Colin Wilson is playing in his third season with the Nashville Predators and he is starting to play with the consistency and confidence that the coaches have been expecting since he was drafted seventh overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
On Tuesday night at the Bridgestone Arena, Wilson's power play goal, 3:31 in to the final period was the game winner in a game that produced 81 shots but only three goals.
Pekka Rinne out-dueled fellow Finn, Miikka Kiprusoff, stopping all but one of Calgary's 36 shots. Kiprusoff also had an excellent performance stopping 43 of 45 Preds's shots but came up on the short end of the 2-1 score.
Wilson played all 82 regular season games last season but lost the confidence of Barry Trotz in the post-season and did not play in the until injuries brought him back into the lineup.
Over the summer, Wilson worked diligently on his game and employed the aid of a "mental coach" in order to improve his focus and consistency. All of his off-season efforts are paying off.
Wilson explained, "I worked really hard during the summer and at the same time I'm starting to adjust to the game. It's starting to slow down a little bit. When I first came into the league it seemed so fast and now it has slowed down."
At Boston University, Wilson was the cream of the crop and finished second in the Hobey Baker voting for college player of the year.
Wilson claims his confidence is approaching the level that he had in college. "It's getting up there. That comes with the slowing down. As soon as the game slows down, I can start making the plays I want to make and have a few more moves and have more offense so I'm feeling much better now."
Wilson has had three game winning goals, and is on pace for a career year with eight goals and eleven assists while earning more playing time on the power play.
Trotz was highly complementary of Wilson's progress after the game. "Willy can do some things that no one else on our team can do. There's still some growth in his game. Every game he's doing things that you would expect of a high pick."
"He's a big body. He can make some great plays and really test you in terms of the defensive part of the game where teams are trying to defend against him. They put a press on him and he is hard to handle. There are still things he can improve on but he's got confidence now."
The Predators continue their home-stand on Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings with both teams entering the game with three-game winning streaks. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass