Saturday, March 20, 2010

Game Recap: Predators Edge Jackets 1-0 in Overtime

Barry Trotz Postgame comments

Pekka Rinne, Cody Franson, Colin Wilson and Shea Weber speak.

Coach Claude Noel, Rick Nash, and Mike Commodore speak

The Nashville Predators defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0 in overtime on Saturday night at the Bridgestone Arena. The win was the Pred's 14th straight over the Jackets in Nashville.

Cody Franson scored the game's only goal 1:54 into the overtime period. Franson was at the blue line and took a pass from Marty Erat who was in the corner and then sent it toward the net on half slap shot. Jacket goalie Steve Mason did not stop it completely and it tipped off his blocker and spun into the net. Mason fell prone to the ice in disgust that he had let an easy one go by.

Franson described the shot, "I didn’t see anybody there and we had guys going so I tried to put it there so hopefully they could beat it to the net and try and bang it in. It went off his blocker a little bit and trickled around and went over the line."

Barry Trotz did not see the goal, "I had just looked down the bench and I saw the puck going to the point and I was just saying ‘Let’s not get anything blocked from the point,’ and then all of a sudden everybody was cheering. Good things happen when you get the puck to the net."

The game almost ended earlier in overtime when Mike Commodore took a long pass from Kris Russel and got a rare breakaway opportunity that Rinne was able to stop. "I couldn't have gotten a better look at it," Commodore explained. "I don't think I've ever done that before at any level. It would have been nice to finish it and snap the streak here." Commodore has not scored a goal since February 9, 2009.

Pekka Rinne was stellar in net once again and extended his shut out streak to 132:21 minutes, going back to Simon Gagne's goal at the 14:18 mark in the third period in Tuesday's game against the Flyers.

Steve Mason was the hard luck loser in this game where he stopped 30 of 31 Predator shots. This has been the story of his sophomore season where he has gone 17-22-7 after winning the Calder Trophy last year as the NHL's top rookie.

Columbus Coach Claude Noel would not place blame on the young goalie, "I thought we played a really good game, the second in two nights, and got three of four points. I thought everyone from Mason on out played tremendously and it was a great game for us. Steve, for me, was fabulous."

Storylines From The Game

Pekka Rinne Has Hit His Stride...

Rinne now has shutouts in three of his last five games and with two in a row, he moves to second all time on the Pred's career shutout leader sheet with 13, behind only Tomas Vokoun. He now has six for the season and moved into fifth in the NHL, two behind Ilya Bryzgalov, who has eight.

As usual, Rinne was modest after the game and shared the glory with his teammates, "It was good. Like I’ve said before, it goes hand-in-hand. I think their team played well defensively, even though early on they had some good chances. I think after that we got it going. They didn’t get much."

In the first period, Rinne made numerous highlight reel saves to keep the game close as the Jackets pelted the Preds with 14 shots. Columbus followed with 12 shots in the second period. the Pred's defense clamped down in the third and allowed only six shots.

Barry Trotz was thrilled with Rinne's game, "He’s been really sharp. Obviously both goalies were sharp tonight. He’s doing a good job. He’s moving his hands, he’s been seeing the puck, and obviously playing very well for us. If he wasn’t playing well I don’t think we’d win a couple of these games."

Rookies Stood Out...

Codey Franson has shown great offensive upside since joining the Predators earlier this season and his defensive play has been a real unexpected plus. In 51 games, he now has six goals and 13 assists and leads the team with a +14 plus/minus rating.

Franson's goal tonight was the difference maker and is now has three game winning goals and leads all rookie d-men in that category. He is also third in goals and fourth in points for rookie defensemen.

Colin Wilson also played another excellent game. After Jason Arnott went down with an injury, he was the best player on the ice during several shifts near the end of the game, working the corners and moving the puck around the ice.

Injury Bug Hits...

In what hopefully won't become a late season trend, the Predators had two players banged up in separate incidents. In the first period, at 13:10, Jared Boll boarded Jordin Tootoo and sent him into the wall at an odd angle. Tootoo laid on the ice for several moments and only played six shifts for the remainder of the game.

Jason Arnott appeared to have a more serious injury when he was slew-footed by a Columbus player on a no-call and fell awkwardly into the boards and received a long gash to the forehead as a result.

Barry Trotz indicated that Arnott would not travel with the team to St. Louis and would be evaluated further. Initial indications were that it was not a concussion. "I'm not really concerned right now, " Trotz said. "Only Jason will be able to let us know."

Moving On Up...

At the end of Saturday's action, the Preds had moved into sixth place in the Western Conference with 87 points. Los Angeles also has 87 points but has played two less games than the Preds. Colorado is one point back at 86 and also has two games in hand. Looking further back, Detroit has 83 points and Calgary has 81, each playing one less game than the Preds.

Up Next...

The Predators left after the game and headed to St. Louis where they will play the Blues on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. Approximately, 150 fans are also making the trip in an effort organized by Preds P.A. guy, Paul McCann.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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