The floodgates finally opened for the Nashville offense on Tuesday night as both Filip Forsberg and Shea Weber posted three-point nights in the Predators’ 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
Following some dismal losses that had the fanbase and the team flustered, a dominating win was needed to regain some lost confidence. While it certainly hasn’t been a lack of generating opportunities during the recent slump, the Nashville offense just couldn’t muster many goals in their skid. Having big nights from the players you expect to score along with role players will help build that confidence back up.
“It was great…we’re undefeated in December,” said Cody Hodgson with a smirk.
Tuesday night saw a plethora of changes in the lines. Colin Wilson was a game-time scratch with a lower body injury, which meant recent call-up Cody Bass would see the ice. During the second period, Mike Fisher had an awkward fall and was not able to put any weight on right leg. Both meant changes right before and during the game.
“I thought we had chemistry all night when Fisher went down,” said Hodgson on getting playing with Ribeiro and Sissons. “Fisher is really tough to replace, so everyone had to step up. I thought it was a good character win to be able to come from behind. We played well the whole game, it just didn’t reflect until the end of the game.”
Down 2-1 going into the third and already having put up 27 shots, the team was confident that they’d be able to finally pick up more goals in the final period.
“We were doing all the right things, but sometimes this year we’ve done the right things and it hasn’t gone in,” said Hodgson, who recorded an assist on Mike Ribeiro’s goal. “We just stick with it and I think it shows a lot of character with the guys that no one tried to do it themselves. We played as a team, and that’s what got us the win.”
Along with that, the coaches kept pushing forward the message of playing the system and things will work.
“The coaches have been around the league for a long time and they’ve seen teams go in swings,” said Hodgson on the message during the second intermission. “Overall, if we do the right things, goals are going to come.”
Call-ups have been happening like wildfire over the past few weeks. Players such as Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson have been sent down and called back up. Cody Bass played his first game for Nashville Tuesday night. Juuse Saros started in net on Saturday. It’s been a whirlwind for the lineup, but it’s something the team has adjusted well to especially with good preparation from the Admirals.
“They’ve been doing a great job,” said Hodgson on all of the rookies playing of late. “I don’t know what they do in Milwaukee, but they’ve really prepared all of them. They’ve come up and they’re fast. They know the system. They’re in great shape and it’s fun to play with them. I thought Sissons was great tonight.”
The injury to Mike Fisher, which has yet to be updated as to the severity, could mean another call-up and changes in the line-up. Hodgson has played center before and can take on that role if needed.
“It’s been all over,” laughed Hodgson on him potentially playing center. “I think I was slated to play center earlier, but Wilson was a game-time decision. It’s been all over. But regardless, I’ll play any position I’m asked.”
Even with going 4-4-2 in their previous 10 games, the Predators still find themselves in third place in the Central Division with 30 points, only eight points back of the Dallas Stars for first. On Thursday, Nashville will face a Florida Panthers team that is riding a three-game winning streak ( just like the Coyotes were) that includes their 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday evening.
Post game video with Mike Ribeiro and head coach Peter Laviolette:
Photo credit: Christina McCullough