The Nashville Predators scored twice in the first period, added a third goal in the second frame and sealed the win with three goals in the third period to skate away with a 6-1 win at Chicago on Sunday night as the Preds won both ends of their weekend back-to-back set to move into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference standing. With the win, the Preds improved to 4-0-1 against the Chicago Blackhawks -- and 15-3-3 against Central Division rivals -- this season.
Playing to it's team M.O., Nashville got a balanced offensive effort with six different goal scorers and points from 12 of its 20 skaters (goaltender Pekka Rinne
also added an assist to help out the offense), including multi-point games from Mike Fisher
, Matt Halischuk
, Patric Hornqvist
, and Shea Weber
Wth the win, the Preds were able to leapfrog idle Detroit for the No. 4 seed and extend their lead over No. 6 seed Chicago to four points. Nashville also pushed its lead to 10 points over the Western Conference playoff cutline.
And now for the musings...THREE MUSINGS: Andrei’s Impact:
With Martin Erat
’s injury (late scratch tonight/upper-body), Andrei Kostitsyn
was bumped up to the top-two lines for tonight’s game and made an immediate impact scoring the Preds second goal. Andrei was on the ice for three of the team's six goals scored, finishing with a +3 plus/minus rating on the night.Hali Strikes First:
For the second consecutive game Matt Halischuk
scored the game’s opening goal. Halischuk has scored the game’s opening goal four times this season, tied for second most on the Preds roster and tied for 61st in the entire NHL. Halischuk was also instrumental on Nashville’s fourth goal; for the season Halischuk has been very productive on the road, scoring nine of his 14 goals and 17 of his 26 points away from Nashville.Peks Back in Order: Pekka Rinne
stopped 48-of-50 shots in winning back-to-back games this weekend, his 40th and 41st wins of the season. Rinne was especially strong in the opening moments of the game with two or three key saves on the game's first few shifts. The weekend showing erased any concerns over Rinne’s minor blip three-game blip when he had allowing 12 goals of 57 shots.POST-GAME QUOTES:Head Coach Barry Trotz on tonight's game...
“It was a good effort. We’re doing the right things more often here, I think we realize that there’s a certain way you have to play the game, and if you play the game that way we’re going to be in the game every time. You get a big save here or there, you get a big goal by [Matt] Halischuk, I thought our penalty kill of keeping them off the board, especially early when they had a couple power-plays in the first. We chipped away and we got some timely goals.”Captain Shea Weber on tonight's game...
“It was good, we had a good start, I think we played a pretty good game overall. I think we were a little undisciplined, we took too many penalties, fortunately our penalty kill was good and maybe they were off a little bit tonight, but we can’t be giving that much talent and offense that many chances, because it’ll burn you in the long run.”THREE STARS:
1) NSH F Matt Halischuk
- 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots, 2 hit, 2 blocked shots; scored the game's opening goal
2) NSH D Shea Weber
- 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots, 4 hits, 2 blocked shots
3) NSH F Alexander Radulov
- 1 assist, 5 game-high shots, 2 blocked shots, 20:37 ice time (game-high for all forwards); creative offensively and responsible defensively