By Amanda DiPaolo
Since Pekka Rinne suffered an injury in Columbus, Anders Lindback has gone 3-0-1 in net for the Nashville Predators. On Saturday night, Lindback recorded his first NHL shutout, 3-0, stopping a Florida Panthers team that were riding a three-game winning streak. The Predators extend their record to 6-1-5 at Bridgestone Arena this season.
The Predators got two goals in the first period, one from each of their number one defense pairing. Ryan Suter scored just 1:14 into the opening frame, scoring when he jumped into the rush and slammed home a goal from Erat and Kostitsyn. It was Suter’s first goal of the season.
Shea Weber scored his fifth goal of the season at 16:49 of the first period. Suter passed the puck to Weber from behind the net and Weber didn’t miss with his hard slap shot.
The game did get a little physical. Jordin Tootoo hit Michael Frolik in the middle of the first period. Panthers Captain Bryan McCabe reacted by mobbing Tootoo from behind and yanking him down. Both Tootoo and McCabe were called for roughing. Tootoo says the hit was clean. “It’s just the way I play. I play with a lot of impact and that just seems to get them off their game. I think in this league you have to be able to keep your head up and like I said, when I hit someone it’s with a lot of impact.”
In the second period Darcy Hordichuk and JP Dumont got into it along the boards and seemed to exchange words. The altercation ended with Dumont hitting the stick out of Hordichuk’s hands. In the third period, Hordichuk tried to repay Dumont by laying a hit on him in the offensive zone.
Former Predators forward Mike Santorelli commented on the physical nature of the game. “Two teams that just want to go at it. Everyone wants to win. That is all it comes down to.”
There was no scoring in the second period and the only goal in the third period was an empty net, power play goal, scored by Joel Ward with 54 seconds left to play.
After the game, Patric Hornqvist picked up the puck and gave it to Lindback. “It means a lot,” the 6’6 netminder said, adding “It is always bigger with the shutout and this is my first one in the NHL so it feels special. It’s a good feeling.”
Coach Barry Trotz added that Lindback has really settled into his role as the goaltender for Nashville while Pekka Rinne is out. “He made a couple of really key saves for a goaltender who didn’t have a lot of shots in the first half of the game; your mind can wander. He kept really good focus. They had some really good push in the third, but he just fought and found pucks.
Nashville next takes on the New York Islanders Monday night at Bridgestone Arena. New York has really struggled this season and is at the bottom of the standings in the NHL.
Additional Game Notes:
Sergei Kostitsyn extended his point streak to five games with his assist on the Suter goal.
JP Dumont saw more ice time tonight, including 3:31 of power play time.
Mike Santorelli said coming back to Nashville for the first time “was a little different but as the game went on I kind of got in the zone and just had another game.”
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. Upcoming games include Monday against the Islanders and Wednesday when the San Jose Sharks make their first visit to Smashville this year.