Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spaling dominates faceoff circle in Preds' shootout win

The Nashville Predators were able to steal two points from a St. Louis Blues team that dominated the majority of the game. In a contest that only saw one goal for each team through three periods and overtime, the Predators were able to get the 2-1 victory by way of a shootout.

St. Louis out-shot the Predators by a 40-20 margin in this game, including a 14-2 effort in the first period. Nashville was able to weather the storm, and took a 1-0 lead in the third period on a goal by Martin Erat. T.J. Oshie would tie the game at one for the Blues on the power play after a horrible line change by the Predators. David Legwand scored the lone goal for both teams in the shootout, and the Predators escaped with a 2-1 victory.

"I think the guys definitely stuck with it. The first period wasn't the way we wanted to play. I don't know how many shots we had after the first, but that's not our game plan going into the game. But we stuck with it and got back, and it was a huge two points," said Nashville centerman Nick Spaling.

Spaling was dominant in the faceoff circle for the Predators tonight, winning 74 percent of the draws he took. Spaling and Jerred Smithson combined to win 23 of 30 faceoffs for Nashville.

"I think that's the way it goes some nights. I think you try to prepare the same every night for the faceoffs, and tonight it just seemed to go my way," Spaling said.

Pekka Rinne played an extremely strong game in net for the Predators, stopping 39 of the 40 shots he faced. He also didn't allow a goal in the shootout.

"It was great. I think he's been great in our homestand here. He's been playing awesome for us. Especially in the first half in the first half of the game he held us in when we had some lapses there. He was there to keep us in the whole time, and then at the end of the game coming up huge," Spaling said.

After starting the year with a series of lackluster performances on home ice, the Predators won all four games on the four-game homestand. All four of those wins came against Western Conference opponents.

"We had a rough start at home at the start of the season, but it was huge to be able to play this many games at home and to be able to take advantage of that was big. We want to be able to continue to play well on home ice," Spaling said.

Nashville will take on the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. Martin Erat(NSH)
3. Jaroslav Halak(STL)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. Martin Erat(NSH)
3. T.J. Oshie(STL)

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