Predators get back to their winning ways in 4-1 victory over Florida

Dan Hamhuis led all scorers with his first goal of the season along with an assist as the Nashville Predators beat the Florida Panthers in front of 14,120 tonight at the Sommet Center Smashville Arena. Wearing their new 3rd jerseys, the Preds struggled through the first two periods tied 1-1 before finally pulling away in the third in a penalty-filled affair for both teams.

After the jump we've got the video highlights, recap, and advanced even-strength statistics...

This was a fun one to enjoy, not just due to the play on the ice, but because I brought my father-in-law to the game. Since he lives in Indiana he doesn't catch NHL action often. In fact, he told me the last live game he saw pitted the Boston Bruins against the St. Louis Blues... back in 1971! As Buddy Oakes observed during the first intermission, the look of the game (especially in terms of advertisements on the boards and ice) sure has changed since those days...

On the ice, the Predators got off to a sluggish start; three power play opportunities came and went with lackluster results, and the crowd started getting restless, anticipating the worst after last night's loss to St. Louis. Late in the period, however, a point shot from Hamhuis with traffic in front from Joel Ward and Jerred Smithson got through Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen to put Nashville up 1-0 heading into the 1st intermission.

The second period saw a steady stream into the penalty box, as Jordin Tootoo squared off for a short fight with Kenndal McArdle immediately after the opening faceoff. Besides three other minor penalties to the Predators during that period (all successfully killed off, by what is looking once again like a typically strong Nashville PK unit), Tootoo got a rematch with McArdle midway through the period. Tootoo didn't want to go, but McArdle wouldn't let go and basically begged for a fight - so Toots basically pounded the stuffing out of him and ended his evening early.

Amidst all those festivities, however, Florida tied the game. Jordan Leopold was the trailer in a 3-on-2 and fired a shot high stick side by Dan Ellis, who was outstanding in his first game action in 3 weeks. Despite his play, however, fans were nervous about a tied game heading into the third, with not much offense to show so far.

Things certainly turned during the final 20 minutes, however. The Preds poured it on with a 12-5 shooting advantage down the stretch, and took a 2-1 lead early on. Steve Sullivan got the puck all alone in front of the Florida net and took his shot, which led to a rebound at the side of the goal for J.P. Dumont. He took the time to lift a backhand over a prone Clemmensen for the goal, his fifth of the season.

David Legwand continued his hot play by adding an insurance goal a few minutes later, powering his way past a Panthers defender to chase a puck into the offensive end and stuff a shot through the 5-hole for his fifth goal as well. Joel Ward added an empty netter in the final minute to ice the game for Nashville.

The Preds conclude this home stand with a game Monday against the Calgary Flames, who boast a 9-1-3 road record after winning in Columbus tonight.

For the Florida perspective on the game, check out Litter Box Cats, SB Nation's Florida Panthers blog.

For discounted tickets to any Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".

Looking at tonight's even-strength statistics, note that the overall SOG +/- and Corsi numbers are mostly positive; even the worst results on the team, mostly concentrated on the 4th-liners, are only mildly negative. Up front, the Legwand line had an excellent night, and consistently seemed to have the most jump.

Once again, however, that name down at the bottom of the list, Cody Franson, continues to put up positive results in relatively limited action.

 Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Jason Arnott C 11:31 2 2 0 2 8 4 4 17 12 5
 Steve Sullivan L 11:24 2 2 2 0 8 4 4 17 13 4
 J P Dumont R 9:55 2 0 0 0 7 3 4 16 10 6
 David Legwand C 12:01 2 0 1 0 12 5 7 19 13 6
 Jerred Smithson R 12:33 2 2 0 1 10 6 4 18 12 6
 Joel Ward R 11:46 3 1 0 1 10 3 7 17 11 6
 Marcel Goc C 12:57 1 1 1 0 4 6 -2 13 9 4
 Martin Erat R 10:39 0 0 1 0 5 7 -2 11 11 0
 Jordin Tootoo R 11:31 0 2 0 0 4 4 0 13 7 6
 Michael Santorelli C 5:57 1 0 0 0 2 4 -2 4 5 -1
 Patric Hornqvist R 8:51 1 0 0 0 4 6 -2 7 8 -1
 Dave Scatchard C 6:56 0 1 0 0 2 5 -3 5 6 -1
 Shea Weber D 14:28 5 2 1 1 11 10 1 22 20 2
 Ryan Suter D 14:09 0 1 1 3 10 10 0 19 21 -2
 Kevin Klein D 13:50 0 0 2 2 7 6 1 17 13 4
 Francis Bouillon D 13:56 0 0 0 0 6 5 1 14 11 3
 Dan Hamhuis D 15:48 0 1 2 0 9 4 5 20 8 12
 Cody Franson D 11:53 0 1 0 0 7 3 4 12 5 7
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