It’s that Anders Lindback character again!
For the second straight game, Lindback shut out the opposition as Nashville took care of the woeful Islanders, 5-0. The win was their third straight and sixth in the last seven games.
The first half of the first period was controlled by the Islanders, but P.A. Parenteau’s tripping changed the outlook. Nashville scored on the subsequent power play when Sergei Kostitsyn deflected Cody Franson’s point shot past Dwayne Roloson. The goal was scored at the 11:15 mark as Kostitsyn stretched his point streak to six games.
Both teams traded power play opportunities later on in the period, but the Preds carried that 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Patric Hornqvist expanded Nashville’s lead to 2-0 just 5:22 into the second. He pounced on a Shane O’Brien rebound to net his seventh goal of the season. Before putting the puck on net, O’Brien hopped over a sprawling Parenteau and kept possession.
A little over two minutes later, Jerred Smithson’s bad-angle wrister eluded Roloson to put the Preds on top 3-0. The goal was set up by a nifty loft-pass from Kostitsyn. After those pair of goals, Lindback had to make some key saves as the Isles pressed.
At the 13:55 mark of the third period, Hornqvist scored his second of the night to go up 4-0. He followed his shot, picked up the rebound and stuffed in the wrap-around attempt.
The clock was winding down when the Preds had a five-on-three advantage. Barry Trotz put Nick Spaling out to try to get his first NHL goal – and he got it. Shea Weber found a wide-open Spaling next to the yawning net with 1:45 remaining. The tally sealed a 5-0 victory for the Preds.
Lindback – the game’s first star – made 28 saves as he extended his shutout streak to 121:33.
Trotz on Lindback…
“He’s been great. In the first period we really left him out to dry, especially early. We talked about getting off to a good start, but we really didn’t… we put him under siege a little more than we wanted to. I thought it was a difficult night for him because a lot of pucks were being tipped and re-directed and stuff like that. He really gave us a chance to get our legs underneath us a bit.”
Trotz on getting through the ‘trap games’…
“It shows some maturity. When you talk to everybody around the league, it’s so competitive. When you look at the West, every game is so big. Sometimes the human reaction is ‘Ok, I can take a breather tonight. We should be able to beat these guys or what have you’, and you tend to bring that mental focus and attitude down a little bit. I think we showed a lot more maturity in the last two games of making sure we take care of business.”
O’Brien on his assist…
“(The puck) slid out to me and he came sliding across. I knew I couldn’t shoot it and was just going to try to bring it around him, but he kept sliding towards me. It was just a reaction… I didn’t even think I could jump like that! But I did, got the puck on net, and Horny took care of the rest.”
Spaling on his first goal…
“It’s great! I can’t stop smiling right now. It’s pretty exciting to get that… glad to get one finally!”
Franson on recent team success…
“We’ve played some solid team games lately and have given ourselves a chance to win. Lindy’s come in and played unbelievable with back-to-back shutouts. When your goalie can come in and do stuff like that it gives us a lot of confidence. We like to play on edge and push the pace and it’s been successful.”
The last two games were a great sign about this team. Welcoming in Florida and New York’s other team into the Music City sounds easier than it is, and the Preds took care of two teams near the bottom of the East.
Lindback’s play – in the absence of Pekka Rinne – has also been great. The team hasn’t missed a beat with ‘Anders the Giant’ in net. Overall, the team is playing the way they need to if they wish to survive the Western Conference logjam. As Trotz would put it, they are playing ‘Predator Hockey’.
The Preds will host the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, which will be another good test in what is a busy week for this club.