Nov 25, 2013
The Predators needed a bit of line adjustments after Saturday’s shutout loss to the New York Rangers, losing Patric Hornqvist with a lower-body injury mid-game and for tonight’s contest against Phoenix as well. Shuffling Eric Nystrom into his spot with Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson seemed to be the correct combination as the trio put a goal and multiple chances on Mike Smith en route to Nashville’s 4-2 win against the Coyotes.
“It’s been fun playing with [Nystrom] on the line with Hornqvist being out. He likes to establish on the forecheck and go in hard. We had a couple more turnovers and a couple more chances with the puck,” said Predators forward Colin Wilson.
“I moved [Wilson] over to the right side and [Nystrom] is over on the left. Tonight they had a big assignment, I had them play the most part against Ribeiro’s line. They did a really good job against them,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz. ”Overall, I think it’s a pretty solid win. Phoenix is one of the top offensive teams, and I thought we really limited them.”
From the moment the puck was dropped at center ice, the Coyotes seemed to be on their heels for the entirety of the first period, allowing 12 shots on net in the first 20 minutes, the highest for the Predators since they recorded the same number in the first period of their October 20th game against the Winnipeg Jets. Nashville was able to give themselves a 3-0 cushion after one period, one of those three goals coming on a cumulative effort from the Fisher line.
“We gave up too many quality scoring chances. The break away and two-on-ones you want take away from the game. They got great chances and took advantage of it early on,” said Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette.
Whatever seemed to be the case this evening, the Nystrom/Fisher/Wilson line almost seemed to find themselves in the midst of a scoring chance during each shift on the ice.
“”We had some good transition and we were just patient. When we had an opportunity to go, we were just plain fast. We had speed going the other way, we were on them on the forecheck and created some turnovers. It was good. It was nice to be playing in the offensive zone, for sure,” said Predators forward Eric Nystrom.
After dislodging a puck midway in the first period to find Colin Wilson down low in Phoenix’s zone, feeding Mike Fisher to finish the play, Nystrom’s addition to their line appeared to almost divert some of the attention off of both Fisher and Wilson to create room for all three to work in the offensive zone. Nashville’s top line of the night cumulatively ended with the most ice-time for Predators forwards with 19:48, 19:40, and 16:19 for Fisher, Nystrom, and Wilson respectively.
“We were going in straight lines. We weren’t doing too much crisscrossing, we just had straight line speed, and guys driving. When you do that, it kind of opens late plays. Even when we didn’t have a play, we were getting it deep and creating turnovers playing down low. That’s the type of game I think all three of us play,” said Nystrom. “[Wilson's] a big guy, he’s got good agility down low. [Fisher] is the same, strong down low. If we can play down there, we can be very effective. I think we did a good job giving ourselves a chance to play like that tonight.”
Combined with nine registered hits between the three (six of those coming from Mike Fisher), it could be safe to say that they may have been creating their own room. Coming on the heels of their 2-0 shutout loss to the Rangers, Nashville needed to find their spark against the Coyotes.
“We didn’t have a great jump [against the Rangers], it was one of those nights where you hoped that not everybody was flat in one game. We just didn’t have that jump and you could tell,” said Nystrom. “Tonight, we came out, refreshed and re-energized, we had that jump, and we’re a different team when we have that energy. We have to find a way to bring that, especially at home.”
Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua