The first two games of the first round have come and gone without the Predators’ most important two-way line finding the stat sheet. Mike Fisher, Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn were effective as a trio throughout the second half, but have failed to get much going here in the playoffs.
Their mood is still positive even though their chances aren’t finding the back of the net. Erat hit a post in the opening moments of Game Two, while Kostitsyn couldn’t finish off an open-net chance on the power play.
“The two games Marty’s hit a couple posts; we’ve been right there with opportunities on the power play,” Fisher said. “We know [the offense is] going to come.”
Fisher has just two points in his last seven games and is danger of going point-less in three straight games for the first time since late December. Furthermore, Erat has one point in his last eight games and Kostitsyn has not recorded a point in 11 games.
Fisher said of Kostitsyn, “He needs to keep shooting the puck and getting opportunities. He had some good chances last night and it’s just not going for him right now.”
Head coach Barry Trotz commended the line for its defensive play in the first two games of the series, but obviously wants to see more on the offensive end – specifically from Kostitsyn.
“He’s got to break out. I need something out of Sergei; I need some production offensively,” Trotz said. “Sergei’s been really good defensively in terms of the penalty kill and has an understanding of what’s happening around him. … You go 10 or 11 games without any points it’s time to contribute in that end. You just can’t be a one trick pony.”
Trotz did mention that lineup changes could be coming for tomorrow’s Game Three. Whether that means he is thinking about breaking up the Fisher line to find a spark is unknown. The trio did not practice earlier today.
The silver lining through two games is that, defensively, the Fisher line has kept Pavel Datsyuk’s line in check. Assuming they stay together, though, the Predators’ top line has to start producing some offense.
“It’s just burying [chances] and doing a better job of getting in front and shooting from different angles and not passing up those opportunities,” Fisher said. “We just got to do whatever we can.”