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Huge penalty kill at the end of regulation helps Nashville to overtime victory


Oct 24, 2013


Nashville has had their fair share of penalties over the course of the season, however none may have been as important to kill off as the one they experienced this evening against the Winnipeg Jets. While the Predators won the game on a Craig Smith overtime goal, Winnipeg had a chance to put the proverbial nail in the coffin against a Nashville team that had a bit of trouble staying out of the box.

In their past five games, the Predators are averaging nearly four penalties a game. Their 39 times shorthanded sets them at tenth worst in the NHL in total penalties taken, a statistic that the Predators are going to want to change in the future.

“We don’t want to take that many penalties, but that’s going to happen once and a while. Both [Fisher] and [Wilson] penalties were like they stepped on their stick and they fell. Obviously that’s a penalty, but it’s going to happen. The killers did a great job and shut the door to get us two points,” said Predators forward Patric Hornqvist.

Nashville took the lead early in the third period as Hornqvist notched his fourth goal of the season off a rebound from Ondrej Pavelec. A little over ten minutes later, Winnipeg got their tying goal in nearly the same fashion, as Blake Wheeler scored his third of the year off a Carter Hutton rebound.

Just 14 seconds after the Jets tied the game, Nashville found themselves a man short.

“The [penalty kill] at the end of the game was huge. We just gave up a goal and within ten seconds we take an unnecessary penalty. We turn the puck, take a penalty, and had to kill it off. That penalty kill was really huge and they’ve done a great job lately,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz

Winnipeg had gained the momentum back and was looking to take the lead with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. Yet, the Predators penalty kill has been impervious over their past seven games, with arguably their biggest kill of the season tonight nearing the end of the third period.

Nashville is also at a near record-breaking pace, as their seven straight games without allowing a powerplay goal is tied for second all-time in franchise history. The current record of nine straight games without a powerplay goal was set between November 18th and December 4th, 2010.

Their 22 straight penalties killed, however, is 15 shy of the franchise record of 37 set between November 16th through and December 6th, 2010.

With Pekka Rinne sidelined for the next three to four weeks, Nashville’s penalty kill is one bright spot that needs to maintain it’s luminosity to give the Predators every chance it can to come out of a game with two points.

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua