has three goals and an assist in his last four games.
Trotz continued, "Every game you see him do something that is very mature and experienced looking - he's a real solid player. The guys love him. I think if he had scored the third goal in the last minute and got a hat trick, I think we would have left the benches and taken the two minute penalty."
The opening period was a quick one with few stoppages and plenty of back and forth action. The Predators broke into the scoring column first at 7:03 on a really nifty deflection by Legwand on a Marek Svatos shot from the right face off circle.
The Wild came back with a goal at 16:05 when a Preds power play ended and there was confusion on a breakaway in front of the Predator net. Koivu managed to get through a Cody Franson and Francis Bouillon to put the puck past Pekka Rinne to tie the game 1-1.
The Predators jumped on the Wild at 1:02 in the second period when Kevin Klein fired a shot from the blue line that pulled Theodore out of the net and allowed Ward to grab the rebound and put it behind him to put the Preds up 2-1.
At 3:42 in the second, J P Dumont was shaken up on a play behind the Preds net when he slid awkwardly into the boards. He was able to return for a few shifts later in the period.
In a goal that came out of nowhere at 4:18 in the third period, Spaling ripped a shot from behind the left circle that found its way through traffic and bounced off Theodore to give the Preds a 3-1 lead.
The Preds went up 4-1 at 10:39 when Spaling got his second goal of the period as he persisted in pounding a loose puck at the net until it found its way over the red line. Khudobin, entered the game to replace Theodore after the goal.
Spaling described the goal, "It was just laying there and I didn't know if he (official) was going to blow the whistle and it wasn't covered so I just kept jamming at it."
The game got completely out of hand for the Wild at 12:53 when Cam Barker lost the puck on a breakout and Goc stole it and fired the puck into the net to give the Preds a 5-1 lead.
With the win, the Predators solidified their hold on fourth place in the Western Conference with 52 points and are now 23-13-6 for the season.
The Preds will practice on Wednesday and then travel to Florida where they will play the Panthers on Thursday night before returning to the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday for their last home game before the all-star break at the end of January.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass