Seven different Nashville Predators found the back of the net and Shea Weber reached a pair of milestones as the Preds defeated the Ottawa Senators by a 7-5 final on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
It was Nashville’s highest goal total of the season as they completed the season sweep of the Sens. All but two Predators skaters registered at least one shot on goal in the victory.
“We were definitely due,” defenseman Barret Jackman said of the offensive explosion. “I think we had a lot of dirty and gritty second chances tonight. We got some bounces our way and the floodgates opened.”
After the Senators struck twice in the first six minutes for a quick 2-0 lead, Colton Sissons, who was just recalled from the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals earlier in the day, got the Preds on the board. Playing in his first NHL game since April 4, 2014, Sissons redirected a Ryan Ellis point shot at the right circle between the legs of goaltender Craig Anderson to cut Ottawa’s lead in half.
“Colton was awesome,” forward Austin Watson said. “He scores 25 goals [in the AHL] for a reason. He came up here and he played well. He didn’t look nervous or anything. He just played and we tried to talk. It was a great game by him.”
Zack Smith gave the Sens a two-goal lead once more with a shorthanded tally prior to the end of the first period, but Nashville’s captain got things started in the second.
“We stayed even,” Weber said. “We came in after the first, and we knew we weren’t good. We had to get better, and I thought we had a lot better [play] in the second. We just stuck with it.”
Weber took care of two milestones at once when he tallied his 150th career goal and his 400th career point at the 6:23 mark of the second period after taking a slick backhand feed from James Neal at the right circle. Weber’s deposit into a yawning cage was just the start of a three-goal outburst in a span of 2:28.
Roman Josi deked around Senators Captain Erik Karlsson and beat Anderson over the shoulder to tie the game at 3-3 before Watson tipped in a Seth Jones point shot to give Nashville their first lead of the evening.
After calling a timeout, Ottawa came right back with Karlsson snapping one past Rinne to knot things at 4-4. The Sens retook the lead before the period was out, courtesy of a power-play marker from Curtis Lazar.
The Preds had an answer to begin the third, and minutes after Pekka Rinne stopped Mike Hoffman on a breakaway, Mattias Ekholm wired a shot from the top of the circle to the top corner to tie the contest 5-5, courtesy of a crafty backhand pass from his defense partner Ryan Ellis.
Nashville wasn’t done yet, as Jackman gave the Preds a lead once more with his first in a Gold sweater, and then Gabriel Bourque tallied his first of the campaign on a rebound to finally round out the scoring.
“We climbed out of a big hole tonight, to not only get back even, but to then go up,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I believe I blinked twice and we were back down again. It was just one of those nights. It was a weird game, and those happen sometimes. I really like the resiliency of our guys.”
Milestones for the Captain:
In his 699th career NHL game, Preds Captain Shea Weber joined some elite offensive company on the backend. Weber potted his 150th career NHL goal on the evening, just the third active NHL defenseman to attain the feat, joining Zdeno Chara and Dan Boyle. Weber is also the 38th blueliner in League history to reach the 150-goal mark.
“Hopefully I can get more,” Weber said. “I’m not done playing yet, and I’m very fortunate to be able to play in this League. It’s a great League and the Predators have given me a great opportunity to be here.”
Weber also recorded his 400th career point on the goal, just the third player in Predators franchise history to score 400 points with the club, along with David Legwand and Martin Erat, continuing to solidify his place in the Preds record books.
“Everybody sees the way he is on the ice and that’s impressive enough but the leader that he shows in the room is amazing,” Jackman said. “He’s an awesome person. He’s great with everybody around him from the older guys to the young guys and if a lot of people could get the insight to what happens in our locker room and how he is revered in this room, it would be even more of a loved figure in Nashville.”
Gif of the Game
Austin Watson shows a bit of exuberance after his goal tied the score at 4-4 in the second period.
Peter Laviolette on Colton Sissons:
“It was great. To come up like that and contribute they way he did was terrific. He played a big role; his line was terrific. He scored a goal and almost scored another one. He gave a really good effort from start to finish. Not knowing him that well as a player, and then seeing him play the way he did, my confidence grew with him as a coach knowing I could trust him as the game continued. He was able to contribute and get the job done.”
Tonight marked the first time since Jan. 3, 2015, that the Preds scored seven goals in one game.
Every member of Nashville’s fourth line, Colton Sissons, Gabriel Bourque and Austin Watson, each scored a goal on the night and were all plus-4. Bourque added an assist and Watson finished with two assists as well.
Nashville continues their current home stretch by hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, followed by Winnipeg on Saturday.
A portion of the evening’s infographic is reserved for the Pred captain and his pair of milestones.
Infographic: Touchdown Preds