Thursday, March 24, 2011

Predators Survive Anaheim Push and Hang on for 5-4 Win

The Nashville Predators held on to survive a three goal, 18 shot barrage in the third period to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 in a sold out Bridgestone Arena.

Barry Trotz was as animated in the post game as he has ever been after a win. He was highly upset with the way the team almost let the game get away from them in the final few minutes of play when Anaheim had their goalie pulled.

"What I was more disappointed with, or more frustrated with, is that we had two and one half minutes to go, they pulled the goalie and we did a great job of getting pucks out, but then everybody was trying to to get Sergei hat trick."

"It's not the time of the year or the team that you want to do that against. They tried to feed him twice for the hat trick and it didn't work. They came back and countered and almost scored both times. That's what frustrated me. We've got to manage the game. The game was still in a little bit of doubt."

The way the game started, it appeared that it could have turned into a rout. The Predators got to Ducks' goalie Jonas Hiller 2:04 in the game when Patrick Hornqvist fired a shot at Hiller from behind the net that slipped into the blue ice where Sergei Kostitsyn shoved it into the net to give the Preds an early 1-0 lead.

The Preds then scored twice in 19 seconds starting at 11:18 to run Hiller out of the game after a brief return from his 16 game absence due to dizziness. Nick Spaling got the first goal and Kostitsyn tipped a shot from Patrick Hornqvist to make it 3-0 Predators. Ex-Pred Dan Ellis entered the game after the third goal.

The Predators seemed to stop playing defense after the third goal and Corey Perry scored at 16:01 to keep the game close at the end of the opening period.

The Predators went back ahead by three goals at 18:20 in the second period when Jordin Tootoo took a feed from Shane O'Brien to give the Preds a 4-1 lead after two periods.

Tootoo was pleased, "It's been a while since I scored a goal, so it's nice to get the monkey off my back."

The third period turned into a real roller-coaster for the Predators. The team would go on to commit five penalties that resulted in two Anaheim five on three goals. The Preds also got a short-handed goal from David Legwand at 9:29 that would eventually be the game winning goal.

Ten seconds after the Preds goal, Teemu Selanne would score the first of his two power play goals. He scored the second at 15:14 to pull Anaheim within two goals. Perry then scored his second goal of the game at 19:33 with the Duck's goalie pulled to bring the game to a tight one goal match in the closing seconds.

Trotz continued his verbal tongue-lashing on the Predators, "Ninety percent of the players watched the game last night when they came back and scored with five seconds to go. Lo and behold, 26 seconds to go in the game and we are hanging on to a 5-4 game. It was all stuff we did. It was taking penalties and not managing the puck. You can't let a team off the hook."

In summary, Trotz said, "I'm happy we got the two points, but I'm not happy how we mismanaged the third period."

At the end of the evening, the two points were important as the Predators moved to the 90 point mark which was good for sixth place with the same number of points as fifth place Los Angeles who have a game in hand.

The Predators will return to the ice Saturday in another critical game against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena at 7 p.m.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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