Home is where the points are for the Nashville Predators this season. On Friday night, Nashville finished its three-game home stand with their third straight victory, and sixth victory in a row at Bridgestone Arena, by walloping the Winnipeg Jets 5-1.
Different role players on the Predators continue to provide offense game in and game out. With Nashville not needing to rely on one or two specific players to provide their offense as in years past, it makes this season’s squad more dangerous.
It was a big night for Colin Wilson as he scored his third and fourth goals of the season, both assisted by Predators captain Mike Fisher. He’s a player that has been working hard all season, but has had trouble finishing and finding the back of the net.
“Something I could do a little better – protecting the puck, just playing fast and making plays,” said Wilson. “The last few games have been a little better and it feels good to get rewarded.”
Peter Laviolette has been impressed with Wilson’s play all season.
“[Wilson] for me has been strong all year,” said Laviolette. “He’s just working really hard; he’s protecting the puck. When the points come, you never know; as long as players are doing the right things and playing hard, usually good things follow and I think he’s been a guy that’s been pretty consistent all year.”
Another player that continues to heat up is Ryan Johansen, who had three points (2G-1A) Friday night against Winnipeg. With the points he earned Friday night, he’s now on a five-game point streak against the Jets, tallying 11 points (5G-6A) in those games.
“I don’t know, it’s just one of those teams where we have success,” said Johansen. “I guess I’m happy we get to play them again Sunday.”
In his last two games, Johansen has five points.
“You try not to worry about points,” Johansen said. “There’s so many ups and downs in two games. Obviously I wasn’t getting much the last month or so, but I feel like I’ve been playing a good two-way game still; taking care of the D-zone and winning hockey games.”
Peter Laviolette has liked Johansen’s play and especially likes it when he shoots the puck.
“It’s good for Ryan to get rewarded tonight with some pucks going to the net,” said Laviolette. “He’s a guy that often looks to feed others first. I like it when he shoots the puck; he’s got a terrific shot and tonight you saw him score a couple of really nice goals. We don’t have a lot of 30-goal scorers, but he’s one of them. The more he gets the puck at the net, the better off we’ll be and the more he’s going to produce. Scoring 30 goals is hard. He likes to look for others and he’s very talented and I think he sees the ice really well, but he’s also got an excellent shot and tonight was a good combination of them both.”
The month of November has been very rewarding for Nashville. During the month of October, had a 2-5-1 record. In November however, Nashville so far has a record of 8-2-2 record. In those 12 games, the team has also scored over 40 goals. Compare that to the 19 goals scored in eight games in October and it’s easy to see that the offense clicking, especially at home.
“I think even early in the season we had some games that were good too, and we just couldn’t score – especially at five on five,” said Roman Josi on the team’s play early in the season. “I think today we got a couple bounces and one or two goals; they kind of bounced for us. We played a really good game, really sold it, [Rinne] was great again like he has been all month.”
One of things the Predators still needs to figure out in order to be complete is winning on the road. A 2-6-2 record away from Bridgestone Arena is good for 26th in the league in regards to records away from home. This team is more than capable of winning their next two road games as they meet Winnipeg again and then head back to Colorado. With all other aspects of the team coming together, the only thing really missing now is playing complete games on the road.
“It’s been tough; we got caught with a lot of road games right off the bat,” said Peter Laviolette. “We did some good things on the road. We played the last two games on the road and I liked five of the six periods we played, so take those two games, the home games, and look to get some road wins. We’ve got to be better; there’s no question that we’ve got to be better on the road than what we’ve been, so it’s a talking point in the room.”
Nashville goes on the road for two games and then will be back at home Saturday, December 3 to face the New Jersey Devils.