Friday, March 18, 2011

Weber's OT blast lifts Preds over Bruins, 4-3

After Tuesday night's loss to LA, a part of me questioned the heart of the Nashville Predators. Tonight's game has temporarily shelfed those thoughts, as the Preds showed plenty of resiliency in a seesaw battle and FINALLY won their first overtime game this season, upending Boston in the extra frame by a 4-3 final.

1st Period
  • Boston wasted no time in getting on the board, as rookie Tyler Seguin broke into Nashville's zone on a 2-on-1 and wristed a shot over Pekka Rinne's glove at 1:50.
  • Sergei Kostitsyn was long overdue for a goal, and he obliged at 7:53, finding a rebound from a scrum in front of Tuukka Rask and evening the score at 1.
  • At 17:30, Patric Hornqvist collided with Seguin in the Boston zone, and evidently the refs thought he elbowed Seguin with the primary point of contact being the head. Hornqvist was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct. In reality, the play never should've occurred, as the refs missed an obvious trip on Martin Erat only moments earlier in the Nashville zone; I don't think obvious is even descriptive enough.
  • After watching a couple replays, I can't see how the referee thought the elbow was vicious enough to be deemed a major penalty. Sure, Seguin's ear was cut, but I think the call was just an over-reaction. Nonetheless, the call stood, and Nashville went to work killing off the penalty.
2nd Period
  • Nashville lucked out with having Hornqvist's major cut in half between two periods, and were successfully able to kill off the penalty. That would prove to be huge later on in the game.
  • Colin Wilson registered his first career goal against the Bruins last season, and haunted the Bruins again, ending a substantial scoring drought with a screw-puck goal at 10:59. Wilson took a pass from Jon Blum and put a simple wrister on net, and the screwball action on the shot was enough to get past Rask.
  • Boston tied the game at 13:33, as David Krejci scored off the rebound of a heavy Nathan Horton slapper.
3rd Period
  •  At 1:42, Patrice Bergeron took a pass from veteran Mark Recchi in the slot and sent a laser over Pekka Rinne, giving Boston their first lead of the game.
  • As Martin Erat exited the penalty box after his penalty had expired, Kostitsyn found him for a breakaway opportunity. Rask was able to make an amazing save on Erat's shot, as well as the rebound try by Kostitsyn, but David Legwand was able to find the back of the net and evened the score again at 10:56.
  • Did anyone catch Rask's reaction after Legwand scored? He flipped his stick over his shoulder and pounded the ice in frustration. Understandable, considering the defensive breakdown that had just occurred in front of him mere moments before. But still a tad amusing...
  • The last time Nashville played Boston at home, the game was on Valentine's Day, and that game went to overtime, with the Preds winning in a shootout. Tonight, on St. Patrick's Day, this game also went to overtime, but no shootout was needed, as a Shea Weber bomb at 3:37 sent the home fans home happy.
Other Thoughts
  • The win was the first for the Preds in the extra frame, moving their overtime record to 1-5. As bad as the record looks, it's nice to finally get that first win.
  • I was thrilled that Nashville was able to get four goals tonight, despite being without the services of Patric Hornqvist for 2+ periods. Another testament to the genius that is Barry Trotz and his coaching staff.
  • Pekka Rinne looked much better tonight, stopped 35 of 38 shots. Rebounds weren't as much of an issue compared to the past two games. He stood tall (no pun intended) went Nashville was forced to kill off the major penalty, and kept the Preds in the game by turning away numerous Boston opportunities in the third period.
  • Referee Brad Watson, who assessed the major penalty to Hornqvist, refused to answer questions after the game regarding his call. My take: if you make a call, you better be prepared to defend your reasoning behind the call, or you better admit you potentially made a mistake. Running from the media doesn't help your case any.
HUGE two points for Nashville, as they try to keep up with the ever-competitive Western conference. No help was received, so the Preds remain one point out of the eighth spot in the West. Next up, another huge game, as they square off with Central-division rival Detroit, who will be seeking revenge for the 3-0 blanking they were given back on February 5th.

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