Saturday, February 12, 2011
Predators Beat Avalanche 5-3 in Fisher Debut
The Nashville Predators defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 in a comeback victory before a sold out Bridgestone Arena Saturday night crowd.
Cody Franson's goal with 2:30 left in the contest broke a 3-3 tie to send the fans home happy and the Avalanche to their seventh straight loss. David Legwand's empty netter with 46 seconds left was the icing on the cake.
The Preds also got goals from Shea Weber, Marty Erat, and Patric Hornqvist. Erat added a pair of assists for a three point effort and Legwand and Hornqvist had helpers for two point games.
Colorado's goals came from Kevin Porter, David Jones, and Matt Duchene.
Pekka Rinne did not have his best night, allowing three goals on 18 shots, but still brought home the victory. Peter Budaj was a hard luck loser as he was pelted with shots the entire game. He gave up four goals on 38 shots.
Playing his first game as a Predator, Mike Fisher received applause when he first entered the ice and even more when he was shown on the Jumbotron early in the contest. He picked up an assist and was a plus 2 for the game.
Barry Trotz was pleased with the new addition, "He did well, as advertised. That's the Mike Fisher I remember; strong on draws and hard to play against."
Fisher was pleased after the game, "It was definitely an exciting and fun game for me, a lot of nerves early, that's for sure, but I kind of calmed down and got into it."
The game got off to a flying start in the opening period with only one stoppage in the first 7:19 of play. The Predators were forcing the play when shades of Monday's Edmonton loss showed up at 11:06 when Porter took a pass from Paul Stastny and flipped it past Rinne to give the Avs a 1-0 lead.
The Predators quickly answered eleven seconds later on a wrister from near the blue line by Weber to tie it up 1-1 quickly bring the crowd back into the game. The key to the play was a screen by Mike Fisher that shielded Budaj from seeing the shot.
In the first period the Predators out shot the Avs 10-4 and dominated the Corsi 26-8.
The first infraction of the game came when David Jones was called for hooking at 3:53. On the ensuing power play at 4:36, Erat scored on his second shot consecutive on a puck that was actually behind Budaj. Kostitsyn and Hornqvist made a couple of nice passes to set the play in motion.
Colorado came back to tie the game 2-2 at 9:13 when Jones skated in to the net from Rinne's right side without resistance from the Predators' defense and slid it into the net.
After a Steve Sullivan cross-checking penalty Shane O'Brien and Nick Spaling almost scored a goal on a two on one short-handed breakaway but Spaling caught the post instead of the open side of the net.
The Preds dominated the shot count again in the second period 18-5 and the Corsi 29-15.
The Predators fell behind 3-2 at 2:54 in the third period when Duchene skated down the left wall and shot unobstructed at Rinne who could not grab the puck.
The Preds recovered quickly 77 seconds later, when Nashville was working the puck in the Avalanche zone and David Legwand sent the puck from behind the net to Hornqvist in the slot who sent it past Budaj to knot the score 3-3.
Franson's big goal came at 17:30 and was unassisted after he intercepted a pass from Daniel Winnik and skated to his left to get open and sent the puck through traffic to give the Predators a 4-3 lead.
Legwand's empty-netter was icing on the cake and provided Fisher with his first point as a Predator.
The game marked Peter Forsberg's second game in his most recent comeback. He was better on the ice than he looked on paper. He skated 14:53 and had two shots while taking two penalties.
Trotz had god things to say about Forsberg, "I'll tell you what, he's still dynamite. He's still hard to handle. It's amazing, you don't play and then you are that hard to handle in the best league in the world."
The win moved the Predators into fourth place with 67 points as they remain five points behind Detroit for the Central Division lead.
The Predators return to to the ice on Tuesday against their long time nemesis, the San Jose Sharks at the Bridgestone Arena. It doesn't get any later in the week as they stay home and play Vancouver and Phoenix.
Buddy Oakes from PredsOnTheGlass