Mully's Musings: vs. Tampa Bay

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 11:44 PM / Features
By Bryan Mullen
That’s how you snap a scoring slump.

The Nashville Predators exploded on offense Thursday and manhandled Tampa Bay on their way to a 5-3 victory at Bridgestone Arena. The five goals totaled the same amount Nashville had scored in the previous four games combined, and it was also Nashville’s first home victory of the 2011-12 season.

Mike Fisher busted out in style, rookie Craig Smith continued to make plays on offense, and goaltender Pekka Rinne once again proved why he’s arguably the NHL’s best goaltender.

Nashville jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, only to see Tampa Bay storm back to tie it 2-2 before the period was over. At the intermission, Predators coach Barry Trotz said he told his players “not to pout about it and man up.” They listened.

On Nashville’s first four goals, the primary assists were just as impressive as the goals, illustrating an overall team offensive effort. The victory was a huge shot of confidence for the Predators, who host Anaheim on Saturday (7 p.m.) at Bridgestone Arena in a Stanley Cup Playoffs rematch.

But first, the musings…


THREE MUSINGS
Fisher breaks out: It was only two days ago when Mike Fisher played his first game of the season since undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. There was discussion about how long it would take him to get back in the grove. On Thursday, the answer was clear: not long at all. Fisher scored Nashville’s second and fifth goals, added an assist, and finished with a team-high four shots. He also blocked three shots. It is evident Fisher worked hard to get back. He has been skating since August and conditioning is not an issue. He played 20:24, the highest of any Nashville forward.

Kostitsyn impresses: Sergei Kostitsyn got Nashville off to a great start when he took a perfect pass from Smith and scored at 6:25 of the first. His assist on Fisher’s first goal was similar to the one he received from Smith. Kostitsyn went into the boards awkwardly with 7:59 to go in the second and did not return. Trotz said Kostitsyn may take a maintenance day on Friday and is “fairly optimistic” that he will play Saturday against the Ducks.

Relief for Rinne: By looking at the stat sheet, stopping 29 of 32 shots doesn’t appear to be an all-world performance, but his effort against the Lightning may go down as one of his best performances of his NHL career. He made multiple highlight-worthy plays, including a glove save late in the first that appeared to be an easy goal for Tampa Bay. He got a little more help from his teammates and didn’t have to face 40 or more shots.


THREE QUOTES
Mike Fisher: “We beat a pretty good hockey team. We know we can score goals when we’re skating, when we’re smart with pucks and when we’re patient. We have the guys to do it and we showed it tonight.”

Pekka Rinne: “We have to be happy with this one. We haven’t been playing well at home. It’s a good start. There’s always room to improve, but we’re pleased to get the two points.”

Barry Trotz: “Sergei went down, and I thought he was playing well with Fisher and Smith. And we responded with another goal. I thought that was huge for us. We didn’t let a little adversity affect us.”


THREE STARS
F Mike Fisher: 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 blocks, 20:24
G Pekka Rinne: Acrobatic saves, stopped 29 of 32 shots
F Sergei Kostitsyn: Scored game’s first goal, nice assist on Fisher goal

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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