After being shut out on Sunday, the Preds wasted no time taking back the series lead in Nashville in front of an ecstatic crowd.Scoring Recap...
Scoring, which has been scarce in both the previous games, for both teams, was not a problem for the Preds tonight as they scored four goals on 35 shots. Joel Ward, David Legwand, Shea Weber, and Martin Erat all got into the goals column for the Preds.
Ward struck first 13 minutes into the game off a nice rebound from a Steve Sullivan shot. Niemi just couldn’t get over in time.
At 17:20 mark in the first, Francis Bouillon took a Roughing penalty after face washing Patrick Kane along the boards.
Fifteen seconds into the power play, Tomas Kopecky took advantage of a nice tic-tac play, set up by Marian Hossa and Kris Versteeg, to tie the game at one a piece.
Four minutes into the second period, coming off a huge penalty kill, David Legwand helped the Preds find twine once again, scoring the game winning goal on a two-on-one chance with Steve Sullivan.
Almost six minutes later at 9:52 into the second, Shea Weber, doing his thing, blasted a bouncing puck from the point, which got tipped on the way in by Marian Hossa and trickled through the crease and into the net to make it 3-1 Preds.
With only 5:35 remaining in the game, in a weird turn of events, Martin Erat got hooked on a breakaway which led to one of the most exciting plays in hockey, a penalty shot.
No stranger to these one-on-one situations, Erat was able to put it past Niemi to give the Preds a very a comfortable lead.
In the last five minutes of the game, Chicago really turned it up, but Nashville’s defensive style of play shut down most of their opportunities and didn't allow many second chances for the Hawks offense.
Pekka Rinne was, again, a huge factor for the Preds tonight, stopping 26 of the 27 shots thrown his way.
The Pred's defense, though shaky at some points, played a very solid game in front of Pekka, not allowing many second chances for the Hawks to convert on.
The Pred's forechecking tonight was crazy good, breaking up a lot of the passes or plays in the neutral zone.
The fans were outstanding tonight, cheering non-stop all the way through the game. It was definitely the loudest that arena has been since the ’08 playoff series against Detroit.
My three stars...
Third Star - Steve Sullivan, 2 assists
Second Star - Pekka Rinne, 0.963 Save percentage
First Star - David Legwand, 1 Goal, 2 Assists
Attendance tonight was 16,075. For a playoff game, that's incredibly disappointing, especially since they split the first two games in Chicago. I figured getting that road win would motivate some people to buy tickets. Apparently not.
I hope to see more people get pumped up and come out to Game Four this Thursday.
Jackson Oakes for Preds On the Glass