On Monday, in the minds of many pundits, the Nashville Predators went from being a good hockey team to one of the Stanley Cup favorites. They also found time to take a 2-1 workmanlike win from the visiting Los Angeles Kings at Bridgestone Arena.
The Preds were the darlings of the NHL hockey media after picking up Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad on trade deadline day without losing anyone from their active roster.
These additions, coming on the heels of adding defenseman, Hal Gill, 10 days earlier completed General Manager David Poile's plan to strengthen the team by adding size, grit, experience, scoring, and faceoff expertise to plug any hole that the Predators may have had.
After all the excitement of the acquisitions, the Predators picked up a critical two points in the Western Conference playoff race to move to 81 points, only four back of the Central Division leading St. Louis Blues.
Pekka Rinne was gunning for his fifth shutout of the season until Dustin Brown spoiled the effort with 3:24 remaining in the game. The Preds had built a 2-0 lead on goals by Roman Josi and Patric Hornqvist and the team held on for the win despite the late surge from the Kings.
Nashville left immediately after the game to travel to Raleigh where they will meet up with their new players and face the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. The team will then have three days with no games to assimilate the new personnel before their next game in Florida on Saturday night.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass