Saturday, April 7, 2012

Predators close out season with a 6-1 win over Colorado in meaningless contest

In spite of having no bearing on the final Western Conference standings, the Nashville Predators played like true professionals in beating the Colorado Avalanche 6-1 at the Pepsi Center on Saturday night in Denver.

Colorado mounted a good effort, putting a season high 45 shots on the Predators, but the game appeared to turn on a shot by Kevin Klein that was deflected into the net by Patrick Hornqvist with less than a second remaining in the opening period to give Nashville a 3-1 lead.

After that point, the Preds received three unanswered goals from Roman Josi, Brandon Yip, and Matt Halischuk. The Preds first two goals came from Craig Smith and the game winner from David Legwand. Colorado's lone goal was from Matt Duchene. Smith also had a pair of assists for a three point night and two from Kevin Klein which gave him a career high 21 points..

Anders Lindback picked up his fifth win in spite of leaving the game early in the third period with an injury. Prior to leaving, Lindback stopped 34 of 35 Colorado shops. Pekka Rinne stopped all ten shots that he faced. J.S.Giguere took the beating for the Avalanche, going the distance, giving up six goals on 29 Predator shots.

The Predators returned home to Nashville after the game and will have Sunday off before returning to practice on Monday. The full first round schedule will be announced at noon CDT on Sunday so the team will know when the opening game against Detroit at Bridgestone Arena will be held.

At The Puck Drop...

In Goal: Anders Lindback (4-8-0, 2.48 .906) vs. Jean-Sebastien Giguere (15-10-3, 2.15 .923)

Scratches: Nashville - Marty Erat, Mike Fisher, Sergei Kostitsyn, Hal Gill, Frankie Bouillon, Brian McGrattan, and Jack MacLellan. Colorado - Shane O'Brien, Kevin Porter, and Steve Downie.

First Period...

The Predators started a makeshift line-up, completely absent their top line, a defensive pairing, and their top goalie.

The Preds jumped on the board quickly at 3:39 when Legwand scored through traffic from in front of the net. Gabriel Bourque and Alex Radelov assisted on the play.

The Avalanche tied the game 1-1 at 8:09 when the Predators turned the puck over and the Avs took the puck the length of the ice and took three shots with the third from Duchene picking up a goal on an open shot. Chuck Kobasew and Cody McLeod took the first two shots and picked up assists.

Nashville went up 2-1 at 12:10 when Smith picked up his 14th goal of the year with a shot from the left circle. Colin Wilson and Matt Halischuk assisted.

The Avalance were called for the games first penalty at 15:13 when Kobasew was called for interference on Andrei Kostitsyn. The Predators failed to get a shot during the man-advantage but Colorado had two while short-handed.

Patric Hornqvist almost gave the Predators a two goal lead at 19:39 when he rang a shot off the pipe. Seconds later, Klein fired a shot from near the blue line that was twice deflected and found the back of the net with 1.2 seconds left in the period. The second deflection was off Hornqvist so he was awarded the goal and Kostitsyn picked up the secondary assist.

1st Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        3        12        17       0-0:00 10-8  56%
Avalanche           1        14        21       1-2:00 8-10  44%

Second Period...

The middle stanza was filled with plenty of safe play by the Predators, a barrage of shots from Colorado, and the Avs players running Preds players into the boards capped by big hits on Bourque and Hornqvist.

The extracurricular activity led to a cross-checking penalty to Hornqvist on Jay McClement at 14:03 and in return Erik Johnson was called for roughing Hornqvist to set up two minutes of four on four play. Neither team would get a shot during the penalties.

At 16:09, the Preds went up 4-1 when Josi scored from the slot off of a pass from Smith. Klein picked up the secondary assists.

With 14.2 seconds left, Smith was called for hooking Duchene and possibly prevented a Colorado goal.

2nd Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        1         9        14       2-4:00 7-13  35%
Avalanche          0        18        28       1-2:00 13-7  65%

Third Period...

During the carry-over penalty the Avs got three shots but did not score.

The Preds went up 5-1 when Yip had a breakaway at 1:48 and missed but then received the puck again from Nick Spaling and scored at 1:57.

Lindback exited the contest at 2:14 when he was fallen on by a couple of Predators and hit by a pair of Avs during a scramble near the net. He was replaced by Rinne as he went straight to the dressing room.

At 6:20, Halischuk went the length of the ice, two on one, with Wilson on the off side, and kept the puck and put it past Giguere to put the Predators ahead 6-1. Smith picked up the assist.

A real oddity occurred in the closing seconds when Ganriel Landeskog knocked the Preds net off the moorings and play continued at the other end of the ice wile Rinne and the referee put it back in place while play continued.

3rd  Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        2         8        22       0-0:00 5-9  36%
Avalanche         0        13        22       0-0:00 9-5  64%


Final     Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        6        29        48       2-4:00 23-32 42%
Avalanche           1        45        71       2-4:00 32-23 58%

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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