When Peter Laviolette addressed the media on Saturday morning as his club was dealing with a bout of food poisoning affecting a number of players, the Nashville Predators head coach said his team would come up with a plan, one way or another, before game time.
Did they ever.
Kevin Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson each scored twice, and Juuse Saros made 34 saves in his second career NHL start to give the Preds a 5-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Predators ultimately recalled five players prior to Saturday's contest - four forwards and a goaltender - and without five of their usual participants, including Mike Fisher and Pekka Rinne, Nashville found a way to collect their second win of the season.
Video: Arvidsson, Fiala help Predators top Penguins, 5-1
"We could've gone out there and hoped our way through the game or waited for lucky bounces," center Ryan Johansen said. "Every guy in this [locker] room went out there and attacked the game in full force, especially after them scoring a goal like that early on. We kept our composure, and Juuse was phenomenal."
The Penguins scored less than a minute into the contest, but it wasn't long before Arvidsson responded on the man advantage to get Nashville on the board with their ninth power-play goal of the young season. With the tally, the Preds set a franchise record with nine power-play goals in the first five games of the season. The previous record was seven, set in 2002-03 and 2005-06.
Video: PIT@NSH: Arvidsson buries a rebound for PPG
The clubs entered the intermission even at 1-1, and then the goal horn got a workout. Nashville potted four in the second stanza, including two off the stick of Fiala for his first two goals of the season and the first multi-goal game of his career. Calle Jarnkrok scored Nashville's third goal of the night, and Arvidsson added his second before the period was out to give the Preds a commanding 5-1 lead, chasing Marc-Andre Fleury from the Penguins net.
Video: Rookies Fiala and Saros deliver in Preds 5-1 win
All four goals in the second period were scored at even strength, an area the Preds have worked to improve upon over the last week.
"I was pretty sure we weren't going to go the whole year without scoring 5-on-5," Laviolette quipped. "Tonight we got four, and it was just one of those things you hear me talk about it sometimes. It's a little bit cyclical, something always goes south here and there and we just couldn't seem to put it in the back of the net, but there were a lot of chances and a lot of opportunity and tonight it was good."
With the absences from the lineup, players like Fiala and Arvidsson saw larger roles, with Arvidsson skating on the top line and Fiala seeing over 12 minutes of ice time.
Video: PIT@NSH: Fiala rips a shot past Fleury stick side
"I felt great, just 100 percent every shift," Fiala said. "It's awesome I scored two goals, but even nicer with the win."
"For Arvi, he's a worker, and he can have those big nights like that. I was happy for Kevin, because he's been working hard," Laviolette said. "Sometimes I think as a young player, when you're not seeing it on the paper that things are going your way, [it's tough] to build a little bit in the confidence area, so he should take a lot of confidence from tonight, he played a real strong game… I'm glad he got rewarded tonight."
Saros was also stellar in net, and said his first NHL victory was even more special, due to the fact that it came against Fleury, one of his goaltending idols.
Video: PIT@NSH: Saros turns away Kessel on a breakaway
"It was a really nice thing." Saros said. "I have to give a lot of credit to the guys in front of me. They cleaned up the rebounds very nicely, and it was a lot of fun to play in front of those guys."
The Preds are now set to embark to the West Coast, next week, including visits to Anaheim and San Jose for the first time since facing them last spring in the postseason. With a win over a team like Pittsburgh, it can only help the confidence away from home.
"A 1-4 record is a tough spot and 2-3 gives us something we can work with," Johansen said. "We'll use this as some momentum as we head to California."
Video: Laviolette talks about the Preds overcoming adversity
Prior to Saturday's game, the Preds recalled forwards Austin Watson, Trevor Smith, Harry Zolnierczyk and Frederick Gaudreau from Milwaukee. The team also recalled goaltender Juuse Saros on an emergency basis.
Preds forwards Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, Colton Sissons and goaltender Pekka Rinne all missed Saturday's game due to illness. Forward Cody Bass was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
Gaudreau skated in his first career NHL game, logging 9:01 of ice time and tying for the team lead with three blocked shots.
Defensemen Matt Carle and Yannick Weber both collected an assist on the night, their first points as members of the Preds.
All-time, the Preds are 11-9-4 versus Pittsburgh, including a 7-4-2 mark in Nashville.
Saturday marked Nashville's final home contest in the month of October; the team heads west next week, beginning with a game on Wednesday night in Anaheim against the Ducks.