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Preds use TV timeout standing O for comeback…

If you’ve never seen it in person, you have no idea what it’s like. And how wonderful it is.

The Bridgestone Arena TV timeout standing ovation is a unique spectacle that only emerges a handful of times each year. Tonight was the first time in the 2010-11 season saw it and boy did it do the job.

The Nashville Predators came back from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime (and a shootout) and get the victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks in front of a sold out crowd at 501 Broadway. Jerred Smithson and Shea Weber scored during regulation and Marcel Goc tallied the game winner in the first round of the shootout to give the Preds a 3-2 win.

Pekka Rinne, who seemed to get stronger as the game went on, made 31 saves to earn the victory and improve to 14-11-4 on the season.

Despite Nashville getting several solid chances around, at and toward Corey Crawford, it was Tomas Kopecky who struck first. Kevin Klein made a great play going down on one knee to block a shot but the rebound found it’s way to Kopecky who drove to the front of the net and roofed it over Rinne to give the Hawks the lead.

In the second period, Viktor Stalberg made it 2-0, Chicago. Klein tried to hit Chris Mueller with a homerun pass up the gut but it was intercepted by the Hawks. Stalberg got the puck on his stick and banked a puck off of Rinne’s shoulder from behind the net.

But then Smithson started the comeback. With almost 10 minutes gone in the third, Nick Spaling raced in behind the net and dumped it out from to Smithson who one-timed it past Crawford to cut the lead to one.

Then, just three seconds after the first TV timeout standing ovation of the season, Weber blasts a shot from the point past Crawford to tie the game. It was an absolutely incredible moment that Predators fans will remember for a long time. The cheers hadn’t even had time to subside when the puck hit the twine. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

“It was awesome,” Head Coach Barry Trotz said. “It just energizes you. It’s like a shot of adrenaline. Especially when you smell blood.”

“It was big,” Joel Ward said. “(Then) we got that one and it transpired into a little momentum swing.”

The Preds and Hawks traded chances in the waining moments but overtime was inevitable.

In the extra session, Patrick Sharp found himself on a breakaway with the game on the line. He deke’d left, then right, only to have Rinne say no and keep the game tied.

That wasn’t the first time Sharp has the game on his stick, however. Earlier in the game he had an empty net to slam what would’ve been the third Chicago goal home but elected to pass instead. Then, later on, Sharp was the final Blackhawk shooter. His miss ended the game as Nashville had already scored enough to win. It was not a good night to be Patrick Sharp.

These two teams will face-off once again tomorrow night, this time in Chicago, Illinois. Puck drops at 6:00pm Central and, after witnessing this game, you won’t want to miss that one. Coverage is on FS-Tennessee in full, beautiful HD.

* Marek Svatos was a curious scratch before the game. We have since found out that he was “nicked up the other night” and wouldn’t play in either of the home-and-home games against Chicago.
* The Predators managed only five shots in the second period.
* Tonight was the first night Rinne had given up two goals by the second intermission since the 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on December 23.
* With Weber’s goal, he extended his point streak to eight games.
* Weber has scored at least one point in every game this calendar year.
* With Alexander Sulzer in the lineup, Nashville is 6-8-1.
* Ward finished with two assists.
* Weber finished with a plus-2 rating, giving him a plus-9 on the year. Back on Decemeber 2, he was a minus-10.
* Spaling has five points in his last six games.
* Ryan Suter posted his 20th assist on the year, overtaking Weber for the team lead in helpers.
* Crawford’s shutout streak lasted 176:11. He had shutout both the New York Islanders and the Colorado Avalanche before tonight.

MY THREE STARS (as vote with 6:36 remaining in regulation):
1) Jerred Smithson (NSH)
2) Corey Crawford (CHI)
3) Pekka Rinne (NSH)

1) Jerred Smithson (NSH)
2) Shea Weber (NSH)
3) Tomas Kopecky (CHI)