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Post-Game Musings: vs Detroit

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Pekka Rinne made 35 saves, David Legwand dished out three assists, but it was the work of the Kostitsyn Brothers that drew the headlines -- working together on a pair of power-play goals -- as the Preds topped the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.

Midway through the first period, Sergei Kostitsyn found his brother Andrei all alone at the top of the Detroit goal crease. Andrei hooked around Detroit netminder Joey MacDonald for his 14th goal of the season to give the Preds a 2-1 lead. Early in the third period the brothers combined again on the power-play with Sergei pin-pointing a feed through the goal crease to Andrei at the far post to give the Preds a 3-1 lead. It marked the 10th and 11th times the brothers have assisted on each other’s goals since they entered the NHL and the first time as a member of the Nashville Predators. Prior to tonight, the last time they combined for a goal was January 17, 2009 with Montreal when Sergei assisted on Andrei’s goal at Ottawa.

Rinne took over from there, stopping 17-of-18 shots in the third period alone, including a highlight reel poke to stop Johan Franzen with 10:25 remaining and another challenging stop on Henrik Zetterberg with 3:41 left in regulation.

With the win the Preds pulled within four points of Detroit for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a game in hand and one more head-to-head meeting left on the schedule. At the same time, the Preds are now six points clear of No. 6 seed Chicago, also with a game at hand over the Hawks.

And now on to the Musings...

Peks Spectacular: Pekka Rinne was outstanding... again. He was a game-changer in the second period when the Red Wings out-shot the Preds 10-to-6, with a 22-to-9 advantage in shots attempted, keying Nashville’s penalty kill late in the middle frame. Detroit held the man-advantage for 3:50 at the end of the period, including a 10-second five-on-three (which was preceded by 12-15 seconds of six-on-four action during the delayed call). Rinne highlighted the kill wiht a stop when he fought thorough Tomas Holmstrom at the top of his crease to blocker away a dangerous shot and pushed the Wings power-forward out of the way to get back in position for the rebound attempt. But in the third period he was even better, turning aside 17-of-18 shots for the period.

The Legwand Effect: David Legwand was highly involved in the Preds offense tonight, creating all three of Nashville’s goals. The play on his first assist may have been his best of the night, winning a 50/50 battle for a loose puck just outside of the Preds defensive blueline, parlaying that into a two-on-one with Patric Hornqvist, and then sliding a puck under Klye Quincy to give Hornqvist an empty-net tap-in. Legwand had a momentum changing shift with Colin Wilson and Matt Halischuk in the middle of the second period after Detroit had four-to-five minutes of solid pressure in the Preds end, and then he, Patric Hornqvist and Andrei Kostitsyn drew Nashville’s first power-play of the third period with strong work in the offensive zone to force an interference call, drawing an assist later in the extended power-play.

Special Teams: The Preds won the battle of special teams, killing off all four Detroit advantages -- including back-to-back power-plays late in the second period (going in the direction of the long change to the bench) -- while converting on two-of-four power-plays of their own. Nashville used its second power-play opportunity to grab a 2-1 lead mid-way through the first period -- a lead the Preds would never relinquish the remainder of the way. And then the Preds took advantage of back-to-back power-plays early in the third period to push the lead up to 3-1. Moreover, the Preds used the special teams situations to change momentum in the game, feeding off the goals in the first and third periods as well as the 3:50 kill late in the second frame.

Head Coach Barry Trotz on the Kostitsyn brothers…
"They both made really good plays. I thought Sergei really made some good plays. The first one, obviously, was a redirect to Andrei and Andrei made a really good, poised move right at the net and put it in. The second one, Sergei again, we threw it down low and waited for their D to turn his head for one second and as soon as he turned his head, Andrei jumped back door and Sergei fed him a great pass."

Pekka Rinne on his last minute save on Filppula…
"It looked like I got it, but it hit the side of the net. But it was a good play, I kind of knew that he was coming – he was the only guy on that side. He got a good pass but we all read it pretty good and he didn’t really get that good of a shot."

Andrei Kostitsyn on skating with his brother Sergei…
"We played before on the Canadiens, but it’s fun to play together. I feel comfortable because I know that he likes to pass to me and is more a passer than a shooter."

1) NSH G Pekka Rinne: 35 saves
2) NSH F David Legwand: 3 assists, 19:18 ice time
3) NSH F Andrei Kostitsyn: 2 goals, game-winning goal

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