It is no secret that the Nashville Predators have not played up to expectations through the first month of the season. They stumbled out of the gates to a 3-5-3 record, including back-to-back losses in a shootout after blowing a 2-1 lead.
Colin Wilson attributed the team’s slow start to coasting on talent. Ryan Johansen credited it to a lack of consistent effort. Either way, one thing was clear: The Predators needed to put forth a full 60-minute effort.
Nashville did just that, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-1 Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. The catalyst for the Predators victory was none other than defenseman P.K. Subban.
“We played a full 60, and the key for us was our second period,” Subban said after the win. “We’ve been having good starts but we seem to drop off in the second period. We got some big goals, some timely goals, and I felt we just kept the ball rolling and focused on our next shift.”
Subban tallied a goal and an assist for his team-leading eighth point. More importantly, he displayed some slick puck-possession skills that everyone had been expecting from the Predators since the start of the season.
“P.K. was really good,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He got the puck well, out of our end well, and got out of our end with speed and sometimes jumped into the offense. When we got to the offensive zone, I thought he did a good job picking and choosing his spots to add offensively.”
Subban skated circles around the Senators and appeared to be more comfortable with the puck on his stick than he had been in any game previously this season.
“The first 10 games, to be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve really been at my best you know,” Subban said. “I don’t know why that is, but in this game I just felt better and I had my legs under me. When I feel that way I can create and open up some space and I had room to skate with it a couple of times, and particularly on that (Neal) shift I did.
“I’m getting used to playing with new teammates as well. Guys need to understand how to read off of you, and you read off them, and I think we did a good job of just reading off each other.”
After adjusting to his new teammates and more physical play of the Western Conference, Subban appears to be putting it together at the right time for Nashville.