Anyone who was upset about the Nashville Predators losing their rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings in NHL realignment shouldn’t worry too much. After taking this year’s season series from the Preds 2-1 thanks to a lot of physical play and strong goaltending, the Minnesota Wild are going to generate all the hate this town could ever want.
As you would expect from the two worst offenses in the league, there wasn’t much scoring to go around. Nashville actually looked really good in the first period and was generating chances. They outshot Minnesota 9-6 in the first, but to no avail as the period ended 0-0.
Minnesota broke through first, but not with a goal. Instead, they took out Colin Wilson on a nasty play into the end boards. Nashville’s leading scorer lay motionless on the ice while David Legwand was called for goalie interference, then left the game and did not return. Nashville killed that penalty and three others in the period, but a Zach Parise deflection of a Ryan Suter shot at 9:01 was all it took for Minnesota to go into the second intermission up 1-0.
David Legwand picked up the only Nashville Predators goal on the night in the third period, also on the power play, assisted at 6:28 by Shea Weber and Sergei Kostitsyn. That made it 1-1, which carried on through the rest of the third and overtime to set up another shootout. Pekka Rinne looked bad there again, and David Legwand’s shot going off the post in the third and final round meant it was Minnesota that got two points tonight instead of Nashville.
- Colin Wilson has been by far the team’s best skater this season. Missing him for the last two periods didn’t help Nashville’s chances at all. He’s going to be re-evaluated tomorrow.
Pekka Rinne was in fine form for the second night in a row, stopping 28 of 29 shots in 65 minutes of work. The shootout may just have been too much at the end of the back-to-back; aside from his save on Koivu, he didn’t look good in it at all. It’s been sad to watch him struggle with the shootouts this year.
- Barry Trotz has said before that David Legwand can be “as good as he wants to be.” That goal in the third was proof positive. He moved straight for the open net and was rewarded with a goal. Too bad he doesn’t play like this more often.
- Ryan Suter was booed nearly every time he touched the ice tonight. All game long. He said that the duration of the booing “kind of surprised me.”
- After playing a back-to-back, the extra point was some consolation. But Nashville is suddenly in a very tough spot. They’re only four points ahead of the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets, who have won four games in a row. The Preds need to start winning with consistency, and soon.
- Two days off before facing the Stars in Dallas is about the only good news at this point. Looks like there may be another Milwaukee call-up on the way to fill out the lineup in the wake of Wilson’s injury.