The Nashville Predators kept their fragile playoff hopes alive by beating the Blues in a 1-0 in overtime. Shea Weber broke his goal drought at 2:36 into overtime when he drilled a shot into Chris Mason's pads. Mason made the initial stop but the puck rolled slowly on its side across the goal line to end the game. For Blues fans it was like waiting for a train wreck with no one able to stop it as the puck rolled almost surrealistically out of the blue ice.
Pekka Rinne continued his outstanding play in net stopping all 30 St. Louis shots. He was left as the last line of defense repeatedly as St Louis out shot the Preds 30-22. Rinne received first star honors for his fifth shutout of the year.
The first period got of to an interesting start with 7:41 of play before the first whistle. Both teams skated well but the Blues had more scoring chances out shooting the Preds 9-6 in the period. The Predators took a couple of unwarranted penalties at the mid point of the period on infractions by Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. Pekka Rinne kept the Preds tied with several point blank saves on Blues scoring chances.
The second period produced similar action. At one point the Predators were inches away from a goal when a puck caught iron on one side of the net and traveled through the blue ice to the other post before clearing the area. Again, the Blues out shot the Preds 12-8. It appeared that Radek Bonk may have reinjured his wrist as he left the game with the "upper body injury". Rinne and Mason both looked solid in net.
The end to end skating intensified in the final period as both teams were desperate for points and wanted to win in regulation, not giving the loser a point in overtime. St. Louis came close to a goal at 12:05 when they caught a post. After that, the action became almost frantic with the Blues having several good runs at the net including one at 13:10 that left Rinne laying in the back of the net that somehow did not dislodge. The teams continued to appear evenly matched as the finished regulation in a scoreless tie. The Blues out shot the Preds again in the final stanza 9-7.
For the fourth time in six meetings this year the Preds and Blues went into overtime. Weber's goal was set up on a pass from J P Dumont as they skated past the blue line and toward the net. Weber's shot was the only one for either team in the extra period and it was all the Predators needed.
The win left brought the Predators to the 60 point mark, three points behind the eight place Anaheim Ducks who currently hold the last playoff spot. St Louis fell two points behind the Preds into a tie for last place in the tightly bunched Western Conference.
The Predators return home for a five game home stand that begins Tuesday night at the Sommet Center against the Chicago Black Hawks. It the Predators are to remain in the hunt for a playoff position they must dobetter than the 2-2 record they had in the just completed home stand.
Trade Talks With the trade deadline less than two weeks away and everyone getting into the fray of who is going where, I am going to attempt to chronicle rumors about the Preds that I read cruising through the webosphere. I don't intend to create any new rumors but merely keep a list so that when all is said and done on March 4th we can reflect on the validity of any rumors that may or may not come to pass.
Here's the rumors that I've seen so far. Feel free to email any that you come across with the original link to PredsOnTheGlass@live.com to add to the list.
Erat and Hamhuis for Staal and Eaton (2-17 Bleacher Report)
Koisteinen asks to be traded (2-19 Tennessean)
Ellis to Flyers (2-20 Eklund)
Hamhuis, Bonk and draft picks avalible (2-20 Forchecker posting for Illegal Curve)
Sullivan to Calgary (2-21 Calagry Sun)
Hockey News Goalie Ratings The hockey news released it's list of the NHL's top 30 goalies. Pekka Rinne was listed at 19 while former Preds Vokoun (9th) and Mason (16th) were rated higher. Tim Thomas of Boston was listed number one while Niklas Backstrom, Steve Mason, Henrik Lundquist, and Ryan Miller rounded out the top five.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass