Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Preds Beat Bolts 7-4 in A Wild One

Coach Barry Trotz Post Game Comments

Pekka Rinne, Nick Spalling, Jerred Smithson, and David Legwand post game comments

Coach Rick Tocchet, Antero Niittymaki, Kurtis Foster and Matt Smaby post game comments

The Nashville Predators rose to the occasion to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-4 in what Preds Coach Barry Trotz called a "trap" game. The win moved the Preds into fifth place in the Western Conference with 43 points. Division leading Chicago, also has 43 but has two games in hand.

Seven different Predator players scored goals and 14 skaters had at least a point in the wide open contest. Players with multiple points were Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand each with a goal and an assist and Marcel Goc and Joel Ward each with a pair of assists.

Barry Trotz explained that he was worried about how the Lightning game fell into the schedule, "To me it was a little bit of a trap game. You’re not emotionally tied to the Tampa Bay team, we see them once a year." That coupled with an emotional game against division rival Columbus on Monday made it a tough situation for the Predators.

"We got contributions throughout the lineup, every line on our team got a goal today" Trotz explained. "When you play back-to-back, it can sometimes be taxing. It was our third game in four nights. This time of year it's a little tough. Hats off to the players, they responded in the second period, right off the bat, and opened the floodgates."

The Predators opened the scoring at 6:53 in the first period when Jerred Smithson picked up a rebound in front of the net and put the Preds ahead 1-0. Tampa Bay came back with goals from Steve Stamkos and Vinnie Lecavalier to end the period with a 2-1 lead.

The second period was all Predators with goals from David Legwand, Ryan Jones, Patric Hornqvist, J.P. Dumont, and Dan Hamhuis to give the Predators a 6-2 lead after two.

Tampa Bay showed heart in the third by coming back with goals by Kurtis Foster and Vinnie Lecavalier, his second of the night, to make it a two goal game. A minute and a half later, Marty Erat scored for the Predators to put the game out of reach of the Lightning.

Story Lines from the Game

Wide Open Offensive Explosion...

"It was wide open. Both sides got some easy goals. I give a lot of credit to the guys," Trotz explained. "Sometimes these games are really tough – the other team has a lot of pride, and they came back and really pushed the pace in the third period. You’ve got to play hard. You’ve got to skate; you’ve got to work. You’ve got to pay the price and do all the things you did earlier."

Pekka Rinne gave up four goals in the win and Barry Trotz commented, "He's been better, but he got the win and that is what matters."

When asked if it was difficult playing with a big lead, Rinne explained, "Yea, a little bit. We scored five goals in the second period and we were leading by four goals in the third period, and right away they got the power play goal and next the got the breakaway, and you start to worry a little bit but we handled it pretty well. Obviously, I don't like letting in four goals but we scored seven so we were the better team tonight, big two points."

The Rookie Gets a Point in His First Game...

One of the better stories from the game was Nick Spalling's unexpected call up from Milwaukee on Tuesday. Spalling responded and got an assist in his first NHL game.

Spalling was surprised by the call, "I was just up there in Canada playing two games and I wasn't thinking about a call-up I was just thinking about the next game." On the excitement of his first point he said, "That was pretty exciting, it was just a little garbage goal, Jonesy crashing the net. I'll take it. It was great."

Barry Trotz was complementary of Spalling, "He made a great play on the controlled break out on Jonesy's goal. He's got a lot of speed, a lot of smarts, and detail to his game and he's strong on the puck. For a first showing, it was good for him."

Unexpected Pugilists...

Pred's enforcer Wade Belak was dressed as a counter to the Lightning's Zenon Konopka but the two never hooked up. Instead there were three other fighting majors with unexpected combatants for the Predators.

Steve Downie prodded Shea Weber into a fight that he wish that he had never started at 13:39 of the second period. Weber uppercutted Downie until he was plowed into the ice. Later in the second period Kevin Klein became fed up with Stephane Veilleux and took care of the matter beating him repeatedly in the back of the head as Veilleux tried to duck the blows.

Finally, as the third period began, Jerred Smithson and Ryan Malone hooked up and Malone won one for his side to finish off the fisticuffs for the evening.

Barry Trotz discussed the fighting, "They were sort of targeting our defense. They were trying to deplete our numbers a bit. It's an old tactic."

Up Next...

The Predators leave tomorrow for a three game Western Canada Swing that begins Thursday in Edmonton and will also include stops in Calgary and Vancouver before the Preds take three days off at Christmas.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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