Coming into Thursday night’s contest against the Calgary Flames, it had been 21 games since Martin Erat last scored a goal for the Nashville Predators. He had only notched four points in the 15 games prior to Thursday and wasn’t playing like the reliable player he’s been for the Predators over the past few seasons.
Erat finally had that breakout game the Predators so desperately needed from him.
Erat had one goal and two assists to lead the way for the Predators offensively in their 5-3 win over Calgary. Erat scored his goal on the power play and assisted on two goals by Mike Fisher to record his first three-point night since Feb. 5 against St. Louis. More importantly for the Predators, it came in a winning effort.
“I really don’t care if I get three or five points. I just want to get two points, and that’s what’s important for us right now,” Erat said.
“I was happy for Marty. Marty’s such a big part of the Predators. This is his home. This is where he’s been a big, big integral part. It’s tough to see him struggle. He had more joy in his game today,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz. “I was happy to see Marty break out a little bit. He had a smile on his face and from that standpoint, you saw the joy back in his game. He’s a good player for us.”
Sergei Kostitsyn was reinserted into the Nashville lineup and put back on a line with Erat and Fisher. All three of those players played well, and Erat and Fisher were rewarded on the scoresheet. Those three players formed Nashville’s top line for the majority of the 2011-12 season, and their production is going to be key for the Predators moving forward.
“It’s comfortable to play with those two guys. We know each other. We had a couple bad games, but we started playing better the last three or four games. It’s going to be important if we can play good as a line,” Erat said.
Nashville surrendered two shorthanded goals in the first period but were able to rebound. The Predators completely dominated the Flames in 5-on-5 play, outscoring them 4-0 at even strength. The Predators showed some resiliency for the first time in a while, and that allowed them to collect a well-earned two points.
“We were all over them in the 5-on-5. We made a couple of bad mistakes on our power play that ended up in our net, but we bounced back and had to forget about it,” Erat said.
The Predators will look to win back-to-back games for the first time in over a month on Saturday night when the host the red hot Columbus Blue Jackets. The Predators have struggled against the Blue Jackets so far this season, losing both contests between the two respective teams so far. They will try to reverse that trend on Saturday night within the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena.