<

Dumont comes alive, leads Preds to first win in two weeks…

When the captain goes down, who steps up?

Why the ex-alternate captain, of course!

JP Dumont netted his second goal of the season and then helped out on four others to lead the Nashville Predators over the Ottawa Senators 6-5 on Thursday night. It was Nashville’s first win since October 8.

Yep… that was two weeks ago.

But all is right with the world now as, not only did the Predators get back on the winning track, but they continuted their strong overall play which has brought their confidence back.

The Preds did make it harder than was necessary, however. They scored three goals in the opening 11:00 and held that lead until the third period. In the opening minute of the third stanza, however, both Ryan Suter and Steve Sullivan were sent to the penalty box for seperate infractions, giving the Senators a 5-on-3 power play. On the insuing two-man advantage, Ottawa got the first of what would be five – count ‘em FIVE – goals in the third period.

After two more scores in the next 7:00, Ottawa had knotted it up 3-3.

Nashville would again take the lead on a quick rebound shot by Shea Weber with under 9:00 remaining. The Predators have killed the Senators’ momentum.

Or have they?…

In a move right up there with Dan Ellis’s pass to James Neal in the first game of the year, Pekka Rinne comes way out of his net (at one point it almost looks as if he wants to check Jason Spezza into the boards himself) which gave pinching defenseman Anton Volchenkov an empty net to shoot at. Needless to say he buried it, tying the score at four a piece.

After Ottawa was assesed penalties for delay of game (shooting the puck over the glass) and too many men on the ice, the Predators went on the man advantage with less than 2:00 remaning. And, for the first time since opening night in Dallas, they notched a power play goal. Suter’s extra man marker with exactly 1:00 left on the clock was going to be the difference maker.

Or was it?…

In a moment where they probably thought the final horn was going to sound any second, every Predator on the ice was staring at the puck in the corner. All the while former 1st overall pick Chris Phillips is sneaking into the crease area to blast home a random centering pass with less than 0:02 remaining.

In the extra session, boo’s rained down from the Ottawa stands after Matt Carkner was called for interference. The Predators were on the man-advantage once again and finally put home the winner on a Weber slapshot from the point.

(It’s a good thing overtime in hockey isn’t played all the way through, otherwise Nashville would’ve found yet another way to squander the lead.)

After his performance tonight, Rinne played himself right out of starting goaltender contention. The first Senators goal slid under his pads, he went down too early on the second (albiet a serious mis-communication between Colin Wilson and Suter actually led to this goal), he basically waved at the third goal as it just flat out beat him stick-side and then, on the fourth goal – well… we already talked about that.

The blame on the fifth goal is squarely on the shoulders of Weber, who made up for it by tallying the game-winner in overtime.

This was the first game in which a Nashville goaltender has been anything less than solid but, just as they deserved to win the Buffalo game back on October 10, they probably deserved to lose this one yet pulled out a victory.

Regardless of whether they deserved it or not, the Predators will take it. And, hopefully, will build off it. They travel to Chicago this Saturday to take on the Blackhawks for the second time this month.

 

GAME NOTES:
* Suter’s first goal of the game was actually deflected off of the leg of Ottawa defenseman Alexandre Picard.
* Cody Franson scored his first NHL goal tonight, also off of – you guessed it – Picard. He now has points in each of his two career NHL games.
* Dumont had two points coming into Thursday’s game. Now he’s tied for the team lead in scoring with seven.
* Martin Erat finished the game with a minus-3 rating.
* Despite the minus-2 rating, David Legwand continued his strong play as of late. He was positionally sound, logged some very important minutes during the penalty kill and even created some space in the offensive zone.
* Weber not only scored two goals but also fired seven shots on goal.
* The Predators scored more power play goals in Thursday’s game (2) than they had all season long coming into the game.
* Much maligned defenseman Kevin Klein was on the ice for two of Ottawa’s five goals.
* Not someone you’d exactly call a “thug,” Jerred Smithson finished the game with 12 penalty minutes.
* Philips, who scored the game-tying goal in the waining seconds of regulation, finished the game with plus-4 rating. By contrast, Carkner finished with a minus-4.
* The next 303:30 will feature special guest John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting. It will be released Saturday, October 24 around 3pm.