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Top 15 moments of the 2010-11 Preds season: #5

This is a multi-part series where we countdown our Top 15 moments of the Nashville Predators’ 2010-11 season.

Blake Geoffrion. The native son. The first Tennesseean ever to don a National Hockey League sweater. And the sweater he donned? His hometown Nashville Predators. What a story.

But that story became legendary in upstate New York on Sunday, March 20, 2011 when Geoffrion tallied his first career hat trick and single-handedly led the Preds to victory in a game they had no business winning.

Geoffrion struck early in the first when he forced a turnover at the Nashville blueline and then, once on the attack, tried to hit JP Dumont with a cross-crease feed. The pass deflected off of defenseman Paul Gaustad‘s skate and in for the 2010 Hobey Baker Award winner’s fourth of the year.

Nashville may have had the lead going into the locker room for the intermission but it didn’t matter much after that as the Buffalo Sabres started to out-skate and out-work the tired, travel weary Preds. Buffalo scored three unanswered goals in the second. With this being their second game in 19 hours — and with a 2.5 hour plane ride in between — it became clear that Nashville just wanted this game over with.

But then the fourth generation NHLer went to work.

With just 2:27 remaining in regulation, Geoffrion cut the Sabre lead to one and, in doing so, gave Predators fans a shred of hope that their team could muster a point out of this uninspired effort.

Then, less than a minute later, Geoffrion defelected a Cody Franson shot from the point for his third of the game and sixth of the season to tie the game.

The Predators would go onto win the game on a Martin Erat goal less than 0:30 into overtime but, let’s be honest, it was Geoffrion’s effort that got them two points. And, looking back, if the Preds don’t win that Sunday afternoon game in Buffalo, New York, they finish the season tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for eighth in the Western Conference. In essence, without Geoffrion putting his hometown team on his back, the Preds probably suffer another first round playoff exit.

Even without knowing the future ramifcations of what that win would mean, Predators fans turned out in droves when we collected hats for Geoffrion’s hat trick. Thank you for making that a success also.

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