Joe B: Finish what you start

Joe B: Finish what you start
November 16, 2011, 4:53 am
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The goaltenders in tonights game cast a magic spell for 55 minutes, and then once that spell was broken, it made for a dramatic finish. But unfortunately for Washington, once they started the scoring, they forgot to finish the defensive effort that was so stingy for so long.Pekka Rinne deserves full marks for an outstanding 39-save performance. He was at his breathtaking best against the Caps most dangerous goal-scorers. At 6-foot-5 Rinne is an imposing figure in goal, and when he is on top of his game, the Vezina Trophy runner-up from a year ago is capable of stealing games for the Predators. By the final horn, this one had the smell of a robbery.Tomas Vokoun upheld his end of the bargain for the Capitals. Nashville will always be a special spot for Tomas, since this is where his career took off. His former Coach Barry Trotz said earlier today that Vokoun helped put Nashville on the hockey map. His 28 saves this evening were almost enough to catapult his team to victory, but things went haywire at the wrong time.Troy Brouwer knows these Predators and Rinne very well from his days as a Blackhawk. It was Brouwer who finally solved the Finnish netminder with 4:46 to go in regulation. Brouwer beat Rinne with an evil wrist shot over the blocker that came through a partial screen.Coaches always remind us the next line shift after a goal is the most important, and probably doubly so after playing so deep into regulation in a scoreless tie. Sadly, no more than 28 seconds into that next shift the game was tied again. Shea Weber waltzed in and set up Martin Erat for a tap-in to level the score. It looked too easy after the entire game had been so absent of scoring. The goal came with Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom and Brouwer on the ice, along with the combination of Jeff Schultz and John Carlson on defense.The biggest play of the night was turned in by Colin Wilson and Martin Erat in the games final minute. Wilson has the ability to escape defenders in front and Erat can slither away from defenders too, and he did just that to find Wilson on the doorstep with 25 seconds left. It was a lethal blow.Weber finished the scoring only five seconds later into the empty-net. What looked very promising only 4:30 minutes earlier, had dissolved into a road loss.Rinne was without question the first star of the game, and his performance will have the Caps muttering to themselves all the way to Winnipeg.

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