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Veteran Scorers Stepping Up

Friday, 11.18.2011 / 1:15 PM CT / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Veteran Scorers Stepping Up
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.”

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 54 11 27 -3 38
F. Forsberg 54 17 18 -7 35
S. Weber 54 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 54 6 27 2 33
J. Neal 54 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 54 6 18 3 24
R. Ellis 53 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 54 11 7 -2 18
C. Jarnkrok 53 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 37 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 7 .903 2.54
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36