In his second game back following injury, Mike Fisher increased his time on ice for the Nashville Predators by almost six minutes. In the 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, Fisher’s minutes were upped as he stayed on the line with Matt Cullen and Olli Jokinen, all centers. Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers, Fisher registered 12:44 on the ice, while Saturday night, he was given more responsibility with 18:09. As he continues to get back into game shape, Fisher is feeling great about his time on the ice.
“It felt good, definitely,” said Fisher about Saturday night’s game. “The first game was a little bit weird, but I felt a lot better tonight. I played in a few different situations and it was a hard fought game. Everyone played hard and it was a good, solid game by everyone. It felt good to be a part of it.”
Throughout the night, Fisher was also given multiple opportunities on special teams. He spent 3:53 on the power play and 1:35 on the penalty kill. Playing those minutes are a big responsibility and it shows how important of a piece he is to special teams for the Predators.
“It felt good to get more minutes,” said Fisher. “The power play has struggled a little bit at home but we did some good things and had chances. We just haven’t been able to find it, but it’ll come.”
“The more ice time and the more responsibility he gets, I think he can build off it tonight even more,” said head coach Peter Laviolette on Fisher’s minutes. ”
As the past two games have been the first for Mike Fisher in Peter Laviolette’s system, some transition woes would be understandable, but he seems to have made the adjustment very well.
“I love it,” said Fisher on Laviolette’s system. “Just play hard and support each other, play together as a team, hound the puck and create turnovers, skate. It’s a lot of fun and when you have success doing it, it’s a lot of fun as a team.”
Fisher has gelled well with his linemates, Matt Cullen and Olli Jokinen. They have been tough on the forecheck and generated multiple opportunities as well as forced turnovers.
“Those guys can make plays and play hard and create,” said Fisher on Cullen and Jokinen. “They’re smart players and we’re going to continue to get better and work. I thought we had some good chances.”
While shorthanded Saturday, Fisher and Cullen combined for an opportunity, but it just didn’t get sealed.
“It was just a bad play,” said Fisher. “One of those game situations that you’d love to do over, but luckily we didn’t need it. Wilson got us a huge goal and got us a win.”
It was thought that the transition back to center would be gradual, but against Columbus, Fisher took 13 faceoffs, winning 8 of them. Not bad for the second game back from an injury that can certainly affect the ability to take draws.
“I’ve been feeling decent,” said Fisher. “Faceoffs are definitely coming. Hopefully I can just keep getting better.”
By adding a healthy Mike Fisher to the mix, the depth for Nashville continues to grow, as do their position in the standing. Getting another win at home is always big for the team.
“It was great,” said Fisher about the fans. “They were pumped up. They’ve been supportive through all part of the game. They’ve done a fabulous job and we really appreciate it.”
As of Saturday night, the Predators are not only in a tie for first in the conference, but all the entire NHL. Up next are the Carolina Hurricanes, who are 3-7-0 in their last 10. Stay tuned as we’ll be providing coverage from Raleigh for the game.
Peter Laviolette Post Game Press Conference: