As the Nashville Predators continue to celebrate their 15th Anniversary, let's take a look back at some historical moments in Preds history that occured in early March.
March 2, 2006: Vokoun stops 41 shots in Preds’ 3-1 win vs. Vancouver
The Nashville Predators scored three unanswered goals to overcome a 1-0 deficit and top the Vancouver Canucks by a 3-1, but it was Tomas Vokoun's stellar play in net that secured the win. Vokoun stopped 41-of-42 shots to earn his 29th victory of the season in addition to first-star honors. It was the team’s second game back from the 2006 Olympic Break. Vokoun earned a bronze medal at the Torino Games, and was accompanied their by seven others from the organization.
"Talk about a gold-medal performance, that was a gold-medal performance," Head Coach Barry Trotz said of Vokoun's play. "He made the big saves when we needed it. At the start of the second period I thought he was great because if they get two goals there we're probably not sitting here saying, 'Hey, we got the win.'”
Yanic Perreault kick-started the Preds offense at 17:01 of the second period, and Greg Johnson netted the game winner just 45 seconds into the third. Mike Sillinger added an insurance marker less than six minutes later.
"I think we showed a lot of character tonight," said Sillinger. "Tomas, obviously the backbone of our hockey club, was fantastic tonight. He's the reason why we won the game."
The win also sparked one of the most impressive runs in franchise history to that point – the Predators earned at least a point in each of their next 10 games, outscoring opponents 36-19.
March 4, 2004: Hamhuis posts five points in road win at Pittsburgh; team scores six PPG
As a soft-spoken rookie, defenseman Dan Hamhuis let his play speak for itself in an early-Spring game in the Steel City, scoring the game-winning goal and adding four assists to set a record for points by a first-year player and tie a team mark for points in a game. The performance was part of nine-goal eruption for the Predators, which included a franchise-best six power play goals.
"For me, it's pretty surprising because I never really think about getting points," Hamhuis said. "It's funny how it kept going in and in and in. It's one of those nights when things are going your way. It's funny when it happens because it doesn't happen very often."
Marek Zidlicky kicked off the flurry of man-advantage goals, scoring just 55 seconds into the contest. The power play finished six-for-nine on the night, receiving a pair of man-advantage goals from Adam Hall, while Steve Sullivan collected a goal and two assists. It gave Sullivan seven goals and nine assists in just nine games after being acquired from Chicago a couple weeks earlier.
The 9-4 road victory was a crucial two points for the Predators in their drive to clinch the first playoff berth in franchise history.
March 5, 2009 – Preds make a late season push
The Predators won their NHL-best sixth straight game with a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nashville went 12-4-1 from Feb. 1 to March 5, moving them from 14th place into a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference entering the 2008-09 home stretch. The victory extended Nashville’s home winning streak against the Blue Jackets to 10 – a streak that would reach 17 by the end of the 2010-11 season.
After scoring 23 goals in the previous four games, the Predators’ offense kicked off a wild second period as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Vern Fiddler slipped a backhand past Blue Jackets’ goaltender Steve Mason at the 7:16 mark. The Blue Jackets struck back less than five minutes later with a pair of goals within three minutes, but the Predators Ryan Jones answered 1:34 later with a wrister to tie the game at 2-2. To conclude the second period, Steve Sullivan outskated a Columbus defender and put a back hand past Mason’s glove hand and gave the Predators a 3-2 advantage heading into the final period.
Martin Erat gave the Predators some breathing room when he tapped in a shot from Ryan Suter at 4:24 of the third. Erat’s goal was the 100th of his career, making him the second player in franchise history to hit the century mark in goals.
In notching his 22nd win of the year, rookie goaltender Pekka Rinne kept Nashville in the game early and late as Columbus outshot the Predators 33-23.
March 8, 2013 – Colin Wilson drives the Preds’ offensive bus, picks up his 100th career 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.
“When Wilson gets chugging the way he was tonight, really working, he can make big things happen,” Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz said. “A good illustration was the first goal he had. He spun off in the corner, determined to get to the hard area, and was rewarded. He got rewarded again on the power play. He made a couple of good plays with the assists. When he is determined like that, on both ends of the ice, he is a real good player.”
The outburst continued a productive streak for Wilson that saw him produce 18 points (6g-12a) in 17 games from early February to early March, reaching the scoresheet on 19 of 40 Predator goals (47.5 percent) in that span – before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury just 24 hours after the Edmonton win. To that point, the Greenwich, Conn., native had also produced 13 points (6g-7a) in 11 home games and led the Preds in points (7g-12a-19pts).