It’s not an easy task to come into Bridgestone Arena as a visiting team and get a win. The New Jersey Devils suffered the same feat as many other teams have in Nashville on Saturday night. The Nashville Predators extended their winning streak to five games and improved their home record to 24-3-1 with a 3-1 victory over the Devils. In the first period alone, Nashville put 21 shots on New Jersey netminder Cory Schneider. While they were only able notch one goal in the first period, it set the tone for what the team wanted to do against a tired Devils team that played Chicago the night before.
“I think for the last couple games we were not happy with the amount of shots we took the last three or four games, so we wanted to get back to that shooting mentality,” said Roman Josi. “I think we did a good job in the first and after that we were a little too cute in the second. After that, I think we did a good job.”
The second period saw a much different New Jersey squad, which included a goal to tie the game. The Devils shut down the Nashville offense only allowing eight shots in the second.
“They had a rough start, back to back games for them,” said Pekka Rinne. “They didn’t really get it going until the second period. I’m sure they got yelled at between periods and they showed up in the second and third. They played hard. You almost felt like in the first we could do whatever we wanted and if it wasn’t for Schneider, the game could have been out of hand in the first.”
It was Schneider and his defense that gave the Devils a fighting chance throughout the second and third period.
“I thought we played really well in the first and created a lot of chances and only got one goal,” said Josi. “After that, they played a better game. They play well defensively and clog it up pretty well. We didn’t have the same edge as we did in the first and had to get back to that in the third. This year’s third period has been kind of our period.”
It wasn’t until late in the third that the Predators finally got another one past Schneider. It took a series of tape to tape, cross-ice passes from Mike Ribeiro and Victor Bartley to set up Colin Wilson’s game-winning goal.
“It was a good job getting it down low,” said Wilson. “Our line was moving it well all night. It was nice to see us capitalize.”
Wilson playing on a line with Ribeiro and James Neal was new for the team tonight. Morning skate saw a shift among all of the lines. Head coach Peter Laviolette wanted to instill more offense in his club and give his players a new look.
“I think we had some good chemistry,” said Wilson. “All the lines had some good chemistry and were generating offensively. We were looking good out there, but we didn’t capitalize on a few goals in the game. I think our guys did a good job and it’s nice just to get a fresh look to get guys going.”
Even with the line changes, the team still found a way to win going into the third period with a tie game. The crowd in Nashville doesn’t go unnoticed to the team. The over-capacity crowd of 17,333 had plenty to cheer about as the Predators continue to have the best home record in the NHL.
“It’s great and a lot of fun,” said Josi on the win. “Winning is always fun, especially at home with our fans. They’re great. They cheer us on and give us that extra boost. You definitely want to have a good home record and it’s been good. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Nashville hits the ice again on Tuesday night as they take on the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks currently hold on to the second spot in the Pacific Division and play Tampa at home on Sunday. In their only meeting so far this season, San Jose defeated Nashville 2-0. Look for a different outcome as the Sharks visit Nashville.
View Peter Laviolette’s post game press conference: