Sunday, February 27, 2011

Legwand's late heroics lifts Preds over BJ's

The Nashville Predators ended a four game losing streak Sunday afternoon, getting a huge regulation win over the Columbus Blue Jackets by a 3-2 final. February ended on a high note, after a month filled with mostly low points.

1st Period
  • Same old Preds. Too much passing, many of those passes of which were errant, which led to missed scoring opportunities. SHOOT THE PUCK. Leggy and Erat, I'm looking at you.
2nd Period
  • Lucky break for the Preds midway through the period, as it appeared Derek MacKenzie had jammed an RJ Umberger shot underneath Pekka Rinne's left pad. The original call was no-goal, and after a nine minute review, the call stood. Kevin Klein was thankful for that.
  • After Shea Weber committed a hooking penalty, Columbus finally broke through on the power play at 14:17, as Matt Calvert continued his goal scoring tirade by beating Klein to the front of the net and putting home the rebound of an Umberger slapper.
3rd Period
  • Remember all those breaks that were going against the Preds during this losing streak? Not today. At 1:47, Shea Weber unleashed a cannon that deflected off the face of Jacket defenseman Jan Hejda and up and over Mathieu Garon. Weber's goal ended a goal scoring drought at home that last 102:37, the last goal coming from Weber himself during the last minute of last Saturday's loss to Phoenix.
  • Jon Blum picked a great time to score his first NHL goal. Nick Spaling centered a pass that missed Joel Ward but found Blum, who placed a nice shot through traffic that beat Garon at 7:18.
  • Shane O'Brein's head-scratching play as of late surfaced again. While on the penalty kill, he tried a no-look, spin-o-rama clearing attempt UP THE MIDDLE OF THE ICE. The puck ended up right on the stick of Kris Russell, who promptly teed up and evened the score at 12:34.
  • That is one penalty kill that the Preds would soon like to forget. Multiple chances to clear the zone failed, and Columbus made them pay. Nashville's 4th-ranked PK unit has given up power play markers in back-to-back games.
  • For a moment, the game almost seemed lost after Weber took his second penalty of the game with under four minutes to go. Sound familiar? Almost the exact same scenario as yesterday's loss against Dallas. 
  • Nashville killed off the penalty, and Weber joined in the oncoming rush. Weber proceeded to feed Erat, who momentarily broke out of his pass-first spell and shot the puck. Garon gave up a rebound way off to his left, and in came Legwand, who roofed a gorgeous backhander over Garon at 18:25to give the Preds the lead, and eventually the win.
Other Thoughts
  • HUGE regulation win. Hopefully this gives the Preds a much needed shot in the arm as they head off to Western Canada.
  • Blake Geoffrion was on the ice for 8:44 today, a few minutes and change longer than his debut yesterday. He's pretty much been non-existent, but he hasn't made any glaring mistakes, either. It'll be interesting to see how Trotz implements him down the road, or if he gets sent back down to Milwaukee if David Poile makes a move to obtain a forward at the deadline.
  • I haven't written a game recap since Jon Blum got called up, but I've caught snippets of every game he's been in, and he's really impressed me. I wasn't thoroughly impressed with him at training camp, but he seems to have really stepped up his game in the months since. He looks like he belongs here.
  • Another solid game for Pekka Rinne. He stopped 25 of 27 shots, and never really had to make any spectacular saves like he had to in Dallas. A credit to the defense for tightening up enough to make that happen.
  • Through two periods, Nashville was getting owned in the faceoff circle. They got it turned around in the third, and finished the game winning 48%.
  • 16: that's the number of games in a row in which the Preds have beaten the BJ's on home ice. Good grief.
Now we head into March, which normally is pretty friendly to the Preds. First up is a visit to Edmonton, but not before David Poile and company go to work as they try to find the missing piece(s) before tomorrow's trade deadline. I, like most everybody else, am hoping for a goal scorer, preferably Steven Weiss or Andrew Cogliano. But that's why I'm a blogger and not a general manager.

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