That deep breath you hear is the sound coming from 501 Broadway after the Nashville Predators defeated the Ottawa Senators in a 7-5 victory of tremendous offensive proportions.
The night didn’t start out on the most positive note for the Predators, but it certainly finished on one. The fourth line, centered by Colton Sissons, who was recalled Tuesday morning from Milwaukee, accounted for six points on the night, three goals and three assists. With Paul Gaustad out, Sissons centered the line with Gabriel Bourque and Austin Watson on the wings. As Austin Watson noted, they took full advantage of the opportunities they were given.
“We were trying to play a fast game and be physical,” said Watson. “In the first period, they kind of took it to us a little bit, so we wanted to get in on the forecheck and create chances from there.”
“I thought that they were tenacious,” said head coach Peter Laviolette on the fourth line. “I actually thought their best work was done in the last 40 minutes. They were relentless on the body, physical, turned pucks over. One of the goals was the result of a couple of big hits. They worked hard.”
Watson, who had a three-point night (1G-2A) was impressed by the play of Sissons on Tuesday night.
“Colton was awesome,” said Watson. “He scores 25 goals down there for a reason. He came up here and played well. He didn’t look nervous or anything. He just played.”
On the night, none of the players on the fourth line played more than 8:40, but they all contributed. All three received time on the penalty kill, and for Colton Sissons, that shows a great amount of trust that head coach Peter Laviolette put in him. While the unit with Watson was scored on twice, having more players gain more experience on special teams will be helpful in the future for Nashville.
“It’s good, except for we got scored on both times, but other than that it feels good,” said Watson on getting penalty kill time. “It feels good to be involved in the game and feel like you’re making a difference whether it’s scoring a goal or killing a penalty. To be able to do those things and contribute is pretty special.”
“Just keep shooting and be tight in our own end,” said Watson on the strategy when the team knows a lot of goals are going to be scored. “The game was going a little bit back and forth, kind of trading chances. You definitely have to capitalize on yours when it’s like that. At the end, we held them off.”
Before the start of the third, the thought process was the same as the second, just keep pushing and shooting.
“I think it was a lot of the same things that we were doing in the second period,” said Watson on the second intermission message. “We wanted to just come out there and keep pushing the pace. We wanted to force the play a little bit.”
With three goals in the third period, Nashville shut down the Senators and moved to 9-3-2 on the season. Up next for Nashville will be the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. Obviously they’ll want to make a few adjustments to not allow for so many goals the next time they hit the ice.
“We definitely need to tighten a few things up, “said Watson on preparing for Toronto on Thursday. “As far as defensively, five goals, we don’t want to see that happen every night. I’m sure we’ll look at video here, and the coaches will have some stuff for us to work on.”
Post Game Videos
Barret Jackman (recorded his first goal as a Predator):
Photo credit: Christina McCullough