While most Middle Tennesseans spent a beautiful late November day raking leaves, watching college football or making preparations for Thursday’s Thanksgiving celebration, the Predators' David Legwand had a very different kind of experience Saturday.
Legwand scored a goal, assisted on another, and provided the shootout winning goal in the Predators 4-3 defeat of the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday night. Oh, and he and his wife Lindsey also welcomed their first child into the world about an hour and a half before faceoff.
Coincidently, the new dad had another first — he was named the game’s first star.
“The baby came at about 5:30, so I came over here about ten after six and got my stuff on and went out for the warmup,” Legwand said. “I didn’t have much thinking to do, so I just went out there and played.”
Not a bad night for a guy whose head coach wasn’t expecting him to play.
“I talked to David probably an hour and a half before warm-up and he told me that his baby was on the way, and I just texted him back, ‘That’s fantastic, and I will see you on Monday,’ type of a thing,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “He texted back about a hour later to say he is here and my wife says, ‘You better get to the game,’ and he got here about 10 minutes before warm-up.”
Both mother and yet-to-be named baby Legwand are doing well, according to the center.
The proud papa's goal came with the Predators down 2-1 and the Blue Jackets on a power play. Martin Erat forced a turnover by Columbus defenseman Jakub Voracek inside the Columbus blue line. Erat then found Legwand parked in front of goaltender Steve Mason and Leggy lifted a backhander high to the stick side at 1:29 of the second.
”I just saw Mason coming out of the corner of my eye, and I tried to get it up on him,” Legwand said. “He was down earlier, and I got it up over his blocker.”
Captain Jason Arnott scored the Preds' first goal on a power play, his third goal in two games.
Erat gave the Predators a 3-2 lead two minutes on Nashville’s second power-play goal of the game.
But with less than a minute remaining in the second period, the Blue Jackets scored a power-play goal to tie it.
Wade Belak took the penalty that set up the Columbus power play. At the Columbus bench, Belak took exception to a hit from Blue Jacket enforcer Jared Boll. Belak showed his displeasure by lifting his stick between Boll’s legs. Belak was assessed a two-minute penalty for hooking on the play.
“That was a bad penalty, I talked to (Belak) about that between periods,” Trotz said. “It was an unnecessary penalty and it changed the momentum.”
Needless to say, Belak did not see the ice in the third period.
The power-play goal ended a stretch of five consecutive games that the Predators had not allowed a man-advantage goal.
Despite four Columbus third period penalties and another one in overtime, the Predators were unable to score another power-play goal in the game, thanks mostly to the stellar goaltending of Mason who ended up with 45 saves in the contest.
In the shootout, Mike Santorelli and Legwand converted on their attempts, and Pekka Rinne won his second shootout in as many games, allowing just a Rick Nash goal on the Blue Jackets’ three attempts in the tiebreaker.
“Obviously, I watched the videotape and there were a couple of patterns their guys use, but it’s hard to catch,” Rinne said of his approach to shootouts. “You have to trust your instincts, you see (Rick) Nash and those guys do those moves, but you can’t really cheat.”
• Nashville has scored power-play goals in four consecutive games for the first time this season, and they are 10-0-0 this season when scoring with the man advantage.
• The Predators have defeated the Blue Jackets 12 consecutive times at Sommet Center. The last Columbus win here was April 3, 2006.
• With an assist on Arnott’s fist period power-play goal, Steve Sullivan now has points in his last four games. Sullivan has 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 37 career games played against Columbus.