NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Fisher made it clear that he’s healthy again.
Fisher, slowed by a nagging upper-body injury, and David Legwand each scored twice to help the Nashville Predators win their sixth straight game, 4-2 over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
“Fisher has been banged up for a long time,” coach Barry Trotz said. “He is finally getting healthier and you can see it in his play. He let it out of the bag that he is healthy now.
“He has gotten through it. He doesn’t complain. He goes out and plays every game. He has played when other guys probably wouldn’t have played.”
Fisher, who has 17 goals for the season, played his first game for Nashville on Feb. 12 after being after being acquired from Ottawa. He scored what had been his only goal for the Predators Feb. 17 against Vancouver.
“It felt good to get a couple,” Fisher said. “That was a pretty big monkey to get off of my back. It has been a tough slide here for me lately. Obviously, the win is the most important thing, but it felt good to help out.”
While Fisher felt good to be back on the stat sheet assistant captain Ryan Suter stressed that that Fisher’s game is more than how many goals he can score.
“Everyone thinks he is just an offensive guru, but if he can just keep chipping in and helping out by playing good on both ends of the ice like he has been that is great,” Suter said. “When he scores it is just a bonus for us.”
Trotz agreed with that assessment—and added that he was glad to see Fisher find the net again.
“Mike does so many other good things,” Trotz said. “He was snake-bit and frustrated that he wasn’t scoring. He had been a little bit dry here. It is probably a big weight off of his back.”
Alex Goligoski and Brendan Morrow scored for Dallas.
Fisher gave the Predators a 3-2 lead at 9:57 of the second period. Suter’s shot was blocked by goalie Kari Lehtonen. Fisher backhanded the rebound from the space between the left circle and the crease to beat Lehtonen to his stick side. Legwand closed out the scoring with an empty-netter that was also a short-handed goal with 4 seconds left.
The Predators spent the last two minutes of the game on the penalty kill after Suter was called for hooking. Shane O’Brien blocked Jamie Benn’s point-blank shot with eight seconds left on the power play to help seal the win.
“That was huge,” Rinne said. “That would have been a one-timer from the middle. Shane sacrificed his body. It is hard to say if it would have been in or not, but it would have been an extremely dangerous shot.”
Goligoski opened the scoring on a power play at 8:49 of the first. Loui Eriksson passed the puck from the left circle to Goligoski, who took a wrist shot from low in the right circle that beat Pekka Rinne.
Legwand answered with 5:34 left in the period. Martin Erat skated from behind the net and attempted a backhanded shot. Lehtonen blocked the attempt, but Legwand scored off the rebound.
The Predators took a 2-1 lead in the second period. Fisher took a slap shot from the far edge of the right circle that beat Lehtonen to the far side of the net at 2:33.
Morrow responded for the Stars with a wrist shot from behind the net that went over the top of the goal and bounced off of Rinne’s head and into the net at 4:07.
“It happened so quickly,” Rinne said. “I felt it hit the back of my mask and I knew right away it was in. Obviously, it was back luck, but that’s part of the game.”
Dallas coach Marc Crawford thought his team battled, but in the final period the Predators’ refused to give an inch.
“I thought we made some great plays at the end,” Crawford said. “Nashville made a couple of good blocks. It was a one goal game and that is exactly what we thought it was going to be. We just ended up on the wrong side of it.”
NOTES: It was the fourth empty-net goal for Legwand this season and his second short-handed goal in a row. … Mike Ribeiro had two assists for Dallas.