Friday, January 13, 2012

Preds earn critical two points against Avalanche

The Nashville Predators came from behind to defeat the Colorado Avalanche by a 3-2 score in overtime on Thursday night in front of 16,905 at Bridgestone Arena. With the win, the Predators have now won three games in a row.

Colorado dominated the first period of the game. They got two goals in the period, and both of them are goals that Pekka Rinne would probably like to have another shot at.

Ryan O'Reilly scored the first goal for the Avalanche after he intercepted a pass attempt from Rinne. After he made the interception, he was able to fire it into what was essentially an empty net to give Colorado the 1-0 lead. The Avalanche took a 2-0 lead when Gabriel Landeskog fired a shot that squeezed through the five hole on Rinne. It wasn't the best effort for the Predators in the first period, and it put Nashville in a pretty big hole.

"We came out pretty soft in the first period," said Predators defenseman Francis Bouillon.

However, the Predators would come out in the second period with a lot more jump in their game. Nashville brought the game within one goal when Matt Halischuk banged the puck off of the pads of Colorado goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere and David Legwand converted on the rebound. Bouillon kept the play alive on the blueline, and allowed Halischuk to make the play that led to the goal.

"You always create more offense when defensemen get involved. We try to jump in the play every once in a while. We try to create more offense. The forwards always like it because it opens the play.

Nashville rolled out a dominant effort in the third period and overtime. Sergei Kostitsyn tied the game at two on a great shot in the third period, and Legwand scored his second of the game in overtime to win the game for the Predators.

With the victory, Nashville got all four possible points against Colorado this week. That's particularly impressive when these two teams play back-to-back games against each other. It's hard to beat teams two times in a row.

"That's character. It was a kind of mini playoff for us, and we've talked about those two games for a week now. We played really well in the game in Colorado. Tonight was another great performance by the team, and we've got to keep playing the same way," Bouillon said.

Nashville will now begin a little bit of an Eastern Conference swing. They will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena, and will travel to New York after that.

"It's always easier to keep the focus when you're playing against your conference, but those two points are the same. It's going to be important to play the same game. We've always got a good chance to win when we play three good periods, and we've got to start in the first period next game," Bouillon said.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. David Legwand(NSH)
2. Sergei Kostitsyn(NSH)
3. Ryan O'Reilly(COL)

Official 3 Stars:
1. David Legwand(NSH)
2. Sergei Kostitsyn(NSH)
3. Ryan O'Reilly(COL)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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