Predators forward Josef Vasicek, who only months ago was celebrating a Stanley Cup win with the Carolina Hurricanes, finished off his former team in a Friday night exhibition game at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. In fact, he did so twice.
Vasicek, who was acquired by Nashville in a July trade that sent Scott Walker to the Hurricanes, scored a short-handed goal at 18:55 of the third period, and it proved to be the game winner in a 5-4 Predators victory. Then in the exhibition shootout that followed, Vasicek nonchalantly beat Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward with a backhander to seal a 2-1 win for Nashville in the entertaining shooter-vs-goalie showdown.
Vasicek, who put his stamp on the return to Raleigh while on a line with Ramzi Abid (one goal) and Alexander Radulov, also added an assist. Forward Kim Staal was impressive as well, scoring two first-period goals between wingers Jordin Tootoo (two assists) and Vernon Fiddler (one assist) while pacing the Predators to an early 3-0 lead.
Carolina rallied to tie the game at 3-3 near the midpoint of the second period, then knotted the score at 4-4 in the third after Abid's tally temporarily put Nashville ahead. Vasicek's goal, which was generated off a two-on-one break with fellow penalty-killer Scott Hartnell, was a shot over the shoulder of Ward that elicited a smattering of boos from the 10,548 in attendance.
The two teams will square off again Saturday, when the Predators return home for their first preseason game at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Game time is 7:00 p.m. and tickets are still available. (To order, buy online, call (615) 770-PUCK, or visit any Ticketmaster outlet.) The game will be broadcast locally on WKDF 103.3-FM.