When Captain Shea Weber was out of the lineup with a concussion, the Nashville Predators went 0 for 13 on the man advantage. With just one game under Weber’s belt since returning, the Predators went 4 for 5 with the man advantage to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 in front of a sold out crowd at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.
It was the fourth win in five games for Nashville, who have sold out 8 consecutive home games.
Weber opened scoring for Nashville at 9:14 of the first period. Weber has 22 points in his last 22 games, including 8 goals and 14 assists.
Craig Smith’s power play tally made it 2-0 Nashville just 4:02 after the Weber goal.
Patric Hornqvist scored twice for Nashville, including the lone goal of the second period, while another tally was called back for being kicked in by the forward. Both Hornqvist goals came on the man advantage.
Head Coach Barry Trotz mixed up the lines, with Colin Wilson coming back into the lineup. Hornqvist was taken off of his line with Sergei Kostitsyn and Mike Fisher and played with David Legwand and Wilson.
“It was a great game from my side. I played with two great players – actually the whole team is playing well. I got some good scoring chances tonight. Legwand and Wilson really set me up, and hopefully we can get going here,” Hornqvist said.
The last time Hornqvist scored a goal was December 22nd against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kostitsyn and Fisher remained on the same line along with Martin Erat, while Spaling continued to center Jordin Tootoo and Gabriel Bourque. Jerred Smithson, Smith and Matt Halischuk made up the final line.
Brian McGrattan was a healthy scratch. Jack Hillen was also scratched for the Predators. Sitting Hillen opened the door for rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis to get back into the lineup.
Ellis scored his first NHL goal, the fifth for Nashville, and also picked up his first assist.
“It was just good puck movement. I think our power play seemed to be doing pretty well tonight and we were moving the puck well. (Roman) Josi did a great job. He had a fake shot and kind of sucked in a couple of their guys and it opened me up and I just tried to get it to the net,” Ellis said.
Jay Harrison scored twice in the third period for the Hurricanes, once on the power play.
Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made 27 saves. Justin Peters, in only his second game of the season, was the losing goaltender for Carolina.
The Predators don’t play again until Tuesday when they visit the red-hot Colorado Avalanche. Colorado are winners of 9 of their last 10 games until Saturday night when they were shut out by the impressive St. Louis Blues, who have taken over top spot in the Central Division.