Nov 16, 2013
After scoring just two goals in their last four games, the Nashville Predators exploded on Saturday night in a 7-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators returned home to Nashville for the first time since October 31 after playing their last 7 games on the road. While the road trip started well for the Predators, with the team earning five of a possible six points in the first three games, it ended in disaster. The Predators were shut out twice in the final four games of the road trip and only scored one goal in each of the other two. The five standings points that Nashville earned at the beginning of the trip were all the Predators had to show as they finished 2-4-1 after 17 days on the road.
“The start was the way we wanted to start it,” Shea Weber said. “Once we started losing, I think that you lose your confidence and your outlook is negative. Until you get those wins and the results, it is tough to have a positive outlook on your games.”
Nashville opened scoring on Saturday night with a Matt Cullen goal at 7:28 of the first period. Nick Spaling doubled the team’s output 57 seconds later. Suddenly, the team that had only scored two goals in their last four games was up 2-0 in the first 10 minutes.
“Obviously they’ve been some frustrating games,” Spaling said, “so to get a couple of goals in this game is big for the confidence of the team and guys are excited to go forward.”
“We were down a little bit in the last couple of games,” Viktor Stalberg said. “It’s easy to get too down on yourself , but we tried to keep the mood light in the locker room here today and just get ready to play. I thought we did a good job right off the get-go and really took it to them.”
The Predators were not done with their sudden onslaught of offensive prowess. Patric Hornqvist scored his team-leading sixth goal in the second period, while Craig Smith and Patrick Kane traded goals to give Nashville a 4-1 edge at the second intermission. After Brandon Pirri closed the lead to 4-2 at 6:44 of the second period, Viktor Stalberg scored 15 seconds later to give Nashville a 5-2 lead. The Predators then tacked on goals from Mike Fisher and Shea Weber while goaltender Marek Mazanec saved 39 of Chicago’s 41 shots in Nashville’s 7-2 triumph.
“It was big to bounce back after losing a couple in a row,” Spaling said. “To come home gives you that extra jump, that extra lift and it helped a lot tonight.”
Stalberg’s third period goal – his first home goal as a Nashville Predator – came against his former team.
“Obviously it was fun to score against those guys,” Stalberg said. “It’s a big win for us. It feels good to get that win tonight. I think it’s going to lighten the mood in the locker room and get the guys a little more excited about playing.”
At the end of the day, a total of 12 Nashville Predators found the score sheet while six Predators – Shea Weber, Matt Cullen, David Legwand, Craig Smith, Patrick Hornqvist and Roman Josi – had multiple-point games.
“It’s great for some guys to get some goals and some confidence going and I’m sure it’s going to help going forward,” Stalberg said.
Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua