Thanksgiving week turned out just fine for the Nashville Predators.
Behind two goals from both Colin Wilson and Ryan Johansen, the Preds defeated the Winnipeg Jets by a 5-1 final on Friday evening to complete a perfect 3-0-0 home stand. The victory gives the Preds points in eight-straight games at home and a 10-7-3 record overall as things continue to come together in the right way for the club.
"I think even early in the season we had some games that were good too, and we just couldn't score - especially at 5-on-5," defenseman Roman Josi said. "I think today we got a couple bounces and one or two goals; they kind of bounced for us. We played a really good game, really sold it. [Pekka Rinne] was great again, like he has been all month."
Video: Predators roll to 5-1 win against the Jets
Video: WPG@NSH: Wilson nets Fisher's nice cross-ice dish
It wasn't a great start for Colin Wilson.
A Dustin Byfuglien point shot deflected off the stick of the Preds winger and floated its way into the Nashville net at 14:46 of the first period to give the Jets a 1-0 lead, but it wasn't long before Wilson redeemed himself.
A perfect pass from Mike Fisher went right to the stick of Wilson less than six minutes into the second frame, and the Winnipeg native directed the puck behind Connor Hellebuyck to get his team on the board and start what turned into a three-goal period for his club.
And just for good measure, Wilson added his second of the night in the third period for a 4-1 lead.
Video: WPG@NSH: Fisher, Wilson connect for power-play goal
"I mean, coach wants us to get tip goals, but that was kind of the wrong way," Wilson laughed. "It was kind of an unfortunate bounce, but I was happy to get it back."
"Willy, for me, has been strong all year," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's just working really hard; he's protecting the puck. When the points come, you never know; as long as players are doing the right things and playing hard, usually good things follow, and I think he's been a guy that's been pretty consistent all year."
Wilson's goaltender wasn't about to shift the blame for Winnipeg's only goal, instead finding humor in it all.
"You know what you're going to get from him every night," Pekka Rinne said of Wilson. "He works so hard, he's protecting the puck; he's really an important player for us. He's one of the leader players, so it's good to see him getting rewarded on the ice, too - scoring a couple big goals. That goal, that's not his fault. He's trying to block that and it hits his stick - and then - I don't know, I'm picking up coins… I wasn't even upset after the goal, I was kind of laughing."
Joey and the Jets:
Video: WPG@NSH: Johansen capitalizes off a turnover for PPG
Ryan Johansen isn't sure what it is, but he usually finds himself on the score sheet when the Jets are on the other side of the ice. Johansen tallied two goals and an assist on Friday evening, giving him 16 points in 11 career games against Winnipeg, including a five-game point streak against them.
Perhaps more importantly, Johansen has five points (3g-2a) in his last two games, a figure the centerman and his coach hope is a sign of things to come as the season continues.
"I don't know, it's just one of those teams where we have success," Johansen said.
Video: WPG@NSH: Johansen beats Hellebuyck for second of game
"It's good for Ryan to get rewarded tonight with some pucks going into the net." Laviolette said. "I like it when he shoots the puck, he's got a terrific shot and tonight you saw him score a couple of really nice goals. We don't have a lot of 30-goal-scorers, but he's one of them. The more he gets the puck at the net, the better off we'll be and the more he's going to produce."
Video: Johansen, Josi, Wilson and Rinne talk Predators win
The Preds continued their stellar play at Bridgestone Arena, completing a perfect 3-0-0 home stand, collecting their sixth consecutive win at home and their eighth home contest with at least one point.
In fact, Nashville has outscored their opponents, 35-13, at home this season, and their +22 goal differential is second in the NHL behind Montreal (+25). On the contrary, the Preds have allowed just 13 goals at home, the fewest in the NHL. They have allowed two goals or fewer in nine of 10 games.
Nashville's overall home record sits at 8-1-1, and the ability to collect two points in their own barn is a commodity the Preds would prefer to keep.
"Every single day feels like a playoff atmosphere," Johansen said. "Monday night, Wednesday night, whatever day it is, the fans come in here and give us such great support. We've really been feeding off that and having a good time here at home."
Video: Laviolette talks perfect home stand for the Preds
Prior to Friday's game, defenseman Matt Carle announced his retirement from the National Hockey League.
"First of all, Matty is a terrific person," Laviolette said. "I know him and his family, and I think it's difficult when a player's career starts to come to an end or starts to come to a close. I was glad that he came here and glad that the opportunity presented itself. I feel bad myself that it didn't work out, but I spoke to Matty today, it doesn't take anything away from Matty, it doesn't take anything away from what I think of him as a person and player and his career. He's been a terrific pro, and I wish him the best with what he does."
Forwards Colton Sissons and James Neal left Friday's game with upper-body injuries and did not return. In addition, defenseman Ryan Ellis missed Friday's game with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day.
Defenseman Anthony Bitetto returned to the Nashville lineup on Friday - his first game since Opening Night - after missing 18 games with an upper-body injury.
The Predators home-and-home with the Jets concludes on Sunday in Winnipeg, a 12 p.m. (CT) puck drop. Nashville then heads to Colorado to take on the Avalanche on Tuesday.