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game recap

Predators beat Thrashers 6-3 to close in on playoffs

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 5:16 AM

NHL.com

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Predators beat Thrashers 6-3 to close in on playoffs
Atlanta Thrashers 3, Nashville Predators 6
Just making the playoffs isn't enough for the Nashville Predators.

The Predators climbed from sixth to fourth in the Western Conference standings on Tuesday night as Jordin Tootoo and Sergei Kostitsyn each had two goals and an assist in a 6-3 victory against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Matt Halischuk added a goal and an assist for Nashville, which jumped over Phoenix and Los Angeles and closed in on its sixth playoff berth in the past seven seasons.

"That was still a big one for us," center Mike Fisher said. "We're trying to move up and get that 4 spot if we can. That being said, we were playing a team that's out of it, so find a way to get up. We got some good bounces early and really put the game out of hand."

The Predators have 97 points with two games remaining. They need one point, or one loss of any kind by Dallas, to earn a berth.

Nashville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, and the Predators earned their 23rd home win, making them the only NHL team to win that many each of the past six seasons. Fisher has a power-play goal and Patric Hornqvist had 3 assists.

Tootoo's three-point night was a career-best -- but all he wanted to talk about was focusing on finishing strong.

"Mentally, we've got to be prepared to play 60 minutes and not look too far ahead of us," Tootoo said. "We've got to live in the moment shift by shift and make the best of it. ... We need points. We want to win out the season here and then obviously be as high as we can in the standings."

Atlanta trailed 4-0 after two periods. Blake Wheeler scored twice in the third, and Nik Antropov added a late goal.

"We waited until a little too late to get our goofy things to happen for us and score some goals," coach Craig Ramsay said. "I can't blame anybody. When they got a chance, it went in."

Both teams had 12 shots in the first period, but the Predators did a lot more with their dozen against Chris Mason.

Halischuk opened the scoring at 5:24 with a backhander from the slot for his third goal. Tootoo got an assist on the goal, then made it 2-0 at 19:19 when took advantage of Antropov's failure to clear the puck from the crease after Mason had stopped Martin Erat's shot, flipping the puck over the goal line.

Kostitsyn made it 3-0 with 0.8 seconds left when he fired a wrister into the open side of the net.

"We outshot them, outskated them and outplayed them," Antropov said. "Then in a matter of minutes they got two goals at the end. It killed it. Big time. I thought we battled back a little bit. You have to give them credit and especially their goalie (Pekka Rinne). He stood on his head and got some really nice saves."

Rinne finished with 33 saves.

Ramsay changed goaltenders after Tootoo scored again at 1:56 of the second -- again taking advantage of a mistake by the Thrashers. Halischuk passed the puck toward the slot and a Thrashers player apparently tipped it with his stick off Tootoo's left skate and past Mason for the 4-0 lead.

Mason made nine saves before he was replaced by Ondrej Pavelec.

Kostitsyn scored off a pass from Cody Franson for his second of the game and 22nd goal this season at 2:28 of the third. Wheeler converted a wrister at 3:06 to keep Rinne from posting a shutout, but Fisher's power-play wrister off a nice pass from Kostitsyn made it 6-1.

That's when Nashville coach Barry Trotz started spreading the ice time around, not worried about matching up against the Thrashers.

"They had their No. 1 line out, we had (Blake) Geoffrion's line out there," Trotz said. "That won't happen in the playoffs."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report.
scoring summary
1st Period
05:24
NSH
Matt Halischuk (3) ASST: Jordin Tootoo (9), Jerred Smithson (7)
1 - 0 NSH
19:18
NSH
Jordin Tootoo (7) ASST: Martin Erat (33), Jonathon Blum (5)
2 - 0 NSH
19:57
NSH
Sergei Kostitsyn (21) ASST: Patric Hornqvist (24), Cody Franson (20)
3 - 0 NSH
2nd Period
01:56
NSH
Jordin Tootoo (8) ASST: Matt Halischuk (8)
4 - 0 NSH
3rd Period
02:28
NSH
Sergei Kostitsyn (22) ASST: Cody Franson (21), Patric Hornqvist (25)
5 - 0 NSH
03:06
ATL
Blake Wheeler (17) ASST: Andrew Ladd (29)
5 - 1 NSH
06:18
NSH
PPG - Mike Fisher (19) ASST: Sergei Kostitsyn (27), Patric Hornqvist (26)
6 - 1 NSH
16:25
ATL
Blake Wheeler (18) ASST: Ron Hainsey (15), Tim Stapleton (2)
6 - 2 NSH
17:10
ATL
Nik Antropov (16) ASST: Evander Kane (24), Alexander Burmistrov (14)
6 - 3 NSH
penalty summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
13:24
NSH
Sergei Kostitsyn  Slashing against  Zach Bogosian
14:00
ATL
Nik Antropov  Slashing against  Joel Ward
14:59
ATL
Alexander Burmistrov  Boarding against  Martin Erat
18:07
ATL
Ben Maxwell  Hi-sticking against  Blake Geoffrion
19:37
NSH
Patric Hornqvist  Too many men/ice - bench
3rd Period
02:55
NSH
Colin Wilson  Cross checking against  Ben Maxwell
02:55
NSH
Colin Wilson  Fighting (maj) against  Ben Maxwell
02:55
ATL
Ben Maxwell  Fighting (maj) against  Colin Wilson
02:55
ATL
Ben Maxwell  Cross checking against  Colin Wilson
05:49
ATL
Eric Boulton  Roughing against  Jordin Tootoo
05:49
ATL
Eric Boulton  Misconduct (10 min)
goalie stats
Ondrej Pavelec
SA: 11TOI: 38:04
Saves: 9EV: 9 - 10
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 1
SV%: .818SH: 0 - 0
Chris Mason
SA: 13TOI: 21:56
Saves: 9EV: 9 - 13
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: .692SH: 0 - 0
Pekka Rinne
SA: 36TOI: 59:35
Saves: 33EV: 32 - 35
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 1
SV%: .917SH: 0 - 0