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Rinne, Halischuk prove to be heroes in double OT thriller…

It was the longest game in franchise history. It took 94:51 to decide it.

Luckily for the Nashville Predators, they came out on top.

Pekka Rinne, the absolute, undeniable, unequivocal star of the night, turned aside 32 Vancouver Canucks shots as the Preds won Game 2 by the score of 2-1. With the victory, they tied the series 1-1 and now have home-ice advantage in the series.

While their effort level was night and day compared to Game 1, the Predators won this game because of Rinne. Period. He came up with save after save after save — especially in the overtime periods — that allowed his teammates time to get their goals.

Just as in Game 1, the first goal of the game came in the middle frame. And, just as Game 1, the first goal was scored by Vancouver. After Sergei Kostitsyn turned it over in the neutral zone, Alexandre Burrows collected his own rebound off of Shea Weber‘s skate and slammed it home shorthanded for the 1-0 lead.

In similar fashion to Game 5 of the Anaheim series, just when things looked bleak, the Preds netted the tying goal at the end of regulation. Just as Rinne had gotten to the bench, defenseman Ryan Suter led the attack and put the first puck of the series over the goal line. Matter of fact, he was behind the net himself when he fired it on goal. The puck carommed off of Roberto Luongo‘s pad and over the line to force overtime.

In the extra session, it was Pekka Rinne Show. The Preds netminder made four different ridiculous saves to keep his team from going down 2-0 in the series.

He had another sprawling save in the double overtime period before Matt Halischuk ended it. Nick Spaling sent a saucer pass cross-ice to a breaking Halischuk before tucking a shot under the crossbar for the game winner.

These two exhausted teams will now have a much-needed two days off before they tussle again in Game 3 on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. Puck drops at a special 8:00pm Central so don’t arrive at 7:00pm and wonder why the players haven’t been out for pre-game skate yet.

And yes, the next game will be the first game in franchise history…. in the month of May.

Hot tea and honey everyone. Hot tea and honey.

* Shane O’Brien drew the penalty that put the Preds on the powerplay when Burrows scored shorthanded. So, the lesson here is, even when O’Brien draws a penalty, the opponent still scores.
* Speaking of penalties, the Predators only took one penalty tonight. Jordin Tootoo was whistled for tripping in the second period.
* Luongo hadn’t allowed a goal in 126:01 until Suter scored.
* Mike Fisher has easily been the Predators best forward this series. In Game 1, when all the forwards were called out, he was one of only two guys who stood out with a positive effort. In Game 2, he led the charge with five shots and five hits and had several good scoring chances.
* The longest game in Predators history coming into tonight was on April 11, 2007. That game took 88:14 to decide.
* Weber logged an incredible 42:12 of ice time. His partner Suter had just a shade less at 42:01.
* The Preds had two powerplays in overtime but couldn’t convert on either.
* Luongo finished with an impressive 44 saves.
* Jerred Smithson and Spaling have been on the ice for both OT wins in Nashville franchise history.
* Both overtime wins in franchise history have been on the road.
* Both overtime wins in franchise history have been witnessed by a large 303 Viewing Party at Brewhouse South in Franklin.
* Both overtime wins in franchise history have come around the stroke of midnight.

1) Pekka Rinne (NSH)
2) Roberto Luongo (VAN)
3) Ryan Kesler (VAN)

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover //

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