Remember how I said “Fisher/Smith/Kostitsyn is going to be an EXTREMELY dangerous line, mark my words.”? Yeah, well you can take that check to the bank and cash it now. Combining for a total of 7 points with Fisher leading the way with a 3 point night (2g/1a), the Nashville Predators mark their first home win of the season in decisive fashion beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 to get back to .500 on the season.
Powerplay – 0 for 3, 0%
Penalty Kill – 1 for 2, 50%
Best Play of the Game: Craig Smith to Sergei Kostitsyn – PURE GOLD. Breaking down the ice on a turnover collected by Mike Fisher, Smith hit Kostitsyn who was right in Garon’s doorstep to make the game 1-0 6:25 into the first period
Worst Play of the Game: The final 5 minutes of the first period was collectively bad for Nashville. Poor defense from the Predators allowed the Bolts to pull within 1 at 16:36 of the first with an absolute gorgeous backhand from Stamkos and Purcell tied the game nearly 3 minutes later on the powerplay, ending the 1st period tied at 2.
My Three Stars:
#1: Mike Fisher – His second game of the season and he sports a 3 point night? That’s exactly what Nashville needed. Gotta hope this continues for Fisher as he could be the missing offense that the Predators have been searching for
#2: Craig Smith – Smith is a natural-born playmaker, there is no skirting around that, and he’s showing it every night for the Predators. A two point night for Smith brings him to 8 points on the season, one less than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who leads the NHL’s rookies in total points scored on this early season
#3: Sergei Kostitsyn – Not taking anything away from Nick Spaling here, however Kostitsyn played half the time Spaling did tonight (albeit he didn’t play a shift in the third period for precautionary reasons after being injured) and he was on fire. There is no telling what would have happened had Kostitsyn played the third period.
Quite a game to take in if you were at the Bridgestone Arena tonight. Weren’t there? Well, besides opening the scoring floodgates, Nashville was able to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together tonight and get a big win against a good team before they play an Anaheim Ducks team on Saturday who is bent on revenge against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season.
After a 2-2 opening first period that saw Nashville go up by the dreaded 2 goal lead only to surrender it in the final 4 minutes, the Predators took control of the game in the second scoring 3 unanswered goals in that 20 minute spawn. Finishing the game with a final score of 5-3 , there was only one negative thoughts that crossed my mind:
Bad turnovers early – Early in the first half of the game, Nashville had trouble trying to clear it out of their own end. Multiple times did the Predators attempt a clear only to have it intercepted by a Lightning player. Luckily, Tampa was never able to convert on any of these. That has to be drastically improved.
Past that, it was a night that Nashville needs to enjoy now and move along from come tomorrow morning. However, one thing they need to try and remember is that they found a pretty potent offense with the Smith/Fisher/Kostitsyn line, just have to hope that Kostitsyn will be in the game come Saturday night so as to keep that chemistry intact.
Stay tuned to The Predatorial on Saturday morning for the gameday preview of the Anaheim game!
Stay frosty, friends.