This week in Nashville Predators history features the team trading for Mike Fisher, a comeback win against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Denis Arkhipov scoring his second, game-winning goal in overtime in a three-week span.
February 9, 2002: Denis Arkhipov wins game in OT with highlight-reel goal 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 victory improved Nashville to 5-0-10 when going to the extra session in 2001-02, and set the stage for back-to-back 1-0 shutouts just three nights later against Florida.
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.
"It's my second goal in overtime," said Arkhipov, whose other overtime game-winner came at Philadelphia on January 24. "I was just going to the net, took the shot and scored. We caught them on a change. I just took it to the net and put it upstairs."
The goal continued the Predators best stretch of the 2001-02 season – a 6-2-1 mark from late January to early March.
"It's a big win for us," said former Nashville Head Coach Barry Trotz. "We're trying to string a couple of wins together. Our road record hasn't been very good and we're trying to catch some teams in front of us. Columbus is a hard team to play."
February 10, 2011: Predators acquire Mike Fisher from Ottawa
Prepping for his team’s stretch run leading into the playoffs, Predators General Manager David Poile acquired center Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators for a first-round pick and a conditional selection (ultimately a third-round pick). The forward had 14 goals at the time with the Senators and slid into the Predators first-line center spot, giving the team an immediate boost in scoring and instilling a veteran presence.
Leaving the only franchise he’d known for the first 11 years of his career was difficult for the now 34-year-old, but already having a home in Nashville made the process a bit smoother. Fisher’s wife, Carrie Underwood, had a home in Music City in order to be near a prime industry market for her country music career. The couple were wed in the summer of 2010.
"I'm sure there were a lot of places and a lot of teams that would've coveted Mike," Poile said. "But on the surface, the fit for Nashville with his wife, certainly we're hoping is going to be an attractive situation for Mike and his wife."
"She was emotional," Fisher told USA Today of his wife's reaction to the trade. "Obviously, she is excited, but she knows there is different emotions for me…Leaving a place that you loved is very hard.”
Over the coming months, Fisher delivered on the ice for his new club following the deal and into the playoffs. The center’s three goals and seven points in the postseason lifted the Predators to their first-ever playoff series win - a six-game triumph over the Anaheim Ducks.
February 14, 2010: Predators defeat the defending champs in a shootout
Predators defenseman Shea Weber and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby eventually shared a plane to Vancouver after the game, off to represent Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics, but it was Weber’s club that got the best of the defending Stanley Cup champs in a shootout in the final contest for both teams before that season’s Olympic Break.
Nashville came back from three, one-goal deficits in the contest, with Martin Erat, Jordin Tootoo and Weber tallying for the Preds. Weber’s game-tying goal came at the 12:17 mark of the third period, with assists from J-P Dumont and Marcel Goc.
After a scoreless overtime session that saw the Preds kill off a Kevin Klein holding penalty, it was off to the shootout where Cal O’Reilly and Erat beat Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on consecutive tries for the victory. Preds netminder Dan Ellis stopped Crosby and Kris Letang in the shootout and picked up his 13th win of the season with 26 saves.
Weber finished the game with a goal and an assist, while Goc added two helpers on the day. Other Predators in the lineup included Dan Hamhuis, Jason Arnott, Joel Ward and Alexander Sulzer.