Jan. 19, 2001: Hulse Scores, Preds Notch First Overtime Win at Home
At the midpoint of 2003-04 season, the Predators won a statement game against one of the top teams in the Western Conference, overcoming an early two-goal deficit to beat the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3. Defenseman Jason York provided the sudden-death heroics, while goaltender Chris Mason recorded his first NHL victory stopping 31 shots.
Mason was between the pipes after goalie Tomas Vokoun, who had started the team's previous 21 games, came down with the flu. Mason faced a Colorado team that had won four straight and five of its last seven and came in as the NHL's best road team.
Feb. 1, 2001: Down Three, Preds Roar Back Versus L.A.
A night after shutting out the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Southern California, the Nashville Predators put on a show at the other end of the ice, rallying from a three-goal deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Kings, 6-4.
Bill Houlder kick-started the rally at 14:24 of the second period, and Greg Johnson provided the game winner at 14:11 of the third frame after goals from Rob Valicevic and Greg Classen in the first seven minutes of the period. Captain Tom Fitzgerald chipped in an empty netter with under 30 seconds remaining.
March 23, 2001: Poile Wins 2001 Lester Patrick Award
General Manager David Poile was one of three recipients of the 2001 Lester Patrick Award, an honor presented annually, "for outstanding service to hockey in the United States."
Nov. 21, 2001: Pass the Mustard! Preds Beat Hawks in Jersey Debut
A day before Thanksgiving, the Predators unveiled a new look that produced results. The squad was as "good as gold" in five seasons wearing their first-ever alternate uniform, producing a 38-19-12 record, including a 21-3-2 mark in their final two seasons donning them.
The mustard-colored jersey featured an "animated" saber-tooth tiger logo on the crest of the uniform and a pair of tiger skulls on the shoulders.
The night of the unveiling against Chicago, the Preds won a 4-3 thriller thanks to David Legwand's go-ahead goal with 12 seconds left in regulation.
Dec. 15, 2001: Natural Hat Trick for Tenkrat
Forward Petr Tenkrat appeared in 58 games for Nashville in 2001-02 after coming over from Anaheim in a trade for Patric Kjellberg on Nov. 1, 2000. In only his sixth game in front of the Preds faithful, Tenkrat left quite an impression, with a natural trick against one of Nashville's Central Division rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. He scored his trio of goals at 13:44 and 14:11 of the second period, and 7:39 of the third.
Dec. 29, 2001: "Backdoor Bubba" Buries Winner in Overtime Against Detroit
Andrew "Bubba" Berenzweig's finest hour in the NHL came on Dec. 29, 2001 - the Predators' fourth season - when he capped off the team's late comeback over the Detroit Red Wings with one of the most memorable overtime winners in franchise history. Berenzweig notched two assists and the game-winner to lead the Predators to their first win over the Red Wings in more than a year.
"It was big for the team and, of course, big for me," Berenzweig said. "It feels really good since it was Detroit, and I went to the University of Michigan for four years."
The come-from-behind win started in the final five minutes of regulation with Nashville trailing 2-0. Vitali Yachmenev tallied at 15:40 before Vladimir Orszagh tied the game, with goalie Mike Dunham pulled, and just 65 ticks left in regulation. Berenzweig finished the comeback with his first NHL game-winner, 2:20 into OT.
Feb. 9, 2002: Arkhipov Breaks Scoreless Tie in Overtime at Columbus
Denis Arkhipov broke a scoreless tie at 2:45 of overtime and goaltender Tomas Vokoun stopped all 25 shots he faced to vault the Predators to a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The OT victory also set the stage for back-to-back 1-0 shutouts, with the second coming three nights later against the Panthers.
Arkhipov's 14th marker of the season was one for the highlight reels. While in the process of being knocked off his feet by Columbus defenders Mattias Timander and Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, the Kazan, Russia native snapped a wrist shot over goalie Marc Denis' shoulder for his second overtime winner in less than three weeks.
Oct. 8, 2002: Greg Johnson Named Second Captain in Team History
Greg Johnson was named the Predators second captain in franchise history prior to the start of the team's fifth season. Across seven years in Nashville, Johnson recorded 93 goals, 145 assists (238 points) in 502 games.
Scott Walker also wore the "C" on an interim basis that season (from Jan. 12-27).
Oct. 15, 2002: 3-on-5? No Problem, Skrastins Scores Shorthanded
At Nassau Coliseum, Karlis Skrastins pulled off an offensive feat rarely attained - scoring a goal while his team was two-men down. Vladimir Orszagh and Tomas Vokoun were both penalized as the clock ran down in the first period, leaving the Predators two-men short against the New York Islanders. Just 21 seconds into the second frame, Skrastins fired a shot from the blue line at Islanders netminder Chris Osgood. With his own player screening him, the shot caught the Islanders' goalie off guard, giving Nashville a 3-1 lead.
Nov. 27, 2002: Andreas Johansson Nets Hat Trick vs. San Jose
Early in his first season with the Predators, Andreas Johansson made quite an impression by notching the fourth hat trick in team history, and the lone three-goal performance of the 2002-03 season, in a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators used the performance as a rallying point, winning four of their next six games.
Dec. 12, 2002: Dunham Traded, Vokoun Becomes Starter
After a 6-14-8 start to the 2002-03 season, Predators General Manager David Poile pulled the trigger on the most high-profile trade in franchise history at that point. Goaltender Mike Dunham, who had played 217 games in net for Nashville over four-plus seasons, was dealt to the New York Rangers for a promising young defenseman (Tomas Kloucek), a versatile veteran forward (Rem Murray) and a European prospect (Marek Zidlicky).
The deal also cleared the way for a new era in Predators history. Tomas Vokoun, who had served as the "1B" option to Dunham's "1A" up until then, was bestowed the No. 1 role. Vokoun went on to play in 57 of Nashville's final 58 games in 2002-03, starting a franchise-record 38 in a row to finish the season.
Feb. 27, 2003: Preds Beat Pittsburgh in Lemieux's Only Career Appearance
The Nashville Predators were supposed to be awestruck at presence of Mario Lemieux in Bridgestone Arena, but they were too busy scoring goals to get caught up at the sight of "Le Magnifique."
In his lone appearance in the city as a player, the Predators scored early and often, and received a 22-save effort from goaltender Tomas Vokoun en route to a 6-0 smashing of the Pittsburgh Penguins for their second consecutive white-washing.
March 1, 2003: Trotz Coaches Game No. 392, Most for First Coach of Expansion Team
In a game where it became evident the giant strides the franchise had made in its five-year history, Nashville Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz attained a milestone of his own by spending his 392nd career game behind the Preds bench. The number set a new mark for games managed by the original coach of an expansion franchise, breaking the previous record held by Preds TV Analyst Terry Crisp when he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nashville made the night memorable, downing the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime to mark the first time the franchise (26-25-9-4) had been above .500 that late in the season.
June 21-22, 2003: 2003 NHL Draft in Nashville; Preds Select Weber, Suter, Klein
The hockey world convened in Nashville during the third weekend in June of 2003 for the annual NHL Entry Draft. More than 13,000 fans attended the two-day event, which had an estimated economic impact of nearly $10 million on Middle Tennessee.
Besides the memorable backdrop that Music City provided, the 2003 Draft offered one of the deepest talent pools in recent history. And the Predators took full advantage. Nashville made 13 picks overall, including eight of the first 98 players selected, and took the opportunity to bolster the organizational blue line drafting defensemen Ryan Suter, Kevin Klein and Shea Weber.
Oct. 9, 2003: Tootoo Becomes First Inuit Player to Play NHL
Nashville's season-opening 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in 2003 featured a groundbreaking story that captured international attention. Nashville rookie Jordin Tootoo became the first player of Inuit descent to appear in a NHL game.
The popular agitator, raised in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, played 13:34 and recorded one shot on goal. His every move was watched not only by the 16,684 in attendance, but by an international media contingent. For his achievement, Tootoo earned a spot among The Globe & Mail's list of the "Top 25 Sports Figures" in Canada in 2003.
Nov. 8, 2003: Preds Score Three in Third to Beat Red Wings, Start Playoff Push
The Predators staged one of the most dramatic comebacks in franchise history in the most unlikely of places, rallying from a 3-0 deficit with four scores in the final 20 minutes. The rally would stand as a 4-3 win in regulation at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, a place where Nashville had posted a record of 1-10-3 in 14 all-time trips up to that point.
After a slow start to the season had put the Preds into a 4-8-1 hole, the victory over the Red Wings sparked a run of 10 wins in their next 12 games and vaulted Nashville toward the first playoff berth in franchise history.
Nov. 21, 2003: Hartnell Scores 1,000th Franchise Goal in Overtime Triumph
The 1,000th tally in Nashville Predators' history could not have come at a better time. After Greg Johnson scored No. 999 with only 3:58 left in regulation to send the game to overtime, Scott Hartnell beat Anaheim's J.S. Giguere to make goal No. 1,000 a game-winner.
The Predators reached the 1,000-goal mark in their 428th game. The 2003-04 season marked the first in which Nashville scored more than 200 goals (216) in a season, and it also marked the team's first trip to the postseason.
Dec. 20, 2003: Vokoun Register First Shutout of Detroit
The 2003-04 season series between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings had several memorable chapters, and the feud boiled over into a terrific six-game Stanley Cup Playoff series. After a fight-filled win in Nashville and an historic come-from-behind win in the Motor City, the third head-to-head meeting between the Central Division rivals was highlighted by a 21-save effort from goalie Tomas Vokoun. A third-period goal by then-rookie defenseman Dan Hamhuis in front of a sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena pushed Nashville to the win.
The shutout was the 18th in franchise history, and the Predators' first against the Red Wings.