Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preds win again; Have collected points in eight of last nine

The Nashville Predators defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 4-1 score on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. Pekka Rinne made 38 saves in the win, and Toronto's Phil Kessel was a minus-four on the night.

Nashville took the early lead in the first period when Martin Erat scored off of a rebound. The Predators would maintain the one goal lead throughout the first period despite having only three shots for the entire period.

"Their forecheck in the first period was pretty intense. We didn't respect that in the first period, and we found out pretty quick that was a good team on the other side," said Nashville defenseman Francis Bouillon.

Toronto would tie the game at one at 10:36 of the second period when John-Michael Liles fired a wrist shot past Rinne on the power play. That goal seemed to awaken the Predators for the remainder of the game.

The Predators would retake the lead just 2:06 later when Ryan Suter took a wrist shot from the point that beat Maple Leafs goaltender Ben
Scrivens. Suter found himself all alone at the point and fired while Mike Fisher was screening Scrivens in front.

Erat got his second goal of the game on a 2-on-1 rush when he converted on a great backhand pass by Fisher. Erat scored on two of his
four shots on the night, and really provided the Predators with timely goals. The line of Sergei Kostitsyn, Fisher and Erat had a great game tonight.

"They built something last year in the playoffs I guess. At the beginning of the season, it seemed like one of them was always out so it was
tough for them to play together. Now they're playing unbelievably for us," Bouillon said.

Nashville had a chance to ice the game away late in the third with Toronto's net empty. Craig Smith tried to roof the puck in the net from
about three feet away and shot it over the glass. Matt Halischuk, however, was able to convert with 22.4 seconds remaining in regulation to
give the Predators the 4-1 win.

With the win, the Predators have collected points in eight of their past nine games. Productive runs like these can pay dividends at season's end.

"We feel pretty good. We're a good group of guys here. Every time we work, we get a chance to get those two points. That's what we did tonight," Bouillon said.

Nashville has two games remaining against Western Conference foes on the five game homestand. Columbus will come to Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night, and Edmonton visits Music City on Tuesday night.

"It's always a four point game against teams like that, and it's really important for us to play well. Every game for us is important and we need the most points we can get," Bouillon said.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Martin Erat(NSH)
2. Sergei Kostitsyn(NSH)
3. Mike Fisher(NSH)

3 Stars by Nashville Media:
1. Martin Erat(NSH)
2. Sergei Kostitsyn(NSH)
3. Mike Fisher(NSH)

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