Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wilson thrives in dominating win over Chicago

The Nashville Predators dominated the Chicago Blackhawks in front of a sold-out crowd at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night, winning the game by a 5-2 score. The Predators controlled the play for most of the night, and used a three-goal second period to coast to the win.

It was an incredible atmosphere for a regular season game. It was the 15th sellout crowd of the season at Bridgestone Arena, and there were a lot of Chicago fans inside the building.

"It honestly felt like the playoffs. It was unbelievable. Everybody was pretty rowdy there so it was really exciting and I think that gave us a bit of an edge," said Predators forward Colin Wilson.

Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawk fans something to cheer about at 15:04 when he blew past Shea Weber and snuck a backhand shot past Pekka Rinne. It was a great play by Hossa, who played a great game for Chicago.

Craig Smith got the Predators on the board while on the power play at 17:19 of the first period when he was able to corral a rebound and put it past Corey Crawford.

Nashville really blew the door wide open in the second period. Kevin Klein scored a fluky goal when he dumped the puck in the zone, and it bounced right over the stick of Crawford and into the net to give the Predators a 2-1 lead.

After having several chances in the first period, Wilson was finally able to convert in the second period on a great pass from David Legwand. It was his first goal in the last 15 games.

"I hadn't scored in a while. I realized that, so I've got to get to the net. My linemates were getting pucks to the net and making good plays so I was fortunate enough to get one," Wilson said.

Wilson had been driving to the net all night. He made a highlight reel move in the first period that almost resulted in a goal, and made his presence felt around the net all night. The goal was a big relief for him.

"I had some assists, but I haven't been driving to the net like I should be. I haven't been sticking around the net like I should be so it was good to get that one. Hopefully I can get on a roll," Wilson said.

Sergei Kostitsyn gave the Predators a 4-1 lead on a beautiful deke attempt on a breakaway. He faked out Crawford, and put the puck into an essentially wide open net.

Hossa struck again for the Blackhawks in the third period to bring them within two goals, but Patric Hornqvist iced the game away for the Predators when he tipped in a shot from Klein. Nashville held on for the 5-2 victory, and gained two points on the Blackhawks.

Detroit and St. Louis both got wins on Saturday night, which means that Nashville didn't gain any ground those teams. The Central Division has been the toughest division in the NHL so far this season, so this win could be big for the Predators in the long run.

"For some odd reason, even though we've been going so well, we're somehow fourth in our division. We want to be first, so beating them is a big game. It's always a four point game," Wilson said.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Colin Wilson(NSH)
2. Kevin Klein(NSH)
3. Sergei Kostitsyn(NSH)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Kevin Klein(NSH)
2. Sergei Kostitsyn(NSH)
3. Marian Hossa(CHI)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)