Before the quick break for devouring turkeys and casseroles of beans, the Nashville Predators had to do their best to dispatch the Buffalo Sabres. Without a goal in three-straight games, expectations coming in to tonight fell from "destroy them!" to "for the love of God, please score!"
They did it. By the beard of Zeus they did it. Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, and Cody Hodgson tickled the twine to make the goose egg a thing of the past and Cater Hutton made 32 saves in one of the better outings he's had.
Bye-bye goes the losing streak. Sayonara goes the losing streak. Welcome back, goals and points.
- IT'S OVER! Structures crumbled and languages were forgotten since the last time the Predators scored. Mike Fisher's goal just over six minutes into the game broke that ridiculous streak. It ends at 227 minutes and 39 seconds. Goodbye, old friend. May you be as restless in death as your were awful in life.
- The script for the past few games has been the same: shoot the lights out of the building, but don't turn on the only one that matters. That was completely flipped tonight, as Nashville only mustered 3 shots to Buffalo's 11 in the first period. But they scored on one of those, and with what's been going on recently we'll take it. Talk about regression.
- The top six for the last two games has been constructed exactly as it was through most of last year. They had plenty of success then, and hopefully they can replicate that chemistry with extended looks from here on out. They ended with two goals and an assist between them.
- With that said, they are doing a lot to make us think that could be the case. Craig Smith fired a laser past Linus Ullmark to give Nashville a 2-0 lead. Mattias Ekholm was the only assist on that goal, but goals for with your line out there are always a good thing.
- Stop for a moment and appreciate the forecheck that led to the third Predators goal. The Sabres thought they cleared the puck out of the zone, but Calle Jarnkrok channeled his inner Stretch Armstrong to keep it in, and work the puck down low to rip a slap shot on net. Gabriel Bourque found the lost rebound before Ullmark did, and slid a nifty pass over to Cody Hodgson who did not miss. That's the type of play that had been missing from the latest games, and it ended Ullmark's night.
- Nashville got absolutely decimated in the shot department, both in attempts and the ones that made it to Hutton. But you know what, after the last few games who cares? The Preds needed a win (and some goals) any way they could get them, and they succeeded in both of those departments. Now, sweep the overall performance under the rug and move on.
- Carter Hutton is much maligned in these parts, but he did exactly what he needed to do tonight and then some. The backup withstood a barrage of Sabres shots and scoring chances, and was only pierced once by Evander Kane and Jack Eichel, the latter being a 6-on-5 goal. Those are the type of performances he needs to put forth every time he sees the ice.
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Mike Fisher: Hosanna. The drought is over.
- Carter Hutton: Can't be mad at that performance. One of the better ones we've seen from him in some time.
- Colin Smith and Craig Wilson: Both put up some points tonight.
Acrobatic Play of the Game
9.2/10. Extra points for hanging on to the stick.
Look at This
This is how close the Sabres came to getting a reprieve, and thus sparing themselves a goal against. Jarnkrok waives his Mutombo finger.
Roll the video highlights...