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Preds Top 100 Moments: 2011-2013

Preds Claim Their First Playoff Series Win and Build New Core with Josi, Rinne and Fisher

by Nashville Predators @PredsNHL / NashvillePredators.com

Preds Top 100 Moments: 2011-2013

The Top 100 Moments continues with 2011-13

Another round of playoff firsts are included in the top Preds moments from 2011-2013

  • 02:18 •

Now in its centennial season, the National Hockey League is celebrating in style. It started on Jan. 1 with the Centennial Classic in Toronto, and the League has big plans to commemorate the milestone as the 2017 calendar year continues. That includes an NHL Centennial Fan Arena tour, a traveling fan experience unlike any other, which will make a stop in Nashville on Feb. 11-12. Also, all 30 - and soon 31 - teams will wear the NHL Centennial logo on the sleeves of their jerseys for the next year.

The Nashville Predators don't have the same longevity the League does, but in their nearly 20 years of existence, there have been plenty of moments worth remembering. So in the spirit of the centennial, we're counting down the Top 100 moments in franchise history over the coming weeks, continuing part two in our story which covers 2011 through 2013.

Feb. 10, 2011: Preds Trade for Mike Fisher

Predators acquire forward - and future captain - Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators for a first-round selection in the 2011 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Fisher recorded 12 points (5g-7a) during the Preds playoff push in the spring of 2011 and three more goals in the postseason, which featured Nashville's first-ever series win.

March 20, 2011: Blake Geoffrion Becomes First Tennessee Native in NHL, Records Hat Trick

Less than one month after becoming the first Tennessee native, and first fourth-generation NHLer to appear in the League, Brentwood native Blake Geoffrion became the youngest player in franchise history to notch a hat trick in his 11th career game at Buffalo. Geoffrion scored all three of Nashville's regulation goals as the Predators moved into a fifth-place tie in the tight Western Conference playoff race.

After three consecutive Sabres goals, Geoffrion netted his second and third goals to tie the game late in the third period. He cut the Sabres' lead to 3-2 with 2:27 left in regulation when he capitalized on Andrej Sekera's turnover at the side of the Buffalo net and jammed the puck inside the right post. Geoffrion tied the game just 62 seconds later, just as the Predators pulled goalie Anders Lindback for an extra attacker.

A wrist shot from Martin Erat won the game for Nashville 27 ticks into overtime.

Predators - History Will Be Made 4/22/11

April 22, 2011: Preds Win First Game Five, and Overtime Playoff Game

Down a goal in the final minute of regulation, Shea Weber sent a puck through traffic to even the score with 36 seconds remaining and force overtime.

Nashville's spring of "firsts" began as Jerred Smithson scored at 1:57 of extra time to lift the Predators to a 4-3 victory at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Smithson caught the puck in stride and beat goaltender Ray Emery to send the Predators into previously uncharted waters - with a playoff opponent on the brink of elimination.  

It was the Predators' first playoff overtime victory, first Game Five victory and first time winning three games in a playoff year.

April 24, 2011: Preds Beat Ducks in Game Six for First Playoff Series Win

After a thrilling Game Five in Anaheim, the heated Round One series between the Predators and Anaheim Ducks returned to Nashville for Game Six just 48 hours later. Nick Spaling scored two goals as Nashville defeated Anaheim 4-2, giving the Predators their first playoff series win in franchise history.

"Nick Spaling is not known for scoring a lot of goals, but there he is scoring big goals," former Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. "This series sort of symbolized how the Predators play in a lot of ways. [David] Legwand's line got a couple of goals, and they played lots against Ryan Getzlaf. Mike Fisher's line got us some goals, Jerred Smithson's line got us goals and Blake Geoffrion's line got us goals. That's sort of what we do. That's our DNA. To win this series, we needed everybody and everybody contributed."

Pekka Rinne - History Will Be Made 4/30/11

April 30, 2011: Round Two, Matt Halischuk Ends Game in Double Overtime to Tie Series

Predators rookie forward Matt Halischuk ended the longest game in franchise history (at the time) at 14:51 of double overtime, putting a shot over Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo's glove for a 2-1 win at Rogers Arena. The win - which came on April 30, 2011, in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals - tied the series at one game apiece.

Similar to their first overtime win of the playoff season eight days prior, an extra-attacker goal by a Nashville defenseman was necessary to force overtime. This time, Ryan Suter netted the equalizer with just a little over a minute left in regulation. After being denied by Luongo, Suter gathered his own rebound behind the net and attempted to put the puck on net. A fortunate bounce put the puck in between Luongo's legs and into the net.

While Suter and Halischuk stole many of the headlines, it was Pekka Rinne who stole the show. Nashville's netminder stood on his head throughout the night, repeatedly making spectacular sprawling saves to keep the Predators in the game. He stopped all 32 even-strength shots he faced and ended the evening with a .970 save percentage. Eighteen of Rinne's 32 saves came after regulation, including several showstoppers.

Oct. 7-8, 2011: Craig Smith Scores Goals in Each of His First Two Games

Craig Smith's NHL career jumped out to a quick start when he scored goals in each of his first two NHL contests, becoming the first rookie to score in each of his first two games - that were also his team's first two games of the season - since Edmonton Oilers forward Rem Murray in October 1996.

Smith's first goal came at 15:56 in the second period of Nashville's season opener in Columbus. Shea Weber fired a shot on goal that was blocked by goalie Steve Mason. A scrum left the puck sitting in the crease and Smith reached around from behind the net and put the puck home. The goal gave the Predators a 2-1 lead.

Smith's second goal came the following night in St. Louis. Once again, Smith found himself opportunely placed after a Weber shot from the point. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak batted down Weber's initial shot, but the puck slid out of Halak's reach. Smith crossed in front of the crease and slipped a backhand underneath the sprawling arm of Halak to tie the game at one goal apiece.

Nashville won both games, 3-2 and 4-2 respectively.

Nov. 3, 3011: Rinne Turns 29, Signs Seven-Year Deal and Shuts Out Coyotes

On his 29th birthday, goaltender Pekka Rinne signed the then-largest contract in franchise history - a seven-year deal worth $49 million. Later in the day, he celebrated both occasions by shutting out the Phoenix Coyotes, stopping all 35 shots he faced to record his third shutout of the still young season.

"I'm not going to say it's just two points," Rinne said. "It has a different meaning to me. Signing the contract, playing the same day and it's my birthday. It's a pretty special day."

Nov. 12, 2011: Preds Play 1,000th game in Franchise History

In mid-November 2011, the franchise played its 1,000th regular-season game against the Montreal Canadiens. David Poile became the first general manager in NHL history to record 1,000 games with two separate franchises (Washington from 1982-97) while Barry Trotz became just the fourth coach to spend 1,000 games behind the bench of a single franchise.

Though the Predators lost to the Canadiens 2-1 in front of a sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena, the night was about reflecting on the first 13-plus years of the franchise's existence. Employees who had been part of the organization were honored in a pregame ceremony, while Tom Fitzgerald, the Predators' first captain, Mike Dunham, the franchise's first expansion draft pick and David Legwand, the team's first-ever entry draft selection, dropped the first puck.

"There are lots of ups and downs with every franchise," Poile said. "With the Predators, the goal is to be competitive every year, and after 1,000 games, that's where we've brought it to now. We have to go a little bit further each year. And eventually, we have to do what a lot of people say is impossible for us, and that's win a Stanley Cup."

Red Wings @ Predators 12/15/11

Dec. 15, 2011: Weber Scores Twice in Final Five Minutes as Preds Beat Wings

Shea Weber scored goals at 15:36 and 18:24 of the third period as Nashville rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the rival Detroit Red Wings, 4-3, despite being outshot 40-21.

Jordin Tootoo started the comeback at 17:22 in the second period when he converted the rebound of a Kevin Klein shot. The goal pulled the Predators within one and brought the score to 3-2.

After more than 15 minutes of scoreless third-period hockey, the Red Wings were penalized for the first time when Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard was whistled for hooking Tootoo. Only 22 seconds after the penalty was assessed, Weber's blast from above the left face-off circle beat a screened Howard on the glove side. The goal knotted the score at three and gave the Predators the momentum. Then, with 96 seconds left in regulation, Weber fired a wrist shot from the right point that bounced in front of the net and slipped by Howard

Dec. 22, 2011: Down 4-1 to Blue Jackets, Preds Rally for Win with Game-Winner in Dying Seconds

After falling behind 4-1 in the first period, in large part because of a Jeff Carter hat trick, the Predators rallied for a dramatic 6-5 victory, capped by a thrilling, game-winning goal from Martin Erat with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation.

Patric Hornqvist and Columbus' Ryan Johansen traded goals early in the second to keep the Blue Jackets lead at three goals before the Predators comeback commenced. Nick Spaling sliced the lead to two, the Roman Josi claimed all the momentum with his second career tally at 13:41 of the second.

After a scoreless first 16 minutes of the third, Nashville knotted the game at 5-5 thanks to a pair of Top 10 draft picks. Colin Wilson, the seventh overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft corralled a rebound and fed David Legwand, the second overall pick in the 1998 Draft, where he buried the equalizer.

Erat's heroics sealed the improbable comeback victory with a meager 8.4 seconds left on the clock. After taking a pass from Ryan Suter in the neutral zone, Erat split two defenders before sliding a backhand between the legs of a stunned Curtis Sanford.

Jan. 31, 2012: Down 4-1 to Minnesota, Preds Rally for Win with Four in the Third

In a season where Nashville rallied from two- or three-goal deficits to claim victory an NHL-high seven times, arguably the most dramatic came on Jan. 31, when the Preds scored four goals in the final 10:38 of regulation to top the Minnesota Wild, 5-4, at Xcel Energy Center. It wasn't the prettiest win, but pushed Nashville's record to 13-2-0 in 15 games since Dec. 28.

After Brandon Yip and Patric Hornqvist made it a one-goal game, Mike Fisher took over, scoring 21 seconds after Hornqvist to tie the game. Then, with 21 seconds remaining in regulation, Fisher sent a seemingly harmless shot on net from behind the right circle that slipped underneath goaltender Josh Harding's pads and sent a groan throughout the Xcel Energy Center.

"I just threw it to the net and it just found a hole somehow. You never know. I think it surprised me as much as anyone," Fisher said.

March 30, 2012: Preds Beat Detroit 4-1 for 500th Victory in Franchise History

Nashville recorded the 500th regular-season victory in club history with a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Predators hit the milestone in 1,062 games, the fewest in the post-1990 expansion era. With the win, David Poile became the first general manager to guide two separate clubs to 500 wins (Washington), while Barry Trotz became just the fifth bench boss to post 500 wins with a single team.

"It feels good for our franchise," Trotz said. "Sort of like we've arrived."

April 15 & 17, 2012: Preds Win Games Three and Four in Detroit

With their 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinal series even at one game apiece, the Predators wrenched any thought of home ice advantage away from the Red Wings by winning Games Three and Four at Joe Louis Arena.

D-man Kevin Klein scored his first of two goals during the two games in Detroit to put Nashville ahead 2-1 before assisting on Sergei Kostitsyn's game-winning goal in the third period in Game Three. Two days later, the traditionally defensive-defenseman scored the game-winner himself as all four goals of the game came in the third period during a 3-1 Nashville triumph.

Claiming both games on the road in the series flipped the script for the series that seemed to be turning in Detroit's favor following their Game Two win. Just a few days later, Nashville would seal the deal with a victory on home ice and a Round One series win.

April 20, 2012: Preds Win Game Five, Eliminate Detroit

Four years to the day after the Detroit Red Wings eliminated the Nashville Predators en route to their 11th Stanley Cup, the Predators returned the favor, defeating "big brother" and arguably their biggest rival, four games to one, in their Stanley Cup Playoff series. It made Nashville the only Western Conference team to advance to the second round in both 2011 and 2012.

After splitting the first two games of the series at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville claimed victory in both games at Joe Louis Arena, a venue that was nearly impossible to win at in the franchise's early years. David Legwand's game-winning goal just 13 seconds into the third period, coupled with Pekka Rinne's spectacular play in net clinched Game Five by a 2-1 score.

"This is huge," Rinne said after posting a franchise-record 1.81 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in the series. "They have such a great team, great organization with a lot of history with a lot of success. It was a great chance for us to play against the Detroit Red Wings and beat them in five games. It's great. It tells something about this team. We have a lot of talent in this locker room, and we're having a great time playing right now."

June 20, 2012: Preds Send Four to Vegas for Awards; Fisher Wins Foundation Award

The Nashville Predators tied for the most representatives at the NHL Awards for the second consecutive year in 2012, but after being shut out in 2011, Mike Fisher brought home the franchise's second major award as the recipient of the NHL Foundation Award.

In addition to Fisher, both Pekka Rinne (Vezina) and Shea Weber (Norris) were finalists for awards given to the top players at their respective positions, while David Poile was nominated for the GM of the Year Award for the third-straight campaign.

"It's pretty special to win, that's for sure," Fisher said. "My parents were a great example for me growing up. They always did so much and took great joy in it. I honestly feel like I get more out of it than what I give."

Feb. 25, 2013: Josi has Four-Point Night vs. Dallas, Notches First Career Game-Winner

Despite being selected 38th overall in the 2008 Entry Draft and playing internationally as a teenager, Roman Josi entered the 2012-13 season under the radar. But in front of a nationally televised audience on the NBC Sports Network on Feb. 25, Josi not-so-quietly informed the rest of the hockey world he was one of the top young defensemen in the game, posting the fifth four-point performance by a defenseman in franchise history in a 5-4 overtime victory over Dallas.

After falling behind 2-1 early, Josi scored his first goal of the game at 3:20 of the second period. Dallas would extend its lead to 4-2 by the game's midpoint, which is when Josi got down to business. He set up a tally by Patric Hornqvist, then the equalizer by Mike Fisher at 9:22 of the third. His second goal, and fourth point of the night, was also his first career game-winning goal and overtime tally. It came on a slap shot from the left point 28 seconds into the extra frame.

March 8, 2013: Wilson has Four-Point Night, Records 100th NHL Point

Colin Wilson not only continued his red-hot point production on Bridgestone Arena ice in a 6-0 drubbing of the Edmonton Oilers on March 8, 2013, but he hit a pair of personal milestones in the process, collecting his 100th career point with an assist on Nashville's opening goal, then proceeding to collect another first-period helper and score a pair of third-period goals to complete his first career four-point game.

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