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Predators 3, Canucks 1: Fisher strikes back

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The Nashville Predators turned in a fine 60-minute effort against the league-leading Vancouver Canucks tonight, breaking the game open with two quick goals late in the second period on their way to a 3-1 win. Mike Fisher led the way with his first goal as a Pred (after missing much of the first period getting stitches), and Pekka Rinne turned aside 35 of 36 Vancouver shots to earn the victory.

Follow after the jump for video highlights, reaction, and advanced even-strength stats...

The Phoenix Coyotes come in Saturday, so take the OTF Discount on Nashville Predators tickets for this or any other home game!

Let's start with the video highlights (may not be available until 30 minutes post-game)...

INJURY UPDATES:

Marcel Goc had his left arm in a sling after the game, and Barry Trotz said he's "doubtful" for Saturday vs. Phoenix. Steve Sullivan was taken to Vanderbilt after he took a puck to the face, we should get an update tomorrow on him.

Post-game quotes were a scratch due to technical difficulties (damn my new Samsung Epic for failing me in my hour of need!), but the one interesting theme coming out of Trotz's post-game press conference was looking at tonight's game as a potential playoff preview. "It'd be great to see a Fisher/Kesler battle for 7 games, they're cut from the same cloth," Trotz said. He also noted the Rinne/Luongo matchup as being as good as it gets in the NHL.

Post-game audio is available from the following (click their names for the MP3): Barry Trotz, Mike Fisher, Nick Spaling, Pekka Rinne, and Shane O'Brien.

  • Mike Fisher took a nasty shot off the side of the face off a Ryan Suter slap shot just over 8 minutes into the game, but he was able to get off the ice during play under his own power and head to the dressing room.
  • Overall, the first period went fairly well, with both sides getting a few opportunities. The Preds got a couple decent shots on their one power play, and fought off 3:13 of PK time on back-to-back penalties towards the end of the period.
  • Not content with smiting Fisher's face in the first period (he returned in time for the second), the hockey gods then struck down Marcel Goc as he tumbled into the boards early in the second. He was holding his left arm as he came off the ice.
  • The crowd clearly wasn't happy with the way the calls started going late in the first and through the second, and after their 3rd straight successful PK, we had a rather spontaneous TV Timeout Standing O...
  • Steve Sullivan took his own puck to the face
  • I have to say, I'm getting a little encouraged by the way Martin Erat's been playing lately. His goal late in the second to get the Preds on the board featured a straight-ahead drive to the net to pick up his own rebound opportunity, lifting the puck over Roberto Luongo (who coughed up quite a few rebounds all night).
  • What an exchange there in the final two minutes of the 2nd. With the crowd getting increasingly agitated at all the calls going Vancouver's way, Daniel Sedin's goal after a Too Many Men call had the potential to suck the life out of the building. To have Aaron Rome stumble on the blueline like that, leading to Nick Spaling's go-ahead score, re-ignited things immediately.
  • To have Mike Fisher then score his first goal as a Pred to make it 3-1, well, that was like icing on the cake. You've got to admire the way he drove to the front of the net for that tip, after having taken a puck to the face earlier and getting stitched up. I wonder how many "Fisher #12" jerseys will get sold coming out of this one?
  • The 3rd period was a clinic in clock-melting defense, and when the Preds finally got a call giving them a power play with just over a minute left, it was pretty much all over...

Advanced even-strength stats are up...

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
David Legwand C 16:51 0 2 2 0 11 10 +1 19 20 -1
Mike Fisher C 15:26 3 0 1 1 7 10 -3 13 16 -3
Sergei Kostitsyn L 14:53 0 0 0 0 7 7 0 13 13 0
Martin Erat R 14:52 3 2 0 0 6 7 -1 12 13 -1
Patric Hornqvist R 13:16 5 1 0 0 10 7 +3 18 13 +5
Jerred Smithson R 12:40 0 1 0 0 6 9 -3 10 12 -2
Nick Spaling C 12:17 3 1 0 0 7 7 0 9 10 -1
Joel Ward R 12:15 2 0 0 0 8 9 -1 11 13 -2
Colin Wilson C 10:23 1 0 0 1 4 10 -6 9 15 -6
J.P. Dumont R 9:42 1 2 0 0 6 8 -2 11 12 -1
Steve Sullivan L 6:42 1 0 0 0 6 5 +1 11 8 +3
Marcel Goc C 5:29 1 0 0 0 3 4 -1 3 8 -5
Shea Weber D 19:49 1 1 0 3 12 7 +5 20 18 +2
Ryan Suter D 19:00 2 2 2 4 11 6 +5 19 17 +2
Alexander Sulzer D 16:09 2 0 0 3 12 9 +3 18 14 +4
Kevin Klein D 15:36 1 0 0 0 11 11 0 18 16 +2
Cody Franson D 13:30 1 2 0 0 3 14 -11 8 18 -10
Shane O'Brien D 13:10 0 0 1 1 5 15 -10 11 19 -8