Thursday, April 1, 2010

Game Recap: Predators Comeback to Defeat the Blues 3-2

Barry Trotz postgame comments

Colin Wilson, Patric Hornqvist, Pekka Rinne and Steve Sullivan speak

Coach Davis Payne, David Backes and Chris Mason speak

The Nashville Predators started slowly but finished strong as they scored three unanswered goals in a comeback 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night at the Bridgestone Arena.

Steve Sullivan's breakaway goal at 6:05 in the third period proved to be a game winner for the Predators.

St. Louis battled hard down the stretch and missed tying the game when Pekka Rinne made a huge pad save on a breakaway by David Perron with 26 seconds left in the game.

Rinne described the situation, "The guys were really tired. They were on the ice for at least a minute and a half and fighting for every single puck. (Perron) was a little more fresh and he was able to get that breakaway and fortunately I made that save."

The game got of to a controversial start when David Bakes plowed over Pekka Rinne as he attempted to make a save on a shot by Alex Steen during an early Blues power play. The officials allowed the goal, much to the displeasure of the home crowd.

Rinne was congenial, as always saying "Right now I'm happy we won the game, and it's no big deal. If the game went the other way around, I would be pretty mad to be honest. I saw the puck and right at the moment I was going to make the save, he crossed on me. The ref was saying that I was out of my crease and that was the reason that they allowed the goal."

As the second period started, Andy McDonald scored at 3:11 to give the Blues a 2-0 lead. At 11:52 the Predators came back with with a goal by Dustin Boyd where he tipped a shot from Cody Franson into the net. Much to the crowd's dismay, the play was reviewed and the goal stood.

The real game changer occurred when Colin Wilson scored with four seconds left in the second period. Patric Hornqvuist was battling with Erik Johnson on a breakaway and Colin Wilson took the puck and put it past Chris Mason in one of the more impressive shots of the season to tie the game 2-2.

That set up Steve Sullivan's game winner and a 3-2 win for the Predators. Sully gave his view of the play, "I got a good look at it right off the glass. It was right off Hornqvist’s stick so it was perfect how it just stayed ahead of me in the air and it just bounced and I was able to tip it by him and he got a piece of it and it luckily went off my skate and onto my stick, so it was really just a bouncing puck and a lucky set of events that led me to a breakaway."

Pekka Rinne got the win stopping 31 of 33 Blues shots while ex-Pred Chris Mason was the hard luck loser after making 29 saves.

Storylines From The Game

Young and Old Score...

Two of the Predator's three goals were provided by one of the younger players in Colin Wilson and one of the team's old guard in Steve Sullivan. The other goal was on a tip by newcomer, Dustin Boyd. Patric Hornqvist also assisted on all three goals.

Barry Trotz was especially pleased with getting contributions from the veterans and rookies, "You look at two things: we stayed on the net and battled. We were relentless on pucks. A good example was the goals. The first one, Boyd was right at the net, we threw a puck there and it gets redirected in."

"The second one,which was a huge goal really late in the period, most guys, they go down the ice just think, I’ll just wait for the next period. Hornqvist went down and was battling, kept whacking at the puck, Wilson came in behind him and found the loose puck and scored a huge goal. That one had to hurt them, I know it did. It gave us a boost."

"Then Sully got a “Sully” goal. There was a loose puck, he stayed with it, went to the net and put it in on Mason. Those were really huge."

"I thought we stayed relentless. A good example was that second goal. That’s any easy play to just say, “Hey, we’ll go into the next period and be down 2-1.” But we stayed on it. To me, that’s great, especially two young guys like Hornqvist and Wilson; a little bit of our future, and Sully, our present and a little bit of our past. We need contributions right through the lineup."

Colin Wilson's Two-Thirds of a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick"...

Colin Wilson was one assist short of the proverbial "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" after he had a fighting major and a goal.

Wilson was involved in his first NHL fight at 15:02 in the first period when a scrum after a stoppage in play resulted in a fight with Roman Polak. Wilson explained how it started, 'I was already pretty mad. There were a lot of tempers flying out there so I think the fight was just a result of that." The fight was actually Wilson's first NHL penalty minutes, coming in his 32nd game.

When asked about needing an assist to complete the "hat trick", Wilson laughed, "Some of the guys were joking around with me in the locker room and it would have been fun to get but I'm fine just getting my first fight."

The Race Continues...

In addition to the Predators winning, Detroit and Los Angeles both won their games to keep pace with the Preds. As the evening ended, the Preds had 96 points. Detroit was one point back and the Kings remained two points behind. Both of those teams have two extra games to play.

Steve Sullivan explained the team's goals "I think that with this club right now, it’s been awhile now where we’ve just been worrying about our own game, and about getting our game going and getting into the playoffs. We’re not worried about how many points that we need to get in. We want to make sure that we are playing the best hockey going into the playoffs. If we are just trying to sneak in, it will be a quick first round exit and that’s not what we want."

Up Next...

The Predators will practice on Friday before flying to Detroit to prepare for Saturday afternoons game with the Red Wings which has a 1 p.m. CST start. After the game, the Predators will return home and fly to Phoenix on Tuesday and play the Coyotes on Wednesday night. Their last game of the season will be at the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday, April 10th against these same St. Louis Blues.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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