Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Predators Beat Thrashers 6-3 to Move In To Fourth Place

The Nashville Predators did what they were supposed to do on Tuesday night and beat the Atlanta Thrashers 6-3 to move into fourth place in the tightly bunched Western Conference.

Even with their lofty standing they still have not secured a playoff berth with five days left in the regular season. The Predators need one additional point or for the Dallas Stars to miss a point to clinch a playoff spot.

At this point, with two games remaining, the Predators sights are set on closing out the final two games of the season with wins over Columbus and St. Louis to secure a home ice advantage in the first round.

The Predators unusual offensive outburst was paced by two goals each from Sergei Kostitsyn and Jordin Tootoo. It was Tootoo' first multi-goal game and with an assist, his first three point game in his career. Mike Fisher and Matt Halischuk also added single goals.

Atlanta's offense was led by two goals from Blake Wheeler and a single goal from Nik Antropov.

Pekka Rinne played a much better game in net that the final score would indicate. All three Atlanta goals came in the third period when the Thrashers poured on 19 of their 36 shots.

Barry Trotz downplayed the late goals, "Even the goals they got were... one was on Franny's feet and the guy snapped it out of his feet and the other was a centering pass that went off Peks and right to the guy."

Chris Mason started for Atlanta and left after the Preds fourth goal which was on their thirteenth shot. Ondrej Pavelec did slightly better in relief allowing two goals on eleven shots.

While the game was never in doubt, in light of the Predators recent third period letdowns, fans were somewhat uneasy as the Thrashers scored twice in the final 3:35 of play.

Mike Fisher discussed the third period let down, "Sometimes it hard when you are up 6-1 and kind of relax a little bit and some of the plays you are a little smarter. We've got to make sure we're staying on in and having good habits going forward."

Offensive hero Tootoo said, "We've got to smarten up a little bit. We've given up way too much. We've been playing nonchalant kind of hockey in the third period and that is going to bite our rear so we've got to play a lot better an help Pekka out defensively and play hard through 60 minutes."

On his offense Tootoo explained, "I feel great out there and it's great to contribute offensively and it great that we got two points."

Trotz commented on Tootoo's big night, "He gave us great energy and A-he was hard on the puck, and B- he was going real quick and had really good jump. He's got real good focus now and playing hard."

Trotz was not concerned about the late Thrasher goals, "I wasn't really concerned because I got away from match-ups and defenses parings. We were playing a lot of the kids trying to spread the ice time. We were up 6-1 and I was trying to make sure no one was over extended. We've been playing certain guys a lot and we were getting a lot of the kids into the line-up."

As far as finely clinching a playoff spot Trotz joked, "All I know is well know something, probably on Sunday. It's Tuesday so we don't have that far to go yet."

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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