Subban scored his seventh goal in 25 games this season, beating his 68-game scoring total from last season, en route to a 4-3 Predators victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
His goal came in the middle of the second period with the score tied at two. Subban took a great pass from Kevin Fiala at the point and fired a laser beam past Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov. That kind of forward-to-defenseman play is the kind of offense that Subban loves here in Nashville.
“One thing about this team since I’ve been here is that the forwards use the D,” he said. “It’s something that, obviously, I like to play with, forwards that use the defense, because it’s easy for us to generate offense that way when they grind and cycle down low. It’s hard work. It’s not easy in this league to be able to come out of the corner with the puck and use your points and our forwards do such a great job, so when we get it, we just try to get it back in there and create something.”
Subban also said that this kind of give-and-take from the forwards to the defensemen is a new and exciting concept for him, especially with all of the talent on the blue line.
“I think in this league now to generate offense, it’s so hard to do it, you’ve got to attack as a five-man unit and for us, I think we’re only setting ourselves back if we don’t use our D,” he said. “We’ve got tremendous D here that can move the puck and create offense and skate. It’s only going to give our forwards more room and more space. Not only that, it’ll make it easier for them because we’ve got guys back there that can make plays. When we use the D and stretch teams out, it’s really hard to defend for them.”
One of those forwards that can feed off of the defensemen is James Neal, who scored a goal in the first period in his first game back from injury. He found the puck down low and roofed the puck past Varlamov in tight space.
“He’s good at jumping in the rush, finding spots,” Neal said of Subban. “He’s obviously got a great shot and he shoots the puck a lot. When that happens, good things will happen, and you saw that tonight off the stick. He’s putting it to the net, gets a big goal.”
With his goal tonight, Subban has scored six of his seven goals in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena. That is double the number of goals he scored all of last season at the Bell Centre as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
Even though Subban has gotten off to a hot start, head coach Peter Laviolette acknowledged that there were some growing pains.
“I think we were all getting acclimated a little bit in October,” Laviolette said. “I do think that there was a feeling out process when we get a new team, guys that are here, even guys that are playing with new players and understanding the system.”
“But, I think he’s been terrific. His game has been excellent, not just offensively but defensively as well. He’s a guy that we count on to play against the other teams’ big lines right now, shut them down and still provide offense. I think the more he plays, the more comfortable he gets, the better he looks.”
Laviolette also said that Subban has the ability to be a key difference-maker on offense.
“I think he’s a naturally gifted offensive player,” he said. “I just think it takes a little bit to understand how we do things offensively and the checklist that we go through in trying to generate offense.”
While Nashville’s newest superstar has shined in the bright lights of Broadway this season, he hopes to bring that success to the road soon.
“For whatever reason, I’m just getting the opportunities to create offense here and the puck is going in for me,” Subban said. “Maybe the second half will be different, maybe I’ll get those bounces on the road.”
“But, for me right now, I just take what I get.”
The Predators hit the road to finish off the week, starting with a trip to Dallas to take on the Stars on Thursday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM central.