The Nashville Predators are taking advantage of this homestand. Nashville knocked off the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night by a 3-2 score to collect their third consecutive win. The Predators got goals from Sergei Kostitsyn, Kevin Klein and Chris Mueller to lead the way offensively for the Predators.
Nashville’s second and third goals were both a direct result of showing patience with the puck. On their second goal by Klein, Kostitsyn got the puck in front of the Edmonton net and held onto it just long enough to draw Devan Dubnyk out of the net. Kostitsyn then fired a beautiful pass to Klein, who was crept down and scored the back door goal.
On the Predators’ third goal, Brandon Yip broke into the zone and crept to toward the wall a little bit to draw both defenders toward him. He then hit Mueller, who sped around the Edmonton defense and fired a great shot past Dubnyk for Nashville’s third goal of the game. Nashville’s patience with the puck really paid off for them on Monday night.
“It was good. I thought we played pretty good with the puck down low all night. That was one of our keys, to hold on to the puck. Those guys did a good job to get open and they found the back of the net,” Yip said.
“We’ve been a little bit poised. That comes with confidence. That comes with scoring goals. That comes with a little bit of everything. Right now we’re at home, we’re a little bit energized. You get clear minds. Minds that aren’t tired, and you can’t actually play better believe it or not. That’s how it works,” said Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz. “I think on that one goal, I think one of the defensemen over-committed real badly and it sent Mueller in. It ended up being a play that ended up being the winning goal.”
Mueller’s goal was just another contribution from players that have been called up from Milwaukee this season. Mueller, along with Taylor Beck and Victor Bartley, have played very well since joining the NHL club. They’ve given the coaching staff no reason to think about sending them back Milwaukee.
“They’ve been huge. Mueller, Beck and Bartley. They’ve done a great job coming up and filling roles when guys have been injured, and even when guys have been coming back they’re still doing the same things they’ve been doing so that’s huge for us,” Yip said.
The Predators have been abysmal on the road lately, but seem to have found their niche at home ice this season. Nashville has won three consecutive games on home ice, which has put them right back in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
“We’re pretty confident at home. It’s nice playing in front of 18,000 and they’re screaming and hollering. It gets your adrenaline going, so we love it here,” Yip said.
While they have put themselves back into the conversation, the Predators still aren’t where they want to be. They dug a bit of a hole for themselves with their recent slide where they didn’t win back-to-back games for over a month. They’re going to have to scratch and claw their way to the playoffs for the rest of the regular season. However, the Predators are playing much better hockey right now, and they’re doing it when it counts.
“It’s huge to get those three wins, especially after we dropped three or four. We’re getting back in the win column in that playoff push, and we’re in that mentality. It’s nice we’ve got a few more home games here down the stretch,” Yip said.
Nashville will look to extend their win streak to four games on Thursday night when they host the Phoenix Coyotes. A four-game winning streak would match the longest winning streak of this season for the Predators.