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Preds use third period heroics to comeback (again)…

November 5: The Preds surrender three consecutive goals to the host San Jose Sharks yet manage to tally three straight of their own to win 4-3 in overtime.

November 15: Washington breaks the scoreless tie late in the third period but Nashville responds with three goals in the final 4:18 to stun the high-powered Caps.

December 1: The Vancouver Canucks bag four goals in the second period, chasing Pekka Rinne in the process, but the Predators score the last three to win 6-5.

December 8: Nashville comes back from a 3-1 third period deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime, 4-3.

(I think you see where we’re going with this.)

Tonight: The Preds score the last three goals of the contest (including two in the final 4:24) to knock off their arch-rival, the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3 in front of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena.

Rinne turned aside an incredible 37 Detroit shots en route to his 14th win of the season. Jimmy Howard, at the other end of the ice, made only 17 saves on 21 Nashville attempts.

Predators captain Shea Weber used his teams’ only power play to tie the game at 3-3 with less than 5:00 left in regulation. He then scored the game winner with just 1:36 remaining to send Bridgestone into a frenzy.

“It was unbelievable,” Craig Smith said about the crowd. “I couldn’t believe how loud it was. That was the loudest I’ve ever heard it.”

Nashville Head Coach Barry Trotz couldn’t agree more.

“It was amazing,” he said with a smile on his face. “That’s all I can say.”

As with all comebacks, there has to be a back story. And, in this one, the Red Wings drew first blood.

While Ryan Suter sat in the penalty box, an Ian White shot deflected off of two skaters in front and finally dropped at the feet of Tomas Holmstrom who put it in the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, however, the home team answered. Martin Erat collected the puck behind the Detroit net. After getting it to Craig Smith, the rookie fired it across to David Legwand who one-timed it on goal. While Jimmy Howard made the initial save with his left pad, he wasn’t as fortunate on the rebound as Legwand lifted it up and over the Red Wings goalie for the tying marker.

After two second period tallies within 1:27 that put Detroit up 3-1, Nashville’s fourth third period comeback of the year was born. Kevin Klein saw Jordin Tootoo breaking into the zone late and hit him with a pass that Tootoo one-timed into the back of the Detroit net, making it 3-2, Red Wings.

It would be the final score of the middle stanza.

“It was probably a key goal in the game,” Tootoo said. “It was toward the end of the second period and we wanted to carry the momentum into the third. I think we did that.”

Weber’s two goals toward the end of regulation would support Tootoo’s theory.

Nashville will try to win their fifth in a row when the St. Louis Blues come to town on Saturday night. Just as Nashville and Detroit did coming into this contest, the two teams are tied for the longest winning streak in the Western Conference (four games).

Puck drops at 7:00pm Central.

* Nashville lost to Detroit 4-1 in the teams’ only other meeting this season.
* Detroit’s Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall were each a minus-3.
* Tootoo led all Preds skaters with four shots on goal.
* Speaking of Tootoo, he now has 10 points in his last 10 games.
* Weber is now tied with Smith, Colin Wilson, David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist for the team lead in goals (8).
* Since November 5 (19 games), Weber has amassed 18 points.
* This is the captain’s first multi-goal game since October 22, 2009.
* Ian White registered two primary assists and had a game-high six shots on goal.
* There were a total of three power plays in this game (two for Detroit, one for Nashville). All three resulted in goals.

MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 7:03 remaining in regulation)
1) Ian White (DET)
2) Jordin Tootoo (NSH)
3) Pekka Rinne (NSH)

1) Shea Weber (NSH)
2) Jordin Tootoo (NSH)
3) Nicklas Lidstrom (DET)

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover //