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Preds Fight Their Way Back To Win 3-2 Over St. Louis

April 2, 2010, 12:06 AM ET [ Comments]

An all out war is what the 15,242 witnessed tonight at the Bridgestone Arena. The Nashville Predators were physically tested and rose to the occasion coming back from two down to overtake the St. Louis Blues in the 3rd period for a 3-2 win.

Felder’s FANTASTIC Five:

1. A Roaring Comeback - That comeback could be a positive turning point for this team. It should give the Preds some type of confidence that they can win a playoff style battle in which the opponent is doing everything in their power to throw them off their game. I thought St. Louis played outstanding hockey and really pushed the play at times.

2. Young At Heart, Yet Leading the Way - This was a night in which Hornqvist and Wilson would not and could not be ignored. They powered this team in the crucial moments. It's a positive sign to see these young guys battle through such a physical game. The question now is who would be the team MVP at this point. Is it Rinne or Hornqvist? That boys and girls is a heck of a debate.

3. Goaltending To Be Seen - Speaking of the team MVP debate this was yet another solid performance for Rinne. Peks is playing stellar hockey during this stretch drive and has certainly deserved the league-wide recognition he has been receiving. Although he didn't earn an NHL 3 Stars of the Month honor (and I feel he should have) he would likely tell you that doesn't matter to him as long as they keep pushing forward towards the playoffs.

4. Sacrifices - The epitome of this was displayed tonight. I look at 4 different plays. One is Colin Wilson dropping gloves with Polak to stand up for himself and Horny. Another has to be Joel Ward blocking a point shot at the blueline with less than 10 seconds to go to kill of the game. Hornqvist took beating after beating in the crease, took all sorts of punishment in scrums after the whistle, and still had a huge impact on the game. Lastly, I look at Ryan Suter taking the abuse that David Backes was dishing behind the play even though the referee was looking right at this and never called a penalty.

5. Fighting Through Adversity - There were quite a few instances where the Predators could have called it a night. Also, there were a number of instances in which the refs were involved in plays that tended to go against the Preds. This is not me complaining about that, but rather giving credit to Nashville for fighting through that, maintaining composure, and keeping focused on coming back to take the 2 points.

Other Notes:

* Tonight’s scratches were Jason Arnott, Denis Grebeshkov, Cal O'Reilly, and surprisingly Jordin Tootoo. For St. Louis, Carlo Colaiacovo, Matt D'Agostini, Cam Janssen, and former Predator Paul Kariya were all scratched.


* POWER PLAY GOAL for ST. LOUIS - 12:47 to go. A shot from the point by Alexander Steen sneaks in stick side as David Backes went to the crease and screen Pekka Rinne from a save. There is a bit of controversy with this one as fans and it appeared the Predator bench felt this was goaltender interference since Backes was in the crease and did not allow Rinne the space to move towards his right post. It was a tough call there because the play happened so fast.Having the advantage of replay here on writers row I tend to agree that it was interference and the goal should have been waved off. It didn't help that Backes fell over Rinne after the goal was scored which caused even more Preds fans to be upset. Either way the goal stands. Steen (24) from Patrik Berglund (12). The Blues have taken a 1-0 lead mid-way thru the 1st period.

* 4:58 to go and their is a scramble at the Blues net with the Preds jamming away at Mason dying to get a man advantage goal. Within the scrum we suddenly see Colin Wilson emerge with Roman Polak. Things turn from a holding contest to actually dropping gloves. Hat tip to Jim Diamond of the Examiner website who pointed out on Twitter that it was Wilson's first every NHL penalty minutes and they came as a fighting major. Now, the truth of the story is that Polak rocked young Wilson's world however it did appear that the one punch Colin landed was a solid one. I'm calling it a fight win for Roman, but give credit to Colin for landing a clean one. That said, all of the fans and Wilson's teammates appreciated the effort and him standing in there during the bout.

* END OF THE 1ST PERIOD – NSH: 0 STL: 1 Positives - Preds are fighting back, literally at times, and appear to be gaining some offensive momentum. Winning 61% of the faceoffs. Outshot the Blues 14-11. Negatives - Preds are now 1-25 on the man advantage since March 14th. Taking a few too many penalties.


* GOAL for ST. LOUIS - 16:49 to go. David Perron takes advantage on a turnover as he takes the puck over his blueline and circles in towards the faceoff dot on Rinne's stick side. Perron lets go a wrister that is actually a bullet pass along the ice to the back side. Andy McDonald reaches with the stick and gets his tape on it for the tap in back door goal. The key to that one was Perron's shot/pass laying so flat on the ice. Well done and a big momentum goal for the Blues considering the Preds are working on 8+ periods of an inability to score on home ice. McDonald (22) from Perron (21) and Berglund (13). St. Louis now leads 2-0.

* GOAL for NASHVILLE - 8:48 to go. A deflection in the crease gets the Preds on the board at home. Dustin Boyd deflects a Cody Franson wrister from top high glove to down low and thru the five-hole, leaving former Pred Chris Mason no chance. Really nice shot from Franson since he waited on the screen from Boyd. The home goal drought is over for the Predators at 191:44 minutes. That is a franchise record in futility. That was the first goal on Preds ice for Dustin Boyd, and his 3rd as a Pred. He likes playing St. Louis since his other 2 goals both came in St. Louis back on March 21st. Boyd (11) from Franson (14) and Patric Hornqvist (19). Preds cut the Blues lead in half to 2-1.

* 13:45 into the period. This time we have Wade Belak and DJ King dropping them. Pretty good tilt here however I give a slight edge to Belak for landed some solid connections 1/4th of the way into the fight. After that it was more of a tie-up bout rather than throwing hands. Still, it's been awhile since Preds fans have seen not just one but two fights in a single game.

* GOAL for NASHVILLE - 3.5 seconds to go. Talk about a momentum swing. Colin Wilson takes advantage as he grabs a loose puck near the top of the crease that Patric Hornqvist had just lost with two Blues trying to poke it away from him. The impressive part of this one is how quickly Wilson took the puck from stick side on his forehand to the backhander where he roofed the puck in high glove. Just a gorgeous goal from the young Wilson and very timely for his team.

* END OF THE 2ND PERIOD – NSH: 2 STL: 2 Positives - Preds able to bury the puck finally. Some young guys stepping up in this game. Nashville leads shots on goal 27-21. Negatives - 1 for the last 28 and counting on the man "advantage". Turnovers in their own end have cost the Preds dearly. 11 total giveaways thus far.


* GOAL for NASHVILLE - 13:55 to go. Steve Sullivan scores his 255th career goal in style. This play was crazy because the puck was high in the air and bounced just ahead of the blueline in the neutral zone. Sully batted it down on the bounce, the Blues D-man touched the bouncing puck briefly before Steve corralled it again. Then it was a mini-breakaway from the slot to Mason. Sully dekes to the low glove side, gets Mason to bite, and then takes the puck still on the forehand, around, and in past a now outstretched Mason. That is the type of goal we haven't seen from Sullivan in regulation in a bit and it was quite the tally. Sullivan (16) from Hornqvist (21) and Marcel Goc (18). Preds now take the 3-2 lead.

* FINAL SCORE – NSH - 3 STL - 2.

My Three Stars:

1. Hornqvist - 3 assists, +3, 5 shots on goal, and 3 hits.

2. Sullivan - 1 game winning goal, +2, 4 SOG's, and 1 takeaway.

3. Wilson - 1 goal, 1 fight, and 2 SOG's.

Goalie Grade: B – The starting goaltender tonight was Pekka Rinne. Once again, Pekka put on a show. The save of the night came with under a minute to go, Perron pulls off a nifty move down low and gets a one on one with Rinne. It was brief but had the feeling of the game on DP_57's stick. As Perron broke in from the low left slot he took the path across the crease, got Rinne to sprawl, but Peks put up the leg pads low glove to save the game. Just a stunning stop that brought the crowd to a fever pitch. No matter the goals against because that save summed up the night for Pekka. 31 saves on 33 shots against. None bigger than the one off of Perron's tape.


Brandon Felder - "The Blues were really protecting their crease tonight. Talk about the battles down low with them. Those guys don't seem to like you very much now."

Patric Hornqvist - "No they don't. I think it should be like that every night. There were great battles in front of the net, the walls, everywhere. It was like a playoff game. It was just a great battle and great game out there."


Felder - "The best way to get your first penalty minutes in the league is to go all out?"

Colin Wilson - "Yeah I guess so. It doesn't penalize your team or anything like that. You get your penalty minutes but your not in the box watching them kill it off so it's a fun way to get it."

Felder - "Did the style of tonight's game lend itself to that?"

Wilson - "Yeah, I guess so. I fought a couple of times in Milwaukee. Generally it just comes out from the front of the net, if somebody cheap shots me or cheap shots somebody. Like tonight the guy, he cross-checked Horny and then he just grabbed me."

Felder - "In that split second on your goal, is there enough time to think, 'I have to go forehand to backhand' or is it more instinct?"

Wilson - "Actually that time I just knew I had to go to my backhand if I had just ripped a shot he would have been ready for it so I had to move a little bit to the side."


Felder - "Peks at the end of games like that when the opponent has pulled their netminder and their's a scramble, how hard is it to maintain focus in the chaos out there?"

Pekka Rinne - "Well it's little bit different. You know that everybody is going to crash the net and you just try to find those pucks as best you can. You know they are going to throwing the puck from everywhere. You just have to try to see the puck, trust your teammates, and trust they are going to block the shots. It's always a scramble and a lot of times it's tough because it's hard to get a (line) change so guys get a little tired. We played really desperate hockey at the end there."


Felder - "Is it encouraging to win that physical type of game that you will likely see in the playoffs, especially for the young guys who haven't been to the playoffs yet?"

Barry Trotz - "Yeah absolutely. I think those games (playoffs) are going to be like that. They are going to be physical, they're going to be hard, and we've had a few of them in March here. Obviously tonight was one of those and we responded well to that and we'll continue to respond well. Some of our more physical guys, you look at Hornqvist and Wilson, they really stepped it up physically in terms of going to the net and winning those battles. That has to translate to everyone on the roster, all 23 because that's the way the games going to be played right now. It's going to be a little bit of a trench warfare where you're not going to have much time and space. You're really going to have to fight to get in on the forecheck, to get to the front of the net, to get back, and your going to have to do all those things. It's not a real easy game to play. It's a determined game that you have to play and you have to play hard, you gotta step up, show up, and compete and I thought guys did that tonight."

Final Thoughts:

This was quite an enjoyable game to watch. It has me jonesing for playoff hockey even more. All out battles in which every player has to put it on the line is the type of hockey most fans crave. Tonight was one of those epic battles and I think the outcome should give the Preds some confidence that they can prevail in such playoff-like situations. There are some guys on this team that will be playing in the NHL post-season for the first time ever so any experience that can resemble it and give them even some experience is huge.

The Predators next game is Saturday afternoon for a 1 pm CST tilt at Joe Louis Arena with the Detroit Red Wings. This is the last game of the series for this rivalry. Coverage will be on FS-TN so don't miss it. It's a playoff position battle that could have huge implications on who plays who come Round 1.

Till the next time, thanks for reading and take care.

Questions, comments, and criticisms can be sent to [email protected] if you wish to contact me personally.

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