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Mully's Musings: vs. Anaheim

by Bryan Mullen / Nashville Predators
Saturday night had just about everything for Nashville Predators fans. There were fights, big hits, flashy goals and a tradition continued when a catfish was thrown on the ice. To top it all off, the home team handed the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 loss at Bridgestone Arena in front of a sold-out crowd of 17,113.

It was a much-needed victory for Nashville. The Preds entered Saturday with only four home wins, tied for the fewest in the NHL with Montreal. But the victory against Anaheim may serve as the spark Nashville needs to run off a few wins. The Preds play their next three games at home, starting with Calgary on Tuesday.

The list of positives ran long for Nashville on Saturday. They scored a power play goal for the fifth consecutive game, ran their 2011-12 record against the Ducks to 3-0-0, and outshot Anaheim 28-17. In fact, the Ducks didn’t register their first shot on goal until 5:10 remained in the first. To the musings…

Tootoo returns with a flare: Preds forward Jordin Tootoo couldn’t have scripted a better return. He sat out the last two games while serving a suspension but showed on Saturday why he’s been one of Nashville’s most productive players. Tootoo finished with a goal, an assist and +1 rating in only 11:42. His goal came at 5:25 of the third and gave Nashville a 3-1 lead. It was the 44th of his career. And it was a much-needed goal considering the Ducks’ Francois Beauchemin scored with 6:36 to go to make it a one-goal game. Tootoo was also instrumental in helping give the Preds their first lead of the game. He hit Brandon McMillan in the first minute of the third with the score tied 1-1. McMillan retaliated and was called for slashing. Nashville cashed in on the power play to take a 2-1 lead. Tootoo now has eight points in his last eight games.

Josi getting up to speed: The Nashville coaching staff has raved about the play of defenseman Roman Josi during the past couple of seasons. But injuries and roster quirks had kept him from making the jump to Nashville. Now that he’s here, Josi is taking advantage of the opportunity. With the Preds on the power play, he ripped a shot from the point at 2:33 of the third and scored his first career NHL goal. It gave Nashville a 2-1 lead and a shot of energy. Josi played 12:45 and added a blocked shot and a hit. As his confidence continues to grow, so will the coaching staff’s trust in him.

Fisher in top form: Mike Fisher may not have had a point on Saturday, but he was a major reason why Nashville picked up two points. He won a key faceoff late in the game, mirroring what he did late at Columbus on Thursday which put the Preds in position to escape with a victory. Fisher won 10 of 13 faceoffs on Saturday and had four shots on goal, which was the second-highest total of the game behind teammate Shea Weber (five). Fisher showed he will do just about anything to put his team in position to win, even showing his physical side. He and Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan got into a fight early in the third moments after Josi scored.

D Roman Josi: “I thought we played a really good game. It’s great to score your first NHL goal and help the team win at the same time.”

F Jordin Tootoo: “Defensively, I think we played a little bit better. There are things we need to clean up. That’s what film is about. We were here to win two points and came out with two points.”

Coach Barry Trotz: “I thought we were really strong for the full 60 minutes. We played a complete game and there was a lot of detail. Our gaps were really good and we had good puck possession. Our draws were outstanding.”

F Jordin Tootoo, Nashville: 1 goal, 1 assist, +1 rating
F Nick Spaling, Nashville: 1 goal, won 6 of 10 faceoffs
F Mike Fisher, Nashville: Won 10 of 13 faceoffs, 4 shots

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