In Thursday morning's game preview, I guaranteed a victory for the Nashville Predators over the Minnesota Wild. Thank goodness I was right.
The Nashville Predators blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night. Pekka Rinne earned his 6th shut-out of the season and the Predators got a much needed victory.
Nashville came out flying in the 1st period, and drew an interference penalty at 1:07 of the period on former Pred Greg Zanon for interference. The Preds would not convert on the power-play, but Joel Ward scored on the continuation of the power-play to put the Predators up 1-0. The scoring wouldn't stop there for Nashville in the 1st period. Nick Spaling put the Preds up 2-0 less than a minute later on a great pass from Jerred Smithson. Martin Erat would add another Nashville goal at 12:32 of the period to give the Predators a 3-0 lead after one period.
In the 2nd period, neither team would get on the board, but both teams had pretty steady play. Nashville had a few chances to extend their lead, and Minnesota had a couple of chances to get on the board. However, nothing would be capitalized and the period would end with the same score as it began.
The 3rd period would see the same sort of play from the Predators and Wild as the 2nd period did. Pekka Rinne really wasn't tested very much, and Nicklas Backstom made a few good saves. However, Nick Spaling would score his 2nd goal of the night on an absolutely beautiful pass from Shea Weber between three Minnesota players. That would be the final goal of the game as the Preds won 4-0.
Thoughts from the game:
Mike Fisher left the game with about 17 minutes left in the 3rd period. Barry Trotz said the he was "fine", but that has no bearing with me whatsoever. We're all hoping for the best with Fisher.
Pekka Rinne got the shut-out tonight and really wasn't tested very much at all. He was not a very busy man in tonight's game, which is a welcome change of pace given the way things have gone lately for the Preds.
Nick Spaling played a fantastic game tonight. He was all over the ice, forechecked extremely well, and got 2 goals to show for his hard work.
Sergei Kostitsyn got his first point since February 19th with his assist on Spaling's last goal.
On Spaling's final goal, the Preds actually scored the goal 4 on 4. If you've been following this team at all this season, you know how big of a deal that is.
This was a needed and welcome win for the Nashville Predators. They now sit only one point out of a playoff spot and have passed Minnesota for the time being. However, this win becomes mute if the Predators do not take care of business on Saturday against Colorado. The Preds played just about as good of a game tonight as you can expect from them, but they have to do that again on Saturday night. One win is fine and dandy, but the Predators need to put together a series of wins if they want to reach the postseason. That's what this homestand is all about.
The Preds will take on the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The puck will drop at 7:00 P.M.