Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preds Hang On to Beat Wings 3-1

Coach Barry Trotz post game comments

Marty Erat, Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber and Jason Arnott comment after the game

Coach Mike Babcock, Henrik Zetterberg, and Drew Miller comment after the game

The Nashville Predators withstood a third period onslaught by the Detroit Red Wings to hold on to a 3-1 victory Monday night at the Sommet Center. It was the Preds sixth straight win and 11th in their last 14.

Marty Erat was the offensive star of the game scoring two goals, including the game winner on the power play. Captain Jason Arnott score the other Predator goal, also on the power play, at 10:24 in the first period.

The Predators controlled the game for most of the first two periods but the Red Wings picked up the pace in the third period putting 16 shots on net after only having 15 for the first two periods.

After the game, Shea Weber felt that the Preds let down in the third, "We just got away from out game. We were keeping it simple in the first and second period. I thought we were controlling the puck a lot better and playing in their zone. I think we just sat back too much and gave them too much time and space."

Pekka Rinne was the difference maker in the final period. The Preds were being out shot 16 to 4 and Rinne was called on to make many saves, some from point blank range.

"It was pretty scrambly, bad D-zone coverage, they were all over us," related Captain Jason Arnott, "If it wasn't for Peks we would have probably ended up losing the game."

Arnott went further, "Sometimes you don't (get it out of the zone) and it creates a snowball effect. They kept it in the zone, they are a team that plays with the puck a lot, and fortunately for us we came out with the win."

Arnott's first period back-handed power play goal was a great second effort on his own rebound after taking a pass from Steve Sullivan.

Marty Erat's power play goal in the second was a beautiful play. David Legwand passed the puck to Joel Ward in the corner who cycled the puck to Erat in the circle and he one-timed it past goalie Chris Osgood.

Drew Miller had the Wings only goal at 6:38 in the second as he took the puck from the corner and skated past Francis Bouillon and shoved the puck by Rinne into the net. Miller siad, "I tried to take it out of the corner and got lucky and beat that big goalie there."

Erat's second goal at 17:40 in the third came at a critical time when the Wings were applying full pressure on the Predator defense. "It's always nice when you have the two goal advantage," Erat explained. "It's a breather there and I think it drug them down."

Barry Trotz appeared worn out by the third period charge by the Wings, "I told the guys that it was one of our weaker periods but I don't want to take anything away from Detroit. They came at us real hard. We can be a lot better."

Wings Coach Mike Babcock said, "You have to give them (Preds) credit, they battled hard and had good goaltending."

With the win, the Predators moved past Detroit and Columbus, who lost to the Rangers, into second place in the Central Division, five points behind Chicago.

Pred's goalie Pekka Rinne explained the origins of the teams current confidence level, "The turning point was the long road trip. We came together and beat some key teams and then came home and won San Jose and a couple of other key teams so it's just been growing and the confidence is the big thing. We have a good thing going and hopefully we will keep it going."

This was the second game in a row that the Predators had two power play goals. Trotz credited Peter Horichuk with the improvement, "He's spent a lot of time with the guys. They've talked through it and they are committed. The extra effort and time that they have put in to it is paying off."

Barry Trotz utilized a different looking fourth line to match the speed of the Wings with Mike Santorelli centering Andreas Thuresson and Patrick Hornquist. At times when Cody Franson was on defense with the group, there were three rookies on the ice at one time and they held firm against the far more experienced Wings.

The Predators will practice at Centennial on Tuesday and then fly to Denver to prepare for Wednesday's game with the surprising Colorado Avalanche. They will return home after the game and then play three games in four nights at home beginning with St. Louis on Friday night.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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