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Post-Game Musings: at Anaheim

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Anders Lindback was outstanding through the first two periods to keep the Preds close and then Nashville’s skaters controlled the game in the final period to allow the Preds to skate away with a 3-1 win in Anaheim on Sunday night. With the win Nashville moves into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, tied with Detroit at 92 points, but the Preds hold the first tie breaker over the Red Wings.

Nashville wrapped up the challenging West Coast road trip with five points in the four games (2-1-1), earning points on three of the four stops on the trip.

The Preds return home with a 10-point lead over the playoff cutline as all teams enter the final 10 games of the regular season.

And now on to the musings...

Line Changes: The Preds coaches switched up lines late in the third period sliding Gabriel Bourque up to a line with David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist and moving Andrei Kostitsyn to a line with Craig Smith and Brandon Yip. Both new lines were very successful over the final 20-minutes of play. The Legwand line was the most dominant line for either team in the third period combining for two key goals. Bourque intercepted an Anaheim clearing attempt early in the period, gained the blueline, dropped a pass to Legwand who fed Patric Hornqvist for the game’s tying goal and then Legwand iced the game with an empty netter with 17 seconds left. But the trio had several other quality shifts late in the second period and through the third frame -- including a near-miss on their first shift after converting the 1-1 goal. The Smith line gave the Preds a handful of dangerous shifts, key lower-line performances that had been missing for Nashville through the first three games of the road trip; Andrei Kostitsyn really stood out during the third period with a couple of strong one-on-one plays.

Klein’s Return:
After missing eight games with an upper body injury, Klein played both games of the weekend back-to-back, rejoined skating 16:57 last night at Los Angeles and 20:44 tonight at Anaheim. Klein and partner Francis Bouillon were arguably Nashville’s best defensive pairing from start to finish tonight. Klein made a huge stick save on an Anaheim wrap-around attempt to keep the score 1-0 – Anders Lindback made the original save on the right post, but the Ducks controlled the rebound and had a quick wrap-around attempt on the backside that Klein read and prevented.

A Tale of 2 Cities: Last night the Preds were out-scored 3-1 in the third period, dropping a 4-2 decision at Los Angeles. Tonight the Preds won the third period 3-0 to claim a 3-1 win. Nashville held an 11-9 advantage in shots on goal in the final period, with a 21-11 lead in attempted shots. The Preds have now out-scored opponents 78-68 in third periods this season.

David Legwand on tonight's game...
"We got away with one tonight. Anders played a great game for us and we had a chance to come back and get two points tonight. Anders has been great about the thing the whole year and it was great to get a win for him."

Gabriel Bourque on the play leading to Nashville's first goal...
I tried to keep the puck inside the offensive zone, but I didn’t keep it in the zone. We turned it around quickly and they (Legwand and Hornqvist) told me where they were on the ice. Leggy made a good play and Horny did a good job to finish it.

Gabriel Bourque on Anders Lindback...
Pretty awesome for him. He deserved it. Every day he works hard. Being behind Pekka Rinne is pretty hard, but he works hard and does a really good job for us in practices. We haven't done enough for him when he's played, so it is good to get a win for him."

NSH G Anders Lindback - 30 saves for the win
NSH F Gabriel Bourque - 1 assist, 3 shots on goal; changed momentum for the Preds with his move to the Legwand line
ANA F Ryan Getzlaf - 1 assist, team-high 4 shots on goal; was dangerous throughout the game

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