Predators look a little different, show they can rally

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 11:39pm

If the idea was to introduce themselves to a good chunk of North America, the Nashville Predators failed.

Outside of the fact that it went beyond regulation yet again, the team that faced the Dallas Stars in a nationally televised contest Monday at Bridgestone Arena bore little resemblance to the one that wore the distinctive yellow and blue through the first 19 games of the season.

This one allowed an uncharacteristic number of goals, paid the price when it committed penalties yet showed a fair amount of firepower in its own right.

The most critical difference was that Roman Josi’s goal 28 seconds into the extra period capped a rally unlike any it had staged. The victory — the score was 5-4 — was the Predators’ first this season in a game they trailed after two periods.

“It was a crazy game out there,” Patric Hornqvist said. “A lot of things happened that usually [don’t] happen. But you have to go through that too and come up big with two huge points.”

Nashville, the league’s lowest-scoring team and scoreless in its previous two outings, got the game’s first goal, came from behind to tie twice and converted a two-man advantage for the first time.

And it got some of that production from unlikely sources. Josi, Hornqvist and Craig Smith all came in with one goal but added to that total. Josi set a career-high for points in a game with four (two goals, two assists). Rich Clune’s first assist for Nashville was only the third of his NHL career.

It was just the third time Nashville had at least one goal in all three periods — plus it got the game-winner less than a minute into overtime.

“We’re not used to scoring that many goals, that’s for sure,” center Mike Fisher, who tied it at 8:22 of the third period, said. “We were coming off of a couple shutouts but we knew it would come. It’s kind of been coming in bunches, but we have to keep doing some of those things.”

Both sides broke from character in the second period when they combined for six goals, the first three in a span of 1:45.

The Stars scored four of the six, which matched their season high for goals in a game let alone a period. Right wing Michael Ryder assisted on three and then flashed some defensive prowess when he swept a puck off his own goal line late.

Nashville’s penalty kill was ranked among the NHL’s top 10 and had not allowed more than one power-play goal in a single game. It gave up two 1:52 apart in this one.

Those goals, by Vernon Fiddler and Loui Eriksson, broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Stars a two-goal advantage with 10:39 remaining in the second and made them the third team to get four pucks past goalie Pekka Rinne, who had allowed two or fewer in 10 of his 16 starts.

The sides combined for 26 penalty minutes in the second period alone, which exceeded their per game average for the season. Nashville came in as the league’s second least-penalized team at 9.7 minutes per game, and Dallas averaged 13.7.

The Predators took advantage when Hornqvist scored and cut the deficit to one with two seconds remaining on a 5-on-3.

“I just think both teams got a little bit emotional and it turned into a little bit of a track meet,” coach Barry Trotz said. “… For us coming back, [it was] a real character win because we ran into a little adversity and found a way to get it done.”

A different way.

Briefly: Shea Weber played in his 500th career game, a milestone the Predators dubbed “historic” during a stoppage of play. With 42 more the Nashville captain will match the number his former defense partner, Ryan Suter, played for the franchise. Weber currently ranks third in all-time games played by a Predators defenseman. … Fisher’s goal was the 200th of his career. … The victory was Nashville’s 100th all-time in overtime. The franchise’s overall OT record is 100-86-60. … Jeff Cogen, Nashville’s chief executive officer, will speak at a luncheon, 11:30 a.m. Friday at Battle Ground Academy. The event is open to the public. Cost is $10 and includes lunch. Information available at www.battlegroundacademy.org.

1 Comment on this post:

By: TITAN1 on 2/26/13 at 12:03

Good job, Preds!