Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pekka Rinne and the Rookies Lead the Predators to a 3-1 Win over Detroit

Pekka Rinne had one of his most solid games of the year and rookies Jon Blum and Blake Geoffrion scored goals to lead the Nashville Predators to a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at a sold out Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night. The Preds have won four of five games against the Wings this year.

Barry Trotz was pleased with the youngster's play, "We're going to need everyone to contribute and Blummer on the power play has done a real nice job and Boomer didn't get much ice time tonight because it was tougher getting lines because they played with one less forward. We got contributions from guys who didn't start here and had to come up due to injuries."

Rinne stopped 39 of 40 Detroit shots to pick up his 27th win of the season. He lowered his goals against average to 2.09 and trails league leader Tim Thomas by .01. Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard played well allowing two goals on 38 Predator shots.

Trotz was high on Rinne's play, "We got great goaltending from Peks today. There were unbelievable saves on Modano, Filppula, and Kronwell up the middle. He made some great saves and Howard made great saves too but I like my guy."

Before the game got underway there was electricity in the crowd that included more red jerseys that had been seen in Nashville in recent years. Right before the opening puck drop, the first catfish of the year was thrown on the ice in front of the Predators bench. Shane O'Brien appeared to take extra interest examining it thoroughly before it was removed.

The Wings appeared to get on the board with a goal from Niklas Kronnwell at 18:22 in the first period but it was blown off due to goalie interference.

With 30 seconds left in the period, Sergei Kostitsyn was called for elbowing putting the Wings on the man advantage. Eight seconds later Henrik Zetterberg sent a pass to Dan Cleary who put it past Rinne to give the Wings a 1-0 lead as the period ended.

In the second period, Geoffrion scored at 8:42 on a nice redirection of a pass from Patric Hornqvist who was in the corner trying to put the puck in play at the net.

In the final period, Blum scored the game winning goal at 8:12 on the power play when he followed a shot from Hornqvist to put the puck past Howard to give the Preds a 2-1 lead.

As time wore down on the Detroit goalie pull, David Legwand picked up an empty netter with 29 seconds left to seal the win and let the Predator fans exhale after a tension filled third period when Detroit put 20 shots on goal.

Rinne commented on the late barrage from Detroit, "At the end there pucks were bouncing everywhere and we got lucky there a few times. Sometimes you need those breaks and it was obviously a really big win for us."

Trotz complemented the Bridgestone Arena audience once again. "Once again, the great energy from our crowd. I think you would be embarrassed if you didn't play hard here. Our crowds have been unbelievable. There were a few more red shirts here than I would want to see but we sent them home sad."

With the win, the Predators moved into playoff position in eight place with 84 points. Chicago also has 84 points but has played one less game. Anaheim and Calgary are each a point back in ninth place.

The Predators left immediately after the game to fly to Buffalo where they will play the Sabres at 4 p,m. on Sunday afternoon. The Next home game will be Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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