Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Preds 4, Ducks 1: Message sent

One down, three to go.

The Preds kicked off their series with a sonic boom, defeating the Anaheim Ducks in dominating fashion by a 4-1 final. Pekka Rinne led the way by stopping 27 of 28 shots, once again showing why he is one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL.

1st Period
  • In their series with Chicago last season, Nashville only managed one power play goal. They equaled that total on attempt #1, as Shea Weber took a Mike Fisher pass and sent a screamer past Dan Ellis at 4:13.
2nd Period
  • Anaheim's scoring lines were buzzing all night long, and it seemed that it would only be a matter of time before a puck got behind Rinne. Thankfully, Nashville was able to get Pekka some much needed offensive support.
  • At 15:16, Steve Sullivan ran down a Cody Franson lob and broke in on Ellis. Ellis made the initial save, but Sully managed to get his own rebound and slide the puck past Ellis' pads.
  • At 18:08, Nashville once again expanded their lead, as Patric Hornqvist found a streaking Fisher, who stopped at the top of the faceoff circle to Ellis' right and fired a laser over Ellis' right shoulder.
3rd Period
  • 56 seconds into the period, Fisher tallied his second goal of the game, as he skated into the Ducks zone and, using a defenseman as a screen, put a wrist shot on net that beat Ellis. With that goal, Ray Emery replaced Ellis between the pipes.
  • Anaheim finally solved Rinne at 11:24, as Teemu Selanne beat his fellow countryman on yet another 5-on-3 goal.
Other Thoughts
  • For the most part, Nashville stayed disciplined, allowing the Ducks to take silly penalties early on that killed any momentum that they were gathering.
  • Pekka Rinne. What more needs to be said. The guy stood on his head like he has all season long, and the offense rewarded him with a four-goal lead to work with.
  • Nice to see Sully contribute with his goal tonight, playing in only his second game since returning from a groin injury. He looked great while on a line witb Blake Geoffrion and Matt Halischuk, slso registering two shots on goal in just over six minutes of ice time.
  • Another impressive game for Mike Fisher, recording a three-point night (2G,1A). With a team full of players lacking playoff experience, hi own playoff experience will be vital if the Preds are to advance past the first round.

Fantastic start. Winning Game 2 on Friday night would be huge, considering the Preds have never held a two-game series lead. They blew their chance against Chicago last season, and if the Preds can pull off another win with Games 3 and 4 at home... oh, boy.

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