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Geoffrion bags 3 en route to unbelievable Preds win…

Preds Bruins recap photo

Without rookie Blake Geoffrion, the Nashville Predators wouldn’t be sitting at sixth place in the Western Conference right now.

In only his 11th NHL game, “Boomer” bagged all three Predators goals in regulation – including two in the final 3:00 — to help his team to a 4-3 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Both teams were playing their second game in as many days and both were coming off a big win. Only one, however, had to to travel 709 miles between games.

In a rare back-to-back-on-consecutive-nights home set, the Sabres disposed of the Atlanta Thrashers 8-2 last night before letting a three goal second period get away against the visiting Preds this afternoon.

After the Preds took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at the first intermission, Buffalo got three tallies from Nathan Gerbe, Tim Connolly and Tyler Ennis in the second.

Everything looked bleek late in the contest as there was only 3:00 remaining in regulation and the Predators (who don’t exactly have the easiest of times scoring goals) were down by two. Not to mention, they were on the road and had played a tough game against Detroit less than 20 hours before.

But that’s when The Blake Geoffrion Show premiered.

After a scrum in the corner, the Brentwood, Tennessee native dug the puck out, drove hard to the net and managed to bang one past Ryan Miller to pull his team within one.

Then just 1:02 later, and with Lindback skating to the bench for an extra attacker, Geoffrion tipped a Cody Franson shot from the point past Miller for his third of the game, his team’s third of the game, and his first career NHL hat trick.

The Predators wasted no time in the extra session. Just 0:27 in, Ryan Suter found Martin Erat alone on the far side of the rink. Erat one-timed it past Miller to complete the improbable Nashville comeback.

The win puts the Predators at 38-25-10 and they now have 86 points in ultra-competitive Western Conference.

Anders Lindback got the start in net for just the first time since February 3. He made 35 saves in the victory. It was his first NHL win since January 6.

Words cannot describe the comeback in this one. Nashville, who has the third worst offense in the West (and the worst of the teams inside the playoff bubble), was fresh off a hard-fought game against Detroit just last night, had travelled on a two hour flight to upstate New York that morning, had given up three second period goals to the home team and didn’t have their starting goaltender in net. Oh yeah, and there was less than 3:00 left in the game. Geoffrion’s second goal gave the team life. His third goal gave them a chance to get a point by forcing overtime. That was pretty much as far as most Predators fans had thought it through. “One point. Okay. I’ll take it.”

The fact that this team went out and found the energy — and the killer instinct — to get the OT winner is a tremendous sign of character and resiliance. And, on this night, it all came from a kid who’s only playing in the NHL because of injuries.

Wow.

LEFTOVER THOUGHTS:
* Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff and Nashville’s Barry Trotz are the two longest tenured coaches in the NHL. Ruff has coached in 1,055 games while Trotz has coached in 974.
* All six of Geoffrion’s goals have come from in front of the net. So, let this be a lesson, kids. It’s the fundamentals that’ll get you places.
* Geoffrion not only finished with three goals, but also with a plus-3 rating.
* Sergei Kostitsyn, who had one point in his previous 10 games, now has four in his last three.
* Matt Halishuck was Nashville’s healthy scratch today.
* Eight different Nashville Predators registered points in the tilt.
* The Predators will now play seven of their last nine in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // section303.com