Veteran Scorers Stepping Up

Friday, 11.18.2011 / 2:15 PM / Features
By Bryan Mullen
There’s nothing like a little healing and recuperation to add instant offense to your hockey team.

At least that’s the case for the Nashville Predators.

Since returning from various injuries, the top line of Sergei Kostitsyn, Mike Fisher and Martin Erat has been dominant recently. They have been a key reason why Nashville has won back-to-back games, as well as earning five out of a possible six points since its current five-game home stand began last Saturday.

Their effort during Thursday’s 4-1 win against Toronto was the high point. They combined for two goals, five assists and a +9 rating.

“Hopefully they got it started at the right time,” said Predators coach Barry Trotz, whose team hosts Columbus on Saturday at 7 p.m. “They all come back from injuries, and sometimes players respond for one game and then they fall off. Or they don’t get started. It was good to have them all going. They went head to head against a very good line. It was a real good effort for them.”

The three players have logged extensive time in the NHL and didn’t force the issue once they returned to game action.

“We knew it would come,” Fisher said. “It was only a matter of time. We have to keep that going and bury our chances when we can. It’s not going to go like that every night, and we know we have to play smart.”

Erat has been the most impressive of the three. He had two goals against Toronto and has now posted points in seven of nine games since returning from injury on Oct. 29. He has five goals and four assists in that span.

Erat’s injury came during the season opener against Columbus and he missed the next eight games. But he has returned to be one of Nashville’s top offensive threats, and at times, its best.

“It takes you a couple of games to get back to the speed,” Erat said. “It’s just the timing and everything that comes with it. We just have to keep going.”

Trotz has been impressed with Erat’s play, and not just the goal scoring.

“When Marty is really wheeling and dealing and playing his type of game, he creates things,” Trotz said. “With Mike, and now with Sergei starting to get up to speed here, they really complement each other when they’re going. Marty can be a catalyst and is really getting his game going again. He’s been nicked up right through training camp and into the regular season… Marty has always had speed and a pretty good skill set, but he is a determined player. He cares. He doesn’t take games off. He is one of those players who is around the puck, or chasing it down and going to get it. That’s his game. He doesn’t play an easy game. He plays a workman game with a real good skill set.”

Erat knows his current hot streak won’t last forever, and the veteran is taking a big-picture approach.

“I know it’s a long season,” Erat said. “You’re going to have stretches when it’s not going in. Right now, it’s a good feeling when I shoot the puck and it goes in. You’re going to have bumps on the road. We’re playing good defense and playing well as a team.”

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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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