Monday, February 27, 2012

Preds beat Kings, move within four points of division lead

The Nashville Predators were able to hold on to defeat the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night in front of 15,665 at Bridgestone Arena. Pekka Rinne made 30 saves on the night, and recorded his 35th win of the season.

Nashville came out pretty well in the first period. The two teams had a good pace during the opening frame. There wasn't a stoppage in play until 3:44 into the period. At 18:27 of the first period, Roman Josi gave the Predators a 1-0 lead by simply putting the puck on net.

"It was just kind of a rush and (Legwand) made a good play in our zone, passed it to the middle and I had some time. I saw guys crossing to the net so I just tried to put it there. I think it went off the defenseman's stick so it was kind of lucky," Josi said.

Patric Hornqvist gave the Predators a 2-0 lead at 3:52 of the second period. David Legwand fired a shot wide of Jonathan Quick that went behind the net. Hornqvist was in good position for the rebound and put the puck into an essentially wide open net.

In the third period, Dustin Brown would spoil Rinne's shutout effort when he fired a puck at the net that deflected in off of Ryan Suter. However, the Predators would hold on for the one-goal victory.

With the win, the Predators are now 4-0-1 since acquiring Hal Gill from the Montreal Canadiens. He's been a steady force on the defensive end, and his penalty killing efforts have been extremely valuable for the Predator so far.

"It's been great. He does all of the little things right. He's great defensively and always makes the right play. He talks to me a lot so it makes it easy for me. I get to learn a lot," Josi said.

Nashville added two more pieces on Monday before the trading deadline. Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad were acquired by Nashville on Monday afternoon, which gave the locker room a bit of a boost.

"It gave us a good boost. We were focused on the game today, but it was kind of like a special day with all of those trades. I think they are two great players. It gives us a boost, and it gives us more depth," Josi said.

With the win, the Predators are now four points behind St. Louis and Detroit for the Central Division lead. Nashville will travel to Carolina on Tuesday to take on the Hurricanes for the second time this season. If the Predators win, they can potentially pull within two points of the division lead if Detroit loses to Columbus in regulation.

"It's really important. We've got to play a little better than we did today. We didn't play as well as we hoped to, and we made it closer than it should be at the end. It's going to be another huge game tomorrow. We're trying to catch St. Louis and Detroit," Josi said.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. David Legwand(NSH)
3. Roman Josi(NSH)

Official 3 Stars:
1. David Legwand(NSH)
2. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
3. Roman Josi(NSH)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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