Legwand’s game winner gives Preds two much needed points

(Photo by: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

In a physical and sometimes boring game, the Nashville Predators were able to get a must-needed victory over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. “It was a real good effort from us, especially three games in four nights,” said head coach Barry Trotz.

The Predators did not play a full sixty minutes, but luckily they weren’t victimized from the worst in the West. “It was a huge two points,” said Pekka Rinne. “We’re heading in the right direction at the right time.

This win brings hope and life towards making the playoffs. They now sit tied for eighth place with the St. Louis Blues, but St. Louis has three games in hand. Nashville has a tough Central Division schedule coming up and this is just a warm up for what is going to happen in the next few games.

In a scoreless and physical first period, the fans were able to see some fireworks as Rich Clune and Brad Malone dropped the gloves. Prior to the fight, Malone just came out of the box after taking a cross-checking penalty that shook David Legwand up. “Clune stepped up there in a nice fight and got the boys going,” said Predators’ forward Matt Halischuk. “Everyone’s stepping up for each other.”

Nashville was able to generate some chances, but was unable to capitalize, as usual against the Avalanche.

The second period started off all Colorado and forced head coach Barry Trotz to use his timeout to get his team’s head back in the game. It did so for a little bit, but not enough to put a goal on the board.

Legwand had the best chance to score with just over two minutes remaining as he forced a turnover and went in on net, one on one. He picked up his own rebound after shooting, but was hauled down by Ryan O’Byrne before being able to put the puck back on net. O’Byrne received a minor for hooking, which ignited the Preds’ power play. Despite all their chances, they were unable to score.

Two Avalanche players were injured during the second, both caused by a puck hitting them. Forward PA Parenteau took a puck to the face off a deflected stick entering the Avs’ zone. Parenteau was shaken up, but returned after being checked out by a medical trainer.

Then 13:56 in, defenseman Erik Johnson took a slap-shot from the worst possible person, Shea Weber, in the ribs. Johnson went straight to the ice and forced the referees to blow their whistle. Along with a couple Colorado players, Patric Hornqvist signaled for the trainers to come on the ice immediately. Luckily, Johnson went off on his own power to the dressing room. He returned later on.

Matt Duchene broke the ice in the scoring department 1:01 in as he broke away from the Nashville defense using his speed and scored on Rinne’s five-hole.

Seven minutes later, Patric Hornqvist was able to stuff a goal past Giguere on the power play to put the Predators on the board and tie the game up. The goal was reviewed because of suspicion that Taylor Beck kicked the puck in, but wasn’t the case as Hornqvist was the last player to touch the puck before it went in.

The goal came at the price of Victor Bartley, who drew the penalty by getting a stick to the face.

Nashville was on the all-out attack and put heavy pressure on the Avalanche. Fans showed their appreciation by giving the players a standing ovation. Head coach Joe Sacco was forced to use his timeout to change the momentum. “It was huge at the four minute mark when they gave us the standing ovation,” said David Legwand. “We fed off that.”

Legwand was able to break the tie and take the lead due to his hard work down low. “[Matt] Duchene just fell in the corner and left an opening to go to the net,” said the goal scorer. Legwand brought the puck in front and stuffed it past Giguere’s five-hole with 1:14 remaining.

Following the goal, Duchene was angry and looked towards the rafters of Bridgestone Arena in frustration.

Paul Gaustad capped the night off with an empty netter from the blue line with just seconds left in the game to give his team a 3-1 win over the Avalanche.

Line Up Report

Starting Goaltenders:

Name SV SH GA SV % Decision TOI
#35 Pekka Rinne 25 26 1 .962 WIN 60:00
#35 J.S. Giguere 35 36 2 .946 LOSS 59:15

Predators Scratches: #12 C Mike Fisher (hand), #19 W Bobby Butler and #57 W Gabriel Bourque (upper body)

Avalanche Scratches: #5 D Shane O’Brien, #12 W Chuck Kobasew and #54 W David Jones

Mueller’s back: After waking up in Milwaukee earlier this morning, Chris Mueller found himself in Nashville playing hockey against the Colorado Avalanche. Mueller played on the fourth line with Brandon Yip and Matt Halischuk. Although he and his linemates were held off the score sheet, they were generating plenty of chances.

Mueller had two shots on net, a minor penalty for high-sticking and 9:01 of ice time to show for his efforts Tuesday night.

“Notorious” call:  At 5:46 in the first period, Rich Clune and Jean-Sebastien Giguere received minor penalties. Giguere was given a tripping minor, while Clune received a minor for diving.

My beef with the situation is that a referee should not be allowed to call it both ways. He has to call it one way or another. It is either a tripping penalty or a diving penalty. That is one aspect of the game that will have to be looked at by the NHL to stop the confusion and disallow players who weren’t doing anything wrong to go to the penalty box.

Goals and Assists

1-0 COL: Matt Duchene – unassisted at 1:01 in the 3rd

1-1 tie: PP Patric Hornqvist – Beck and Weber at 8:23 in the 3rd

1-2 NSH: David Legwand – Beck (2) at 18:46 in the 3rd

1-3 NSH: EN Paul Gaustad – Klein and Legwand at 19:45 in the 3rd

My Three Stars of the Game

1. David Legwand: Goal & Assist

2. Taylor Beck: 2 Assists

3. Pekka Rinne: 25 Saves on 26 Shots