Saturday, January 7, 2012

Smith scores first goal in 15 games in Preds 5-2 win

The Nashville Predators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes by a 5-2 score on Saturday night in front of the eighth consecutive sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena.

Shea Weber got the scoring started for the Predators when he fired a one-timer from the point past Carolina goaltender Justin Peters. Martin Erat gave Weber the beautiful setup, and the Predators' captain was able to hammer it in for his ninth goal of the season.

Craig Smith would kick off the offensive onslaught on the power play for the Predators in the first period when he blasted a one-timer past Peters for his first goal in 15 games.

"We were moving it pretty good. (Legwand) just kind of rolled up the wall, and I backed off and spread them out a little bit. They were cheating on Weber with his shot. It opened up a lane for me, and I just tried to get as much as I could on it," Smith said.

It was the first of four power play goals for the Predators on the night, and it was huge for the confidence of Smith. He hopes this goal will be a springboard for more goals in the coming games.

"You've got to think positively. It's nice to get that one out of the way. It's been a while so I'll just kind of build off of that and get ready for Tuesday. That's all you can do. Keep shooting the puck," Smith said.

The Predators would tally three more goals on the power play as the night went on. Patric Hornqvist accounted for two of the goals, and Ryan Ellis scored his first career NHL goal on the power play at 14:28 of the third period.

Jay Harrison scored both Carolina goals on the night, but the Hurricanes were never able to really establish a consistent offensive attack. Pekka Rinne played a solid game in net for the Predators, and made a few highlight-reel saves in the third period. Mike Fisher notched three assists on the night for Nashville.

The Predators will travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. After that game, the Predators and Avalanche will both travel to Nashville to square off once again on Thursday night.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Patric Hornqvist(NSH)
2. Mike Fisher(NSH)
3. Pekka Rinne(NSH)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Patric Hornqvist(NSH)
2. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
3. Ryan Ellis(NSH)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)