Antti Niemi made 32 saves & stopped all 3 shoot out participants as the Sharks defeated the Preds 2-1 at HP Pavilion early this morning. The Preds do gain 1 point as a result of making it to overtime & now sit just 1 point behind Detroit for 4th in the Western Conference with 1 game in hand.
were outplayed for the 1st several minutes of the game with Rinne
making some big saves. Patric Hornqvist
converted on his 22nd goal of the season from the top of the crease after a great pass from Mike Fisher
to give Nashville
a 1-0 lead with 6:42 remaining in the 1st period. The 2nd period saw some very even hockey with no scoring, but some physical play that seemed to bring the level of play to that near a playoff game.
was called for interference 11 seconds before the end of the period & gave San Jose
a PP that carried over 1:49 into the 3rd. That is where Jumbo Joe Thornton
fired home a wrist shot for his 16th goal into a wide open net from below the circle tying the game at 1-1. There was quite a bit of back & forth action throughout the 3rd period, but it led to no scoring.
controlled the play for most of overtime, but Pekka Rinne
& the defense held strong & Nashville forced their 2nd consecutive shoot out. Niemi
was one stop better than Rinne
in the shoot out & SJ picked up the critical extra point in the standings to remain in the thick of the playoff race. The team needs to regroup before a back to back set in LA & Ana on Sat & Sun.
-D Kevin Klein has missed the last 8 games & is questionable for the rest of the current 4 game west coast road trip this week due to an upper body injury (on trip/has begun skating).
-D Roman Josi will miss the entire 4 game road trip & has been left in Nashville with an upper body injury.
-C Paul Gaustad is listed as questionable for the next game with a wrist injury suffered when he fell awkwardly near the San Jose net (no word on severity of injury).
The bottom line…
-The Nashville Predators are 41-21-8 (90 Pts) with 12 games remaining and sit 3rd in The Central Division, 8 Pts behind St Louis (10 GR) & 1 Pt behind Detroit (11 GR).
-In the Western Conference the Predators are in 5th, 1 Pt behind Detroit (11 GR) with the chase pack: 6 Chicago (84 PTS 11 GR), 7 Phoenix (81 10 GR), 8 Colorado (81 9 GR) & 9 San Jose (80 12 GR).
-The Predators next continue 4 game road trip: Thurs @ San Jose 9:30 CT, Sat @ LA 9:30 CT, Sun @ Anaheim 7 CT.
-The Predators have gained 3 of a possible 4 points so far on the current road trip.
-F Patric Hornqvist scored 1 goal Vs San Jose giving him 22 on the season (leads team).
-F Martin Erat had 1A Vs San Jose & now has 53 points on the season (4 shy of career high).
-The Preds had 6 players with 4 or more shots on goal: Weber 5, Hornqvist 5, S Kostitsyn 4, Legwand 4, C Smith 4, & Yip 4.
-F Jordin Tootoo only had 1 hit in 9+ mins of ice time & the 4th line was largely ineffective against San Jose.
-G Pekka Rinne leads the NHL in wins with 39.
Leg-watch 500- With 3 Assists Vs Detroit on Saturday, David Legwand now has 492 points in his career (184G 308 A) with the Predators.
Caffeine week continues,
“Crazy” Charlie Saunier