Playing for the first time since March 10 when he was a member of the Canadiens, Subban laced up the skates and hit the ice for the first time in Predator gold. He was partnered with Mattias Ekholm and the two played well together.
“He (Ekholm) is a stud,” Subban said. “You don’t usually throw that around much with defensemen but he played exceptional tonight. I look forward to playing with him and, obviously, he’s a big part of our team.”
Acquired in a June trade that sent Shea Weber to Montreal, it didn’t take Subban long to fit in with his new team. He got on the score sheet early in the first period, assisting on a goal scored by new captain Mike Fisher.
“That’s what he does, he controls plays,” Fisher said. “As you saw he’s got a good shot and he sees the ice really well. You know he looks really good and it was a fun night for everyone.”
Subban would later score himself on the power play, sending a blast from the point right past Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. With a two-point night, you would never tell Subban was worried about being rusty.
“Just a lot of rust and there was a couple of moments when the game was kind of faster for me,” Subban said. “It’s been like almost six months since I’ve been in a game, so it’s a long time.
“I fell back a little in training camp missing the first couple of days, so I just tried to work as hard as I could to get in the best game shape coming in.”
Subban logged 22:18 of ice time, second only to his defensive partner Mattias Ekholm. Predators coach Peter Laviolette saw plenty of positives with Subban’s debut.
“I thought as the game went on he got better and better,” Laviolette said. “The second period he was really good just moving the puck and skating and delivering the puck to the net.”
Now that the first game jitters are out of the way, Subban can work on building his confidence and developing chemistry with his new team.
“I’m just happy for the big win,” Subban said. “Obviously it’s the first game in our building this year and even though its an exhibition game it means a lot for us to get this win just for confidence for our guys.”