Mike Fisher scored twice and recorded an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in game one of the best-of-seven series on Wednesday night.
If Nashville fans liked the midseason acquisition of Fisher before, they definitely love it now.
The former Ottawa Senator’s three-point night was more than enough to secure the win in his first playoff appearance in Predator uniform.
Shea Weber opened the scoring for Nashville just over four minutes into the first period after Matt Belesky took a cross checking penalty sending the Predators to the power play. Weber wound up from the point and blasted a slapshot past a screened Dan Ellis to put the Predators up 1-0.
The Ducks’ high scoring offence was shutout in the first two periods. Its best opportunity was stifled by Pekka Rinne when he sprawled across the ice to stop fellow Finnish countryman Teemu Selanne with his right pad midway through the opening frame.
Steve Sullivan added to the Predators’ lead late in the second period when he pushed past Francois Beauchemin on the right wing and beat Dan Ellis after banging home his own rebound. This was only the second game Sullivan has played since February due to a groin injury.
With less than two minutes to go in the period, Fisher took a pass from Patric Hornqvist and fired a wrist shot from the left circle that deflected off Ducks’ defencemen Lubomir Visnovsky and behind Ellis to put the Predators up 3-0.
Fisher’s second goal of the game occurred less than a minute into the final frame as the winger blasted the puck past Ellis from just over the blue-line prompting Randy Carlyle to pull the Saskatoon native after giving up 4 goals on 24 shots
Ray Emery came in to replace Ellis and will likely start on Friday for the Ducks after stopping the 6 shots he faced.
Selanne finally broke up the shutout as he beat Rinne on a 5-on-3 power play after receiving a pass from behind the net midway through the third period to make the score 4-1.
The Predators’ gritty defence was thought to be a stark contrast to the Ducks’ electric offence coming into this series. Rinne ensured that defence prevailed on this night as he made 27 saves on 28 shots.
Nashville’s 4-1 victory over Anaheim in the first game of these playoffs may have been familiar to fans as Nashville also won 4-1 over Anaheim in the first game of the regular season back in October. Game two of this series goes Friday night at Anaheim’s Honda Center.