For the first time in franchise history, the Predators will take a series lead into Game 4 of a playoff series, after they stunned the Blackhawks with a 4-1 win in Nasvhille Tuesday. David Legwand had a goal and two assists, while Pekka Rinne made 26 saves and held the loaded Chicago offense to just a single goal on the night.
The Blackhawks’ only goal of the night came on the powerplay, with Tomas Kopecky being rewarded for some good hard work in front of the net to even the game at 1-1 after Joel Ward had given the Preds a 1-0 lead. Early in the 2nd, however, Legwand put the Predators on top for good, redirecting a beautiful cross-ice saucer pass from Steve Sullivan past Antti Niemi. Five minutes later, Shea Weber unleashed a bomb from the point that tipped off a stick in front and under the legs of Niemi. In the 3rd, Martin Erat would score on a rare penalty shot to put an exclamation point on the victory. >
One thing that both teams noticed was the impact that the crowd in Nashville had on the game. Both coaches noted that the noise was so loud that they could barely hear, and with their team playing as well as it did, the fans had good reason to be upbeat. The fact that Nashville has kept this series so close with the winners of the Central Division is a surprise to many.
Pekka Rinne will need to continue his stellar play, as he’s been more than up to the task of holding back the all stars on the other bench. Niemi’s been solid, as he didn’t really give up any bad goals in this one, but he coul dbe a bit better, and he’ll have to be if the Hawks want to make any noise against the more proficient offensive teams in the league, should they get out of this series alive.