COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mike Fisher didn’t get an assist on the Predators’ game-tying goal, but he played a huge part in it.
With the Predators trailing Columbus 3-2 with 19.9 seconds remaining in regulation, Fisher knew he had a huge battle ahead of him in the faceoff dot. Almost reminiscent to Game 5 of the Preds’ first-round series against Anaheim last spring, Fisher won the faceoff that led to Sergei Kostitsyn’s tying goal with 12.1 seconds left.
“I got it back to Marty and Sutes and it went off a skate,” said Fisher, who beat out Blue Jackets center Antoine Vermette on the draw. “Marty got it to the net and the puck found a way (to get in). That was an exciting way to come back.”
The Predators went on to beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime with Colin Wilson’s game-winner.
Fisher was successful in the faceoff circle all night long, winning 16 of the 19 draws he was in on. Additionally, the Preds won six of their last seven faceoffs in the game, which helped them score twice with the goalie pulled to force overtime.
“Big faceoff (win),” Head coach Barry Trotz said of Fisher’s aforementioned faceoff win. “In the last two minutes there we had about five or six great chances, and it all started from the draw. (Fisher) bore down and got that one clean and we were able to do something with it.”
Coming into tonight’s game, Fisher boasted a 49.8 percentage in the faceoff dot. He pushed that percentage up to 51.8 after a great effort in the Preds’ win.
Predators defenseman Ryan Suter joking said, “It’s about time! We’ve been giving him (crap) all year for not winning faceoffs. He’s always said ‘I only win them when they count.’ Fish did a good job there.”
Through 58 minutes of play, it appeared the Preds were on their way to a third straight loss. But they found a way to come back on the strength of late third period goals from Patric Hornqvist and Kostitsyn. Wilson finished off the dramatic win with a two-on-one one-timer that eluded Jackets goaltender Curtis Sanford in overtime.
“Marty likes to pass on those two-on-ones,” Wilson said. “I opened up for him real quick, he put it in my wheelhouse and I just let a quick shot go.”
The Predators (13-11-4) will face rival Anaheim on Saturday to kick off a four-game home stand.