Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 11/18/11

The Nashville Predators won their third game in a row, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Thursday night in front of 16,135 fans at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators have collected points in 8 of their last 9 games.

With the Predators up 1-0 on the strength of a first period goal by Martin Erat, Jack Hillen was called for a high stick on Leafs forward David Steckel. Hillen was also on the receiving end of a stick in the face but only the Predators defenseman went to the box, resulting in a power play that led to Toronto’s lone goal from John-Michael Liles.

“It was one of those plays where you lift up his stick trying to make sure he doesn’t get down on it. We both were battling for the puck and both of our sticks hit each other in the face at the same time. I know I got hit in the head. He got hit in the head. Sometimes those plays happen.The referees are in a tough position. He saw the tail end of it and that’s what happened,” Hillen said.

“It is really frustrating, I got back to the bench and everyone said it was a tough call. It may not have had to be called, but that’s part of the game. No one takes it personally. Sometimes those things happen,” he said.

Ryan Suter scored for Nashville just under 2 minutes after the Liles goal. Suter took a shot from the point that beat Leafs goaltender Ben Scrivens.

“You have to move on and the team did a great job bouncing back and regaining the lead after that goal. It is a bit of a relief when your penalty does not end up being the deciding factor in the game,” Hillen said about the resiliency of the Predators in answering back.

Nashville added two more goals in the third period. Erat picked up his second of the night and fifth of the season at 2:05 into the final frame. Matt Halischuk notched his fifth of the season when he added an empty-net goal.

The line of Sergei Kostitsyn, Mike Fisher and Martin Erat were on the ice for three of Nashville’s goals. Kostitsyn had three helpers while Fisher had two assists.

“They have been awesome,” Hillen said about his teammates. “They are doing a lot of things even when they aren’t on the scoresheet. They have been doing a lot of things really well that helps the team win. They are getting pucks deep and not turning it over. That line as well as Suter and Weber have been really good.”

 

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