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Post-Game Musings: vs. Colorado

by Jim Diamond / Nashville Predators
When Charles Dickens penned A Tale of Two Cities, he surely was not envisioning this week’s home-and-home series between the Predators and the Colorado Avalanche. Thursday night’s game started out eerily similar to Tuesday’s game in the Mile High City with the road team jumping out to an early advantage. But unlike Tuesday where the road Predators held on to earn the road victory, their home comeback tonight for a 3-2 overtime win before a near capacity Bridgestone Arena crowd broke the mini-pattern.

David Legwand’s two-goal performance Thursday night was his third multi-goal game of the season. His overtime-winner against the Avalanche was his second game-winning goal of the season. His first game-winner came November 5th in San Jose, which also came in overtime.

The victory over the Avalanche was Nashville’s seventh-straight and ninth in the last 10 games between the two teams. And this week's wins allowed the Preds to push their lead over Avs in Western Conference standings from one point on Tuesday morning to a more comfortable four point edge tonight. The two teams do not face each other again until March 8th in Nashville, and they conclude the season series April 7th, which will be the final game of the regular season for both teams.

Rough Start: Thursday night’s second half of the home-and-home series with the Colorado Avalanche started off slowly for the Predators. Two days after racing out to a three-goal first period, Nashville trailed 2-0 after one thanks to a couple of goals Pekka Rinne would like to have back. Just over six minutes in, Rinne’s attempted clearing pass was intercepted by Ryan O’Reilly in the slot, where he had a virtually open net to deposit a wrist shot. Six minutes later, Colorado rookie Gabriel Landeskog’s slap shot from the left side beat Rinne between the pads. Much like the second and third periods Tuesday night, the Avs had a big shot advantage in the opening frame Thursday, outshooting the Preds 15-7 in Period 1. Nashville turned things in their favor on the shot clock the rest of the way, enjoying a 28-14 advantage through the final two periods and overtime.

Thursday Magic: The come from behind win over the Avalanche represented the Predators fifth comeback victory when they were down two goals in their last six Thursday games. The odd run of comebacks started December 1st at Vancouver and continued December 8th at Columbus, December 15th against Detroit, and December 22nd against Columbus. The only game to break that sequence was last Thursday’s home loss to the Dallas Stars. Following the game, Barry Trotz said that he was pleased that his team has found a way to rally from behind in so many games this season, but he certainly does not want to make a habit out of it if at all possible.

Keep Shooting Sergei: The coaching staff is routinely telling Sergei Kostitsyn to shoot the puck more when he has the opportunity to do so. With his game-tying goal in the third period of Thursday’s game, Kostitsyn now has four goals in the five games the Predators have played since the calendar turned to 2012. Those four goals have come on just six total shots on the opponent’s goaltenders. For the season, Kostitsyn’s nine goals are a result of just 40 total shots on goal, which is good for a team-high 22.5 shooting percentage.

G Pekka Rinne (On his first period): “I gave those guys both of those goals. It’s not a good feeling obviously. After the first period, you feel you let your teammates down a little bit, but like so many times before, they battled back. They helped me out, that obviously feels great.”

F Sergei Kostitsyn (On shooting the puck)
: “There is a time to shoot the puck, there is a time to pass the puck, so I am still going to make the play if there is a guy wide open or something.”

F David Legwand (On the game-winner): “(Stefan) Elliott was the skater there. He had me beat up the wall, and I actually had to catch him. It was a bouncing puck in the neutral zone. I got it and saw them back up just a little too much, so I took the middle of the ice. I got my own rebound and put it over his shoulder.”

F David Legwand, Nashville: Two goals including overtime game-winner
F Ryan O’Reilly, Colorado: One goal, one assist, four shots on goal
F Sergei Kostitsyn, Nashville: Game-tying goal

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